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States where the people had as gifts from nature the great-
est resources man ever fell heir to, but beyond what
Frenchmen had ever possessed before. And if the total
amount of this wealth was not so great as in England or the
United States, and if the standard of living was lower
than in the English-speaking countries, yet it was ap-
parently true that nowhere else was there so high an
average prosperity or such a wide distribution of property
among so great a number of people. This arose from two
causes, in which France seemed, whether rightly or
wrongly, to be in advance of the rest of the world; the land
was very widely distributed among a large number of pro-
prietors, and the size of families was small.

In France one of the most important results of the



Revolution was that the lands, previously owned })y
nobles or Church, were taken from tlieir owners and sold
by the State to the people. Li this way a great deal of
landed property, formerly in possession of a few wealthy
proprietors — as was the case in Russia until the Revolution
of 1917, and as was largely the case in Britain until the
terrible taxation of the war — changed hands, and in course
of time was sold to numerous peasant farmers. The
result of this was to create a large body of small owners,
having the means to achieve greater prosperity and well-
being than ever before. Some observers who lived then
believed that this amelioration was only for the time.
They said that the lands would soon get out of the posses-
sion of the new owners, or else that they, having more
children because they could support them, would be no
better off; and that when the holdings were divided
among these larger families of the next generation there
would again be miserable cultivators living upon scanty
patches of ground. Previous to this time the birth-rate
in France had been high. Now, Arthur Young, the
celebrated traveller, predicted that the country w^ould
become a veritable rabbit-warren, so fast would the popula-
tion breed. But this did not take place. About the
middle of the nineteenth century the English economist,
John Stuart Mill, noticed that the French birth-rate had
fallen, and that families were much smaller. He ex-
plained this by saying that the new body of proprietors,
accustomed to a higher standard of living, refused to
lower it by having more children than they could prop-
erly support; that they were also unwilling to lower the
standard of the next generation by dividing their property
among so many children that the amount for each would
be insufficient.

All through the century this tendency continued with
ever-greater force. By the time of the Franco-German
War the population of the country was no longer increasing

and birth-

high birth-
rate in



and station-
ary popula-

and stand-
ard of living

rapidly, and since that time it has scarcely increased at all.
The results have seemed good and bad. On the one hand,
there has been, compared with the past and with the pres-
ent in other European countries, a generally high stand-
ard of living. For many Frenchmen there has been a
great amount of leisure and comfort, which has enabled
them to be the foremost leaders of civilization and thought,
and to enjoy deeply, in their manner, the civilization of
their era. On the other hand, the population of France
has stood still while that of Britain has overtaken it,
and while that of Germany threatened to become twice
as large. Hence, there was always the danger that France
might be overwhelmed by superior numbers. It was,
perhaps, this growing numerical inferiority more than
anything else that made it impossible for France, after
she had recovered from the defeat of 1871, to think of
undertaking a successful war of revenge. It was in vain
that the government tried to encourage larger families,
offering to exempt the father of several children from
taxation, and even offering prizes to the mothers of large
families. There were a few large families, but always they
were the exception. Generally the birth-rate remained
so low that in the latter part of the nineteenth century
there was much fear that the population might even be
declining, and that France was a dying nation, destined
after a while to disappear. Enemies of France declared
that this stationary or declining population and small
birth-rate showed that the French were a decadent people;
and that in France in 1900, as in the dying Roman Empire
long before, there was no longer enough vigor to produce
the men and women to carry on the destiny of the nation.
On the other hand, it was insistently declared that what
was taking place in France was only what had always
characterized highly civilized people, who had risen to
better intelligence and standard of living; that it was
actually manifest among the upper and more intelligent



classes in all of the highly developed nations of the world;
and that the only thing which was peculiar in France was
that well-being and intelligence were so universally dif-
fused, that what existed solely among the upper classes
elsewhere prevailed in France among most of the people.

