The Divided Path: The German Influence on Social Reform in France after 1870

By Allan Mitchell | Go to book overview

Chapter 7
Paristans and Provincials

Tocqueville once remarked: "It is no exaggeration to say that Pariswas France."1 While this obiter dictum was shrewd as a political assessment, it did not well epitomize the nation's social development. In fact, the contrary was true. The more that Paris concentrated the power and prestige of France, the less it resembled the provinces in social structure and daily existence. In these respects, at least, France was not Paris. Since Tocqueville's time this theme has attracted a very substantial bibliography; and it remains a topic with which no serious history of France can entirely dispense.2

In general one may assume that the French countryside suffered a decline in prosperity during the 1870s. A change for the worse about that time was not solely attributable to military defeat, indemnities paid to Germany, or the amputation of Alsace and Lorraine-- although those losses were not negligible. Another stunning blow in that decade was the devastation of a phylloxera epidemic, which crippled the entire economy of southern France for several years. Less significant perhaps, but symptomatic of French vulnerability, was the simultaneous influx of cheap grain, mostly American wheat, which tended to depress farm prices and revenues. All of this must be viewed in the political context of the early Third Republic, which experienced a diminution of the vitality it had inherited from the Second Empire. As the economic and demographic growth rate slackened, an internal migration from hills to valleys and from rural areas to cities became intensified.3 Of course it was Paris--only to a lesser extent Lyon and other provincial capitals--that felt the major effects of these developments. Because France's first city had both

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The Divided Path: The German Influence on Social Reform in France after 1870
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Tables ix
  • Preface xi
  • Introduction xv
  • Part One - Private Charity and Public Health 1
  • Chapter I - The Aegis of Liberalism 3
  • Chapter 2 - The Demographic Imperative 24
  • Chapter 3 - The German Model 44
  • Chapter 4 - The Sources of Social Reform 68
  • Part Two - The Intersections of Reform 95
  • Chapter 5 - Men and Women 97
  • Chapter 6 - Physicians and Patients 119
  • Chapter 7 - Paristans and Provincials 144
  • Chapter 8 - Managers and Workers 166
  • Part Three - National Crisis and Social Security 191
  • Chapter 9 - The Funding of Reform 193
  • Chapter 10 - The Dilemma of Mutual Societies 223
  • Chapter 11 - The Parable of Tuberculosis 252
  • Chapter 12 - The Embarrassment of Choice 276
  • Conclusion - Republic and Reich, 1870-1914 300
  • Notes 317
  • Bibliography 367
  • Index 385
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