Georges Boulanger, the ideological head and leader of boulangisme

Boulangism (or in its native French form Boulangisme) is a political ideology popular amongst European nations, especially France, in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The ideology saw its golden age between the rise of the French State from the ashes of the French Third Republic and the end of the Great War, which saw the end of the aforementioned French State. Boulagnisme acted as a sort of a "bridge" between the radical Left and the populist Right, being a very heterogeneous policy.

The tenets that join together all Boulangist practices are few, but they have a large strength. The main points of the ideology are centered on general Georges Boulanger's troix R's: they are Revanche (revenge against the German Empire which took 91% of Alsace and 8% of Lorraine in 1871); Revision (revision of the Constitution of the French Third Republic, originally meant as a provisional government); and Réstoration (Restoration of the French monarchy, be it Carlist or Bonapartist, but definitely not Orléanist). While large ambiguity was seen between the two extremes of boulangisme that  However, Boulanger also espoused some other views, not shared amongst all boulangistes, but generally also considered part of mainstream Boulangisme:

  • les cures sac au dos ("the Priest's backpack): force military service on the clergy, as a way to defeat large ecclesiastic power over the civilian and military;
  • Expulse the Princes of Orléans from the military, especially after their grave trahison (grave treason) in siding with the Republicans; general anti-Orléanisme;
  • Improve the quality of life of the military; lower the length of compulsory military service; large-scale military modernisation and reorganisation;
  • Establish fraternity between the workers and the military, establishing an alliance of lower classes against the aristocracy

Boulangisme was divided into three main policies;

  1. Radicaux-boulangistes; the radicals were the group closest to the Republican mainstream in the Boulangist tradition, and most of today's Boulangist political parties belong to this branch of thinking;
  2. Boulangistes-blanquistes, supporters of socialism; they supported many left-wing policies also seen in the Period of Reforms in other parts of the world, and represented the wishes of the proletariat. Heavily populist, they still supported Boulanger as an oppository to republic;
  3. Droite-boulangisme, the far-right; monarchist, traditionalist and mostly demagogue. Supported the restoration of the monarchy, almost always Napoleonist; the droite-boulangist idology was the force behind the Dreyfus Scandal and the Coup of the Right, that led to the fall of the French Third Republic. They were the centre of Boulanger's support throughout most of history.

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