The foreign affairs of the nation during this period were
concerned chiefly with the recovery of France, getting
allies to stand with her against the combination formed
by the German Empire, and building up a colonial em-
pire. The recovery of France was beset with difficulties
that seemed very disheartening then. Not only did
she have to pay the indenmity and repair the losses
caused by her disastrous defeat, but when once the money
had been paid to Germany and recovery was going well
forward, she was watched with jealous suspicion by the
Germans. They, having overthrouTi and plundered her,
wished that she might remain weak and without friends
to assist her, so that she could not possibly take venge-
ance. At first the French, smarting under their humilia-
tion and the sense of their wrongs, declared openly that
they w^ould have revenge as soon as they could. Bismarck
and his military colleagues had believed that the terms of
the treaty were such that France would remain weak for
some time; but when the indemnity was paid off sooner
than had been considered possible, and the French people
went forward in marvellously swift recuperation, Germany
looked on with growing uneasiness and suspicion. It
was not that Germans doubted that they could defeat
France again; but some of the leaders taught the doctrine
that if another war must be fought, it would be easier
and wiser to strike the enemy down before he recov-
ered full strength.

In this manner arose the once famous Affair of 1875.
France had adopted the Prussian system of universal
military training, and in that year passed a law to com-
plete the reorganization of her army. \Miat followed is


The Affair
of 1875



Alleged Ger-
man plan
to strike

The Schnae-
bele Affair

still enveloped in some obscurity; but it would seem
that German leaders believed it would be well to strike
before the new law could produce its effects, and that
Bismarck desired to impose a new treaty by which France
would not be permitted to maintain a large army. How-
ever this be, it is certain that there was a great war scare,
and that the French feared they would be attacked. If
such was the German intention, it speedily brought from
Russia and from Great Britain intimation that they would
not this time stand aside and see France first attacked and
then crushed ; and soon the crisis was over: The result was
that France now passed definitely out of the position of
hopeless inferiority in which she had been left in 1871, and
gained steadily in strength and assurance.

But however swift and splendid her recovery was, it
came too late to enable her to settle her account with the
Germans. As the years passed France grew stronger and
greater than before, but meanwhile Germany was growing
much more rapidly still in population, wealth, and
military power. It would have been madness for France
to begin war upon Germany single-handed, and mean-
while she had no allies. The German Empire was the
center and head of the greatest military alliance in the
world, and all through Bismarck's time France remained
in isolation. But as time went on Russia drew away from
Germany; and it seemed to Frenchmen that their chance
might some day come if Germany were involved in war
with Russia, or if Russia formed an alliance with France.
In 1887 relations between the two countries were strained
as a result of the Boulanger Affair, and also because of
the arrest by the German Government of M. Schnsebele,
a French official, near the frontier. During the crisis
Russia moved troops toward the German border, showing
clearly her attitude toward Germany and France. Bis-
marck speaking in the Reichstag had said that if France
again attacked Germany "we should endeavor to make

Russia and


France incapable of attacking us for tliirty years . , .
each would seek to bleed the other white." But Schnae-
bele was released, and Boulanger's efforts came to nothing.

With the passing of Bismarck and the beginning of a The Dual
new policy by William II, a great change came swiftly to
pass: Russia and France drew together in the Dual Alii- France
ance. There had been obstacles enough in the way with-
out the skilful manipulation of Bismarck. Napoleon I
had invaded Russia and brouglit about the burning of
Moscow, and Napoleon III had been the leader of the
combination which crushed Russia in the Crimean War,
On the other hand. Frenchmen remembered the terrible
retreat of the Grand Army in 1812, and they had recently
seen Russia stand as the friend of Prussia while Prussia
was humbling France in the dust. Moreover, Frenchmen
had been the leaders in political reform in Europe, and
now constituted the largest body of self-governing freemen
on the Continent; while in Russia it seemed that selfish
and reactionary autocrats held the people in lowly con-
dition. But the mere fact that Russia and France were Russia and
separated and some distance apart served to remove evil France need
memories and causes of friction. Now they were both
isolated as a result of German statecraft, France in the
west, Russia in the east. They both needed allies, France
felt insecure without the support of some powerful friend,
as did Russia who, moreover, badly needed money for
internal development, which could be obtained now in
France better than anywhere else. These causes operated
swiftly, once the influence of Bismarck was removed.
Even before his fall the Russian Government, which had
previously borrowed in Germany, began placing huge
loans in France, Apparently also she desired to have
France as a helper. Negotiations and friendly visits began
in 1890, Then in 1892 the two powers entered into an
entente or friendly understanding, and in the next year
a military convention was signed. It was believed then

