Vive la France! Liberty/Equality/Fraternity at least in Theory.
By, Uwe Paschen.
Vive la France. (14 Juillet Fete National) or should that be Vive Paris?
Today as in 1680 under the war hungry King Louis the XIV of France, who once said that “Paris is France but France will never be Paris”, This is still very true nowadays, because not much has changed since then in regard to that perception nor the discrepancy between the two.
The much contested central ruling over France by Paris leaves to this day much anger and frustration in the Departments and territories that Louis the XIV implemented and that Napoleon perfected. Maybe why today, Paris is celebrating as usual and with great pomp and glamour, where as the rest of France lets this day go by with little notice and in some case you will never know that it is a National holiday, such as in the Massif Central, Guadeloupe and Alsace for instance, who are masters at shunning this day.
Therefore, it is not like the 4th of July in the US, at least not for all of France. Come to think of it, it was that very American Revolution that the French King Louis the XVI financed and supported with so much determination that it starved his own people and caused for his head to roll of the Guillotine.
France under Louis the XVI was very upset with Great Britain to wish it had lost some of its most prised Colonies such as Quebec, after losing a long and Global fought war against the English.
As the American rebellion started and George Washington then a terrorist acted against the crown, (Yes, he was a Terrorist back them, at least for the British he was and until he won the revolution successfully with the help of France that is.) Never the less, this uprising gave France the opportunity to get back at the British and maybe even retake their former colonies.
Well, it did not quiet worked out that way, but France succeeded in driving the British out of most of North America, except for Quebec and Canada that is. France did retained control over New Orleans in Louisiana (the land of Louis) though and this until 1803 when Napoleon sold it to the US.
This so called great French Revolution, that some believe to end with this day of July the 14th of 1789 did actually started with the storming of the Bastille rather then end. Since it was the beginning of a long, paranoid and bloody period of France's history, neither glorious nor romantic at all. Every one was suspected to be a traitor to the revolution and many ended up executed for nothing more then being disliked by their neighbour or Sibling.
The French Revolution went out of hand and out of control to a point that Napoleon reinstates Imperial Laws and Rules still in place to this day with the Code of Napoleon. This was followed by the return of the Monarchy with Louis the XIIX of France in 1814 after the Napoleonic wars drove the Emperor into exile.
In 1830, a civil uprising established the constitutional July Monarchy, which lasted only until 1848. The short-lived Second Republic that followed ended in 1852 when Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte proclaimed the Second Empire. Louis-Napoléon was unseated following defeat in the Franco-Prussian war of 1870 and his regime was replaced by the Third Republic. This was followed by the Vichy Government in WWII and the forth republic after the War, wish gave way to the Fifth Republic. This Fifth Republic contained a strengthened Presidency. In the latter role, Charles de Gaulle managed to keep the country together while taking steps to end the war with Algeria and in Asia. The Algerian War and Franco-French civil war that resulted in the capital Algiers, was concluded with peace negotiations in 1962 that led to Algerian independence. Wish France has not quiet digested to this day.
The Irony of all this is that the great revolution never succeeded in a way, since the ideals of Liberty, Fraternity and Equality only applied to some of Frances subjects not to all though. It never came to mind to the founders of the first Republic, nor their followers to free the Colonies or make them equals Citizen, nor to give equal rights to Woman. Those would have to wait until after the second World war and even today one should not proclaim to be Homo Sexual in France unless you have no ambitions of a Political, Industrial or Military carer that is. Even though in theory France is liberal today, in practice it is far from it and does still hang on in mythology to the first Empire of Napoleon as well as trying to deny its Germanic heritage and the extermination of the Aboriginal Gaul that the Germanic Clan of the Franks conducted in what is today France this they do not want to hear and deny still today with furore even though The name "France" coming from Latin Francia, which literally means "land of the Franks" or "Frankland" gives it away. Nevertheless, who cares about reality and facts?
Then again, how can one not love France with all its contradictions, populous glamour and show? Just do not let them rule the World nor write history books.