Realism Historical Context

Historical Context

The realist movement in literature exerted a profound influence on the literature of France, Russia, England, and the United States in the mid- to latenineteenth century. During this period, each of these nations experienced major political and social upheavals as well as periods of relative stability and liberal social reform.

The nation of France went through several major social and political upheavals during the second half of the nineteenth century. In the Revolution of 1848 the Emperor Louis-Phillipe was deposed as a result of a popular uprising, and his nine-year old grandson named as the new emperor of a new parliamentary government known as the Second Republic. Louis-Napoleon Bonaparte, nephew of the more famous former emperor and military commander Napoleon Bonaparte, was elected the first president of the Second Republic. Louis-Napoleon ruled as president of France from 1848 until 1852. However, because the French constitution stated that no president could serve more than one fouryear term, Louis-Napoleon staged a coup of his own government at the end of his term so that he could remain in power. In 1852, Louis-Napoleon proclaimed the Second Empire of France and had himself named Emperor Napoleon III. Napoleon III ruled the Second Empire until 1871, when a popular revolt heralded the end of the Second Empire and the beginning of the Third Republic, ruled by a popularly elected president. The Third Republic of France remained relatively stable until 1940 when, during World War II, Germany invaded and occupied France. During periods of the various French Republics, all adult males in France were granted the right to vote in political elections.

The Russian government was one of the few in Europe that remained relatively stable throughout the nineteenth century. While revolutions swept through Europe in the year 1848, the Russian Empire experienced no such political upheaval. Russia during this...

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