each other



Effect of the
Dual Alli-

Rivalry of
France and

and for a long time afterward that a treaty of alliance had
been made, but in 1918 the publication of a French Yellow
Book made it plain that no treaty of alliance had been
signed, and that what had long popularly been designated
as the Dual Alliance rested upon the entente and the Mili-
tary Convention of 1892-3. The agi'eement stipulated
that in case one of the parties to the treaty were attacked
by Germany, the other would stand by its partner with all
its power. ^Mien in 1914 Germany was about to declare
war upon Russia, she demanded to know what France
would then do, and the French Government not satisfying
her, she declared war also upon France.

The result of the Dual Alliance of 1893 was in some
sense to restore the balance of power in Europe, to take
France out of her position of loneliness and inferiority,
and to shake the hegemony of the German Empire. But
actually it did little beyond making France feel more se-
cure. The Triple Alliance was believed by competent ob-
servers to be stronger than its rival; and France and
Russia were, moreover, in active rivalry with Great Brit-
ain. Therefore, after 1893, as before, France found that
it was hopeless to think of attacking Germany to get back
the lost provinces and restore her position; and in course
of time desire and expectation of doing this so far died
out that they cannot be reckoned as important causes of
the War of 1914-18.

In the course of the generation after the Franco-German
War France came into dangerous and increasing rivalry
with Great Britain. This resulted from colonial expan-
sion and the naval expansion w^hich went with it. \Mien
once her recovery was well begun, France again turned
her eyes beyond Europe with the purpose of building up a
larger colonial empire and retrieving abroad her losses.
She had great success in north Africa, in southeastern
Asia, and in some of the islands, especially Madagascar;
and it was no long time before she had built up the second



colonial empire in the world. Along with this went naval
expansion, which awakened the ever-watchful jealousy of
Britain. Especially was this so after the formation of the
Dual Alliance, for p]ngland was af)prehensive of Russian
expansion in Asia down toward India, just as she was of
French naval increase and French exi)ansion in northern
Africa toward the Nile. Great tension and much hostility
developed year by year, and in the latter part of the cen-
tury the situation seemed fraught with the ominous
possibilities of conflict which a decade later made the rela-
tions between Germany and England so dangerous. The
crisis came in 1898, when British forces, which had moved
up from Egypt and just conquered the Sudan, came in
contact with French forces which had moved eastward
across Africa to Fashoda on the upper Nile and there
hoisted the French flag. England demanded that France
withdraw, and this was at first refused. But it was as
hopeless for France to contend with the overwhelming
sea power of Britain as it was for her to contest with
Germany on the Rhine, and so she yielded completely.
The episode left great bitterness in the hearts of French-
men. At this time some of them believed that they had
best forget the past and join with Germany against Eng-
land, their traditional foe. Until this time, however,
Germany had seemed drawing closer and closer to Eng-
land. But in reality a turning-point had been reached.
Germany and England were just about to begin drawing
apart in bitterest rivalry, which was one day to lead to
war; while after a few years England and France were to
enter into a friendship which would be the salvation of
them both later on.

in colonial

yields to


General accounts: Gabriel Hanotaux, Histoire de la France
Coniemporaine, 4 vols. (1903-5), trans, by J. C. Tarver, Con-
temporary France, 4 vols. (1903-9), best, covers the period 1870-


188i?; the most recent work of importance is Emile Bourgeois,
whose work, done for the Cambridge Historical Series was trans-
lated into English, Modern France, 2 vols. (1919); J. C. Bracq,
France Under the Republic (1910); Samuel Dems, Histoire Con-
temporaine, 4 vols. (1897-1903), from the fall of the Empire
to the work of the National Assembly; F. Despagnet, LaDiplo-
maiie de la Troisieme Republique et le Droit des^ Gens (1904);
Frederick Lawton, The Third Republic (1909); Emile Simond,
Histoire de la Troisieme Republique de 1887 ct 1894 (1913) ; Edgar
Zevort, Histoire de la Troisieme Republique, 4 vols. (2d ed. 1898-
1901), covers the period 1870-94.

