OATH, to the emperor; required under the Second Empire. The constitution of January 1852, as modified by the sénatus-consulte of 25 December 1852, required ministers, members of the Senate, Corps Législatif, and Conseil d'Etat, officers of the army and navy, magistrates, and all public functionaries to take, on assuming office, an oath: "Je jure obéissance à la Constitution et fidélité à l'empereur." Regulations were established by decree of 8 March 1852. Two of the three republican candidates elected in February 1852 refused the oath and were held to have resigned their seats. A third took it and was seated. In the elections of 1857 and the by-elections of 1858, republican candidates took the oath on election as decided in 1857 by a Paris committee against the opposition of the "men of 1848." The sénatus-consulte of 17 February 1858 required that a candidate henceforth subscribe to the oath, in writing, before posing his candidacy. Although maintained in this form until the end of the Second Empire, the oath did not prevent a steady increase in the number of successful opposition candidacies.
Related entries: LES CINQ; CORPS LEGISLATIF; ELECTIONS; REPUBLICANISM.
OFFENBACH, JACQUES ( 1819-1880), composer; creator of a new musical form, the operetta, which came to epitomize the Second Empire; born at Cologne, 20 June 1819. Offenbach was the seventh child, and the second son (a third, Michael, would die in 1840), of Isaac Eberst, a wandering minstrel, cantor, and bookbinder, who by about 1802 was known as the Offenbacher ("from Offenbach-on-Main") or, simply, Offenbach. In November 1833 Isaac took his two older sons, Julius, who played the violin, and Jakob, a cellist, to Paris where he secured entrance to the Conservatoire for the latter, who was both more precocious and ambitious than his brother. Soon the two boys were known as Jules and Jacques, and although Offenbach never lost his German accent, he became fluent in French and in every respect a Frenchman and a Parisian.
In December 1834 Offenbach left the Conservatoire. After playing in several orchestras, he joined that of the Opéra Comique. There he became a protégé of the famous composer Fromental Halévy ( 1799-1862), wrote music constantly