main menu - summary - content - site map - accessibility

Portraits


A. de Tocqueville before America

The Revolution of 1830: The oath to Louis-Philippe
« I despise the new king, I believe that his right to the throne is more than dubious, and yet I shall support him more resolutely, I think, than those who have cleared the way for him and who will soon become either his masters or his enemies. »
(Letter to Charles Stöffels,
August 26, 1830)

Although Tocqueville still felt "the remains of a hereditary affection" for Charles XCharles X (1757 - 1836)
Brother of Louis XVI and Louis XVIII, he was king of France from 1824 to 1830. When he proposed to eliminate freedom of the press, dissolve the Chamber, and change the mode of election and the method of calling elections, he was overthrown in a three-day insurrection, July 27-29, 1830. The conquest of Algeria began during his reign that same year.
at the moment when the July Revolution overwhelmed his reign (while acknowledging that the Bourbons "had acted like cowards" and that they had not merited the blood that had been shed for them), he took great care to establish the feelings he had for the new regime and its leader, the former Duc d'Orléans, who became Louis-Philippe I after having sworn allegiance to the Charter. Indeed, although the more liberal trend sought by the July Monarchy should have been attractive to the young judge, the loyalty to the Restoration and to the last king of France, shown by most of his family and some of his closest friends, including Louis de Kergorlay stirred up contradictory feelings in him. This ambivalence was made manifest in the problems he had with swearing an oath to the new Charter, which was mandatory for all civil servants and members of the military. He nevertheless made up his mind to do so on August 16, 1830, but not without difficulty, and was finally swayed by the advice of both Gustave de Beaumont and his father, who urged him to listen to the voice of reason.   play sound extractlire l'extrait sonore   In all probability, it seems that Tocqueville considered the new regime to be a lesser evil compared with the threat that a reactionary or republican regime would pose to the country. It is certain, though, that he felt particularly uncomfortable in the face of this new triumph of the French bourgeoisie, and this discomfort explains his desire to spread his wings and cross the Atlantic in search of new political solutions that could be applied to France.

King Louis-Philippe I swears to uphold the Charter, August 9, 1830 (sketch)

King Louis-Philippe I swears to uphold the Charter, August 9, 1830 (sketch), Eugène Devéria;
© RMN/Droits réservés

Archives

Transcript of the oath sworn by Alexis de Tocqueville to Louis-Philippe, August 16, 1830

Transcript of the oath sworn by Alexis de Tocqueville to Louis-Philippe, August 16, 1830; private collection
© AD Manche/A. Poirier

Top of page