Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesHistory · 6 years ago

Les Miserables history?

I am very touched and inspired by this movie and definitely want to learn about it's history. As I am a young man with aspergers syndrome who wasn't mainstreamed into the regular academic programming like I wanted, I have little knowledge regarding historical events.

I was wondering about the events portrayed in this movie; are they based from the French Revolution? And was it called the Reign of Terror? If you have any sources of some books or (even better) any documentaries, please let me know. Thanks a lot! :)

7 Answers

  • Cabal
    Lv 7
    6 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    The well known French Revolution was only the start of nearly a century and a half of civil war. The Miserables happened between 1815 and 1832 during that long period. Here is a short explanation of what happened during that time:

    - French Revolution - 1789 / 1799 : overthrow of royalty. Long and very bloody internal war to establish a Republic. Takover by fanatics who start to kill everyone in sight (the Reign of Terror) and ended up being killed in turn by the terrorised people. Things then get better except for the other countries still attacking France to destroy that abominable new Republic and put back a king on the throne.

    - Napoleon Consulate: 1799 /1803 : Power grab by Napoleon who becomes a Consul. End of the first Republic.

    - Napoleon Empire: 1804 /1814 : Continuous wars against stronger and stronger coalitions, invasion of a good part of Europe because Napoleon likes to conquer. Then fall of Napoleon. (1 million dead men in France)

    - Restauration: 1815 / 1830 :


    The winners put back a king on the French throne. Louis XVIII

    Louis 18 dies in 1824, his brother Charles X replaces him but starts by wanting back the old ways, with only the king and the nobles with the power. Of course, the French revolt. Again. It is the July Revolution (1830)

    - July Monarchy : 1830 / 1848 :

    Louis-Philippe, of the cadet branch