The Commune: Maxime Du Camp, Les Convulsions de Paris,
4 vols. (.5th ed. 1881), conservative; Edmond Lepelletier, His-
toire de la Commune de 1871, 2 vols. (1911-12), best; P. O.
Lissagaray, English trans, by E. M. Aveling, History of the
Commune of 1871 (2d ed. 1898), by an ardent sympathizer;
E. B. Washburne, Franco-German War and Insurrection of the
Commune (1878).

The beginning of the restoration of France: Paul Deschanel,
Gambetta (1919); Jules Simon, Le Gouvernement de M. Thiers,
8 Fevrier 1871-U Mai 1873, 2 vols. (1879), trans., 2 vols. (1879) ;
L. A. Thiers, Notes et Souvenirs de M. Thiers, 1870-1873 (1903),
trans, by F. M. Atkinson, Memoirs of M. Thiers, 1870-1873
(1915); Edgar Zevort, Thiers (1892); J. Valfrey, Histoire de la
Diplomatie du Gouvernement de la DSfense Nationale, 3 vols.
(1871-3), Histoire du TraitS de Francfort et de la LibSration du
Territoire, 2 vols. (1874-5), the latter contains valuable mater-
ials not elsewhere published.

Government and customs: Raymond Poincare, trans, by B.
Miall, How France Is Governed (1914), excellent brief treatise;
Barrett Wendell, The France of To-day, (1907).

Political parties: Leon Jacques, Les Parties Politiques sous
la Troisieme Ripublique (1913).

Church and state: Aristide Briand, La Separation des ^glises
et de rEtnt (1905) ; E. Lecannet, VEglise de France sous la Trois-
ieme RSpublique, 2 vols. (1907-10), Catholic, covers the period to
1894; Paul Sabatier, A propos de la Separation des Eglises et de
VEtat (4th ed. 1906), trans. Disestablishment in France (1906).

The Dreyfus Affair: Joseph Reinach, Histoire de V Affaire
Dreyfus, 7 vols. (1898-1911), best, sympathetic.

Foreign politics: H. G de Blowitz, Memoirs (1903); R. de
Caix, Fashoda (1899); G. Hanotaux, Fachoda (1909); R. Pinon,


VEmjyire de la MediterranSe (1904), France et Allemagne, 1870-

The Dual Alliance: the all-important source is Documents
Diplomatufues, r Alliance Franco-Russe, published by the French
Government (1918); E. de Cyon, Ilifiloire de V Entente Franco-
Rnss-e, ISSG-ISQ^^ (3d ed. 1895), to be used with caution; E.
Daudet, Saiivenirs et Revelations, Ilistoire Diplomatique de
V Alliance Franco-Russe, 1873-1893 (3d ed. 1893), to be used
cautiously; C. de S. de Freycinet, Souvenirs, 1878-93 (1913),
valuable, by one of the principal participants; V. de Gorloff,
Origines et Bases de V Alliance Franco-Russe (1913) ; J. J. Hansen,
U Alliance Franco-Russe (1897), by a participant; A. Tardieu,
La France et les Alliances (1904), English trans. France and the
Alliances (1908), excellent.

Great Brit-
ain in the
past genera-


Metbinks I see in my mind a noble and puissant nation rousing herself
like a strong man after sleep, and shaking her invincible locks;
methinks I see her as an eagle mewing her mighty youth, and
kindling her undazzled eyes at the full midday beam. . . .
Milton, Areopagitica (1644).

There is no country so interested in the maintenance of peace as
England. . . . She is not an aggressive power, for there is
nothing that she desires. . . . What she wishes is to maintain
and to enjoy the unexampled Empire which she has built up, and
which it is her pride to remember exists as much upon sympathy
as upon force.

Speech of the Earl of Beaconsfield at the Lord Mayor's
Banquet, London Times, November 10, 1876.

Britische Herrschsucht und Handelseifersucht sind die Triebfedern
gewesen, welche die Welt organisiert und in Bewegung gesetzt
haben, um den Vernichtungskrieg gegen ein friedliebendes Volk
zu fuhren;

Graf Ernst Reventlow, Deutschlands Auswartige Poliiik, 1888—
19U (ed. 1918), p. 477.

The history of Great Britain in the later period has to
do largely with the growth of the British Empire, with
great and increasing dangers which threatened, and after-
ward with a mighty triumph. In most respects it is a
record of prosperity and power. But more important,
perhaps, it is also a story of increasing control of the
government by the people, until at last the British have
become one of the most democratic nations in the world.
This very progress has brought them serious problems,
perplexing and not yet settled.

By the Electoral Reform Law of 1867 only a part of the
lower class was allowed to vote, but seventeen years later



the franchise was extended also to the agricultural workers The Rep-

and the laborers in the mines. Bv this Reform Law of r^senta-

I 1 I ' 1 1 1 tion of the

1884, 2,000,000 men were added to the electorate so that peopie Act

5,000,000 persons had the franchise, or one person out of 1884
every seven of the population. Manhood suffrage was
not yet established, as it had been in France and in the
German Empire, though actually almost every man was
now allowed to vote, and the representatives elected by
them to the House of Commons held the principal powers
of the government and directly controlled the executive
organ of the State. Meanwhile, the year before, a Corrupt
Practices Act limited the amount of money a candi-
date might spend for election expenses, and provided
such severe penalties for bribery and corruption as to
bring them virtually to an end in Great Britain. The
year after the Electoral Reform Law, the Redistribution
Act of 1885 practically divided Great Britain into electoral
districts, bringing representation into accord with popula-
tion. Previously representation had been by counties
and by boroughs. Now the small boroughs were merged
into their counties, most of the larger ones were made
one-member constituencies, the counties were divided into
one-member constituencies on the basis of the population
within them, and the larger cities were given representa-
tion in accordance with the number of inhabitants in them.
Thus practically was brought to pass parliamentary repre-
sentation of people, instead of districts or corporations,
something that had been proposed in Cromwell's time
but soon discarded.

This wide extension of the electorate in England was The
accompanied, as it was in the L'nited States, by persistent women's
demand for the extension of democracy upon a broader
basis by admitting not only more men to a share in the
government but also the women of the nation. The
women's movement in Great Britain, as in the United
States, went on for a considerable time before it got much




In earlier

The work of
the Quakers

more nu-
merous than
men in

attention, and when at last it was noticed, it was older
than most people suspected. During the period of the
Puritan Revolution, and also more than a hundred years
later in France during the French Revolution, women
demanded their "rights" as equals with men, and asked
to share in the governing of the State. Nevertheless,
the feminist movement is essentially a thing of the
nineteenth century. It was only the effects of the
French Revolution, and more particularly of the Industrial
Revolution, that made it possible for most women to
escape from the inferior position in which they had always
previously been held. When in 1792 Mary Godwin
declared that "women ought to have representatives
instead of being arbitrarily governed," she was regarded as
a foolish radical. It is true that in New Jersey, one of
the American states, in the period 1797-1807, women
were actually permitted to vote, but this was an isolated
case, and in both of the great English-speaking countries
during the first half of the nineteenth century the advocates
of women's suffrage, principally Quakers, were consid-
ered to be urging something impracticable and immoral,
something contrary to the laws of God. But in England
especially, where the Industrial Revolution first made such
great headway, conditions changed profoundly, and, with
them, the position of women, so that it was no longer pos-
sible to apply the old arguments with such effect as before.
Formerly woman's place had been the home, and it was
supposed that almost all would marry, but now a great
number worked for wages in factories outside the supervis-
ion of their men at the same time that more and more men
emigrated to the colonies of the Empire. By the middle
of the nineteenth century there were 365,000 more women
than men in England, and over 1,000,000 more in 1900.
It was obviously impossible for a large number of Eng-
lish women to marry, and it was evident that many were
supporting themselves. In many cases they were paying



taxes, but they had no voice in the government, no con-

Online LibraryEdward Raymond TurnerEurope since 1870 → online text (page 20 of 49)