CHAPTER SEVEN

THE STATE

But it is precisely with the maintenance of that extensive state machine in its numerous ramifications that the material interests of the French bourgeoisie are interwoven in the closest fashion.

—MARX

The French state at midcentury was in search of a modernization of its structures and practices that would accord with contemporary needs. This was as true for Paris as it was for the nation. Louis Napoleon came to power on the wreckage of an attempt to define those needs from the standpoint of workers and a radicalized bourgeoisie. As the only candidate who seemed capable of imposing order on the “reds,” he swept to victory as President of the Republic. As the only person who seemed capable of maintaining that order, ...

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