Three Speeches Of Adolphe Thiers (With Introduction) (Classic Reprint).pdf
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Publisher: Forgotten Books (27 Sept. 2015)
By: A. J. Grant (Author)
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This little volume was planned as a companion to a selection of Bismarck's speeches. It was felt by the Council for the Study of International Relations that it would be a help to the understanding of the present relations of European States if it were possible to read in some easily accessible form the most notable of Bismarck's utterances on foreign politics. But it was felt also that it would be only fair to let some great Frenchman's voice be heard along with the great German's: and thus arose the idea of a selection from the speeches of Thiers. Few would question that he was the most distinguished among French statesmen in the third quarter of the nineteenth century. He does not dominate French as Bismarck dominates German history. He did not play so long a part in the political drama of France as Gladstone did in that of England. But the ideals and characteristics of France, Germany and England between 1850 and 1875 can better be studied in the careers of Thiers, Bismarck and Gladstone than in those of any other statesmen.
In 1852 Thiers said to Mr. Senior, whose 'Conversations' help English readers to penetrate the ideas and movements of the early days of the Second Empire: 'By birth I belong to the people: my family were humble merchants in Marseilles: they had a small trade with the Levant in cloth, which was ruined by the Revolution. By education I am a Bonapartist: I was born when Napoleon was at the summit of his glory. By tastes and habits and associations I am an aristocrat. I have no sympathy with the bourgeoisie or with any system under which they are to rule. So little am I an Orleanist, that, if Louis Napoleon after his coup d'etat had founded a real constitution, I should joyfully have adhered to him. Constitutional monarchy is the form that suits us best. We are unfit for a republic: we cannot breathe under a despotism.'
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