Freedom of the Press and L'Association Mensuelle: Philipon Versus Louis-Philippe

By Edwin De T. Bechtel | Go to book overview

philosophy of the juste-milieu, the opportunism of the Doctrinalres and the Republican spirit of revolt which flowered during the July Monarchy, but began to sprout during the Restoration. Thus, statements as to the alternations of freedom of the press and its repression during the Restoration and the July Monarchy and references to the persons and events which are their subject- matter are part of the very idiom of these political caricatures.

In the preparation of the text, there have been many sources of information, in addition to standard works of reference, encyclopedias and histories of France. They include codes of laws and special statutes, copies of original instruments, letters, memoirs, contemporary accounts of events and, above all, the original issues of La Caricature and Le Charivari and Philipon's circulars which accompanied the caricatures.


II
FREEDOM OF THE PRESS AND THE RESTORATION

(1) THE FRENCH PRESS AND ITS STATUS ON THE RECALL OF THE BOURBONS IN 1814

THE FRENCH journalistic press dates from the founding of the Gazette de France in 1631, the first European newspaper. Louis XIII and Richelieu were both contributors. It was entirely a monopoly dominated by the monarchs from Louis XIII to Louis XVI; there was no political criticism and no freedom of publication until 1789. In adopting its Declaration of the Rights of Man, the Constituent Assembly of 1789 declared that the free communication of ideas and opinions is a fundamental human right and that every citizen should be permitted to speak, write and print freely, subject to his responsibility for the abuse of that liberty as provided by law. The same declaration was placed at the head of the Constitution of 1791, adopted by the National Assembly, the first written constitution in Europe. It was again announced in the Declaration of Rights of the year III, which was part of the Constitution of 1795, establishing the Directory.

After the insurrection of July, 1789, the press was free, and about 350 journals, and periodicals with articles for and against revolution, came into existence. Among the influential and most violent editors were Camille Desmoulins with his weekly, Les Révolutions de France et de Brabant, and Marat with his Ami du peuple. "Acid Loustallot," as Carlyle calls him, edited Les Révolutions de Paris with a circulation of 200,000. The press continued to be unregulated until the summer of 1792, when the influence of the anti-revolutionary and royalist journals and pamphlets began to disturb the radical opponents of the monarchy. Editors of royalist newspapers were at first warned and intimidated; later during the Terror, many royalist editors were guillotined; and all newspapers were censored and regulated by the Committee of Public Safety; finally many newspapers were suspended by Robespierre. After Thermidor, there was a brief period of free publication. Interference returned with the un-

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