Social Networks and Political Life in Post-Revolutionary France,

Sarah Horowitz
Washington and Lee University

This paper uses social network analysis to show how political divides affected personal relations in post-revolutionary France, focusing on the years of the Bourbon Restoration (1815-1830) and the July Monarchy (1830-1848). Historians frequently state that after the Revolution, France was divided between those who supported the gains of the Revolution and those who wanted to return to the pre-revolutionary political and social universe. Examining the social networks of three prominent political figures of the time (Pierre Jean de Béranger, a songwriter on the far-left; François Guizot, a centrist scholar and politician; and François Réné de Chateaubriand, a prominent right-wing politician) shows the degree to which ideological tensions shaped these men’s social ties. During the Restoration, politics was a force for division, as these men’s networks were bound by factional loyalties. After 1830, social ties were depoliticized to some degree, as both Béranger and Chateaubriand had friendships that crossed political lines. Yet as the only one of the three who remained active in politics, Guizot still regarded ideological similarity as an essential component of his relationships with other men. However, during both regimes, women had no difficulty maintaining relationships across political divides and it was they who connected different factions to each other. Ultimately, I suggest that the notion that France was a divided nation was more true for men than for women and that by the advent of the July Monarchy, this division was becoming less of an organizing principle of French society.

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