France in the 1800s

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France during the 1800s was a dangerous war ground filled with distrust and greed for power. Political disputes, bloodshed, prejudice, and more tore France apart. In 1871, the Franco-Prussian war resulted in France being defeated and humiliated. The war France thought it easily could win resulted in France’s Third Republic ceding their provinces of Alsace and Lorraine to Germany, the victor (Krieger p.171). Soon after France’s defeat in war, the people of Paris formed a radical group called the “Commune.” The Commune rejected the new conservative government to be established and started a revolt in Paris. This led to a two month siege of Paris by government troops, who brutally crushed all in opposition to the new government (France, 1800-1900A.D.). This bloody suppression only intensified the citizens’ bitter hatred for the French government. In addition, in 1894, the Dreyfus Affair left the French feeling tremendously betrayed. Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer, was pronounced guilty of selling military secrets to the Germans and condemned to the rest of his life in prison. Though Dreyfus was completely innocent, anti-Semites and other military officers prevented Dreyfus from being vindicated until 1906 (Krieger p. 172). The clear injustice and prejudice in the Dreyfus Affair revealed the widespread anti-Semitism and deepened political divisions in France. These major events and numerous others damaged France’s appearance to the world as well as their national pride. France’s painful scars and deep divisions could only be healed by a unifying factor, the new expression of art: impressionism.
Although France was politically divided and hurt, France managed to be a major center of beautiful culture and expression, which ...

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