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110 The regime also practiced democracy in a frequent and almost feverish way: between 1852 and 1870, there were frequent countrywide elections at national, cantonal, and municipal levels, with­ out forgetting the plebiscites. 112 The archives of the Ministries of the Interior and Justice show that millions of people not only acquired the habit of voting regularly during these years but also came to express their political preferences in an increasingly inde­ pendent manner — two key preconditions of republican citizenship.

529, Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris. A good representation of the Bonapartist administrative hierarchy. Worth noting is the ambiguous relationship between prefects and councillors of state on one hand and deputies and senators on the other; both groups are on the same line. Also of interest is the lowly place assigned to the mayor (bottom right-hand corner). THE BONAPARTIST DEMOCRACY 35 This chapter begins with a description of the philosophy and practice of Bonapartism, particularly its attachment to centralization under the Second Empire.

96 A NEW POLITICAL CULTURE This reconsideration was facilitated by a turning point for what might be termed the culture of politics in France: the way in which a public domain of political intercourse was defined and actualized by national and local elites during the Second Empire. Literacy levels increased dur­ ing this period, a phenomenon that partly explained the advent of cheap newspapers (such as the Petit Journal). These publications brought "a new vision of the world" to every corner of France,97 and especially a sense of events and issues occurring beyond the limits of locality.

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France - Bordeaux, a city transformed

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