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Macmahon, Marie Edmé Patrice Maurice de (1808–93)

Subject History

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405189224.2011.x


President of the French third republic (1873–9). This staunch royalist is principally recalled for failing to effect a restoration of monarchism after the franco-prussian war . His family originally hailed from Ireland, and acquired nobility under Louis XV. Macmahon was a professional soldier, who served in the 1830 Algerian campaign and the crimean war . After his victories in the franco-austrian war of 1859 he obtained from napoleon iii the titles of Duke of Magenta and Marshal of France. In 1870 his military prowess deserted him at sedan , though in the following year he led the French army's suppression of the paris commune . In 1873 he appeared to royalists as the right man to replace thiers as chief of state, and achieve both a restoration and a new “moral order.” Given the divisions among the royalists, and the ineptitude of the principal contender, the Comte de Chambord, Macmahon faced a hard task and proved no natural politician. In 1875 he could not stop a parliamentary motion confirming the regime as a Republic. As its president, Macmahon struggled to live with a hostile parliament. On May 16, 1877, in the so-called Seize Mai crisis, he dissolved the Assembly, sacked the moderate Jules Simon as prime minister, and replaced him with the reactionary Duc de Broglie, whose task was to ensure a monarchist triumph in fresh elections. Despite the government's ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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