The Halt in the Mud: French Strategic Planning from Waterloo to Sedan

By Gary P. Cox | Go to book overview

9
Paved with Good Intentions

The election of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte to the French presidency would spell finis for the Second Republic. For his critics and for defenders of the French Army, Napoleon III also served as a convenient scapegoat for the army's failures in 1870. Here was the man who used the army as a domestic political instrument; who went to great lengths to curry favor with the rank and file; who thoroughly politicized promotions in the officers corps. From draining the best soldiers from line units to create the Imperial Guard, to an inspection system always suspected of favoritism, to an even more lax and discriminatory recruiting system, Napoleon III allegedly turned France's army into a "praetorian guard." 1

According to this interpretation, the army of the Second Empire was converted from the "old reliables" of Gouvion Saint-Cyr and Soult to a new entity: crushed by routine and dominated by domestic politics, where the Empress Eugénie might secure promotion for a young officer who was "un bon danseur, danseur intripide."2 In retrospect, the battle before Sebastopol ( 1855) and the grim triumphs over the Russians marked the transition between the stern professionalism of the old army and the corrupting politicization of the new as symbolized by the coterie of "Bonapartist generals" who won their stars in the Crimea. 3

At best this portrait is overdrawn, ignoring the many attempts Napoleon III would make to strengthen the army. At worst it displays a suspicious amnesia, conveniently forgetting the domestic political concerns that dictated the nature of Saint-Cyr's reforms. The army as an institution had never been far removed from politics, however much the high command sought to insulate the rank and file from civilian political influence through such institutional practices as long enlistments and frequent garrison rotations. The doctrine of "passive obedience" was specifically devised to insulate the officer corps from the seemingly endless changes of French political life. With the coming of another Bonaparte, perhaps the real difference was that the army found itself courted, rather than shunted off to a corner of the political landscape. Little wonder the new president of the Republic, Louis Napoleon, was immensely popular in the ranks, won instant credibility from veterans and ac-

-161-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The Halt in the Mud: French Strategic Planning from Waterloo to Sedan
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 258

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.