Opposing the ultras were the liberals. They wanted to extend suffrage and win a share of power for middle-class citizens like themselves. Another group, the radicals, or people who favor extreme change, called for a republic like France had in the 1790s. The working class still wanted what it had hoped to win in 1789: decent pay and bread the people could afford.
When Louis XVIII died in 1824, his younger brother, Charles X, inherited the throne. Charles, a strong believer in absolutism, rejected the very idea of the charter. In July 1830, he suspended the legislature, limited the right to vote, and restricted the press.
In Paris, angry citizens threw up barricades across the narrow streets. From behind the barricades, people fired on the soldiers and pelted them with stones and roof tiles. Within days, rebels controlled Paris. The revolutionary tricolor flew from the towers of Notre Dame cathedral. A frightened Charles X abdicated and fled to England.
Radicals and liberals who had united against Charles X disagreed over a new government. Radicals wanted to set up a republic. Liberals, however, insisted on a constitutional monarchy and chose Louis Philippe as king. Louis Philippe was a cousin of Charles X and in his youth had supported the revolution of 1789.
The French called Louis Philippe the “citizen king” because he owed his throne to the people. Louis got along well with the liberal bourgeoisie. He dressed like them in a frock coat and top hat. Sometimes he strolled the streets, shaking hands with well-wishers. Liberal politicians filled his government.
Under Louis Philippe, the upper bourgeoisie prospered. Louis extended suffrage, but only to France's wealthier citizens. The vast majority of the people still could not vote. The king's other policies also favored the middle class at the expense of the workers.
French rebels erected barricades in the streets using household items and whatever else they could find that might offer protection during battles with government soldiers.
What actions did Charles X take in 1830, and how did French rebels respond?
The July Revolution in Paris inspired uprisings elsewhere in Europe. Metternich later said, “When France sneezes, Europe catches cold.” Most of the uprisings were suppressed. But here and there, rebels did force changes on conservative governments. Even when they failed, revolutions frightened rulers badly enough to encourage reforms later in the century.
The one notable success in 1830 took place in Belgium. In 1815, the Congress of Vienna had united the Austrian Netherlands (present-day Belgium) and the Kingdom of Holland under the Dutch king. The Congress had wanted to create a strong barrier to help prevent French expansion in the future.
The Belgians resented the new arrangement. The Belgians and Dutch had different languages, religions, and economic interests. The Belgians were Catholic, while the Dutch were largely Protestant. The Belgian economy was based on manufacturing, while the Dutch relied on trade.
News of the 1830 Paris uprising ignited a revolutionary spark in Belgium. Students and workers, along with other citizens, threw up barricades in Brussels, the capital. The Dutch king hoped for help from Britain and France. These two countries backed Belgian demands for independence, expecting to benefit from the separation of Belgium and Holland. As a result, in 1831, Belgium became an independent state with a liberal constitution. Soon after, the major European powers signed a treaty recognizing Belgium as a “perpetually neutral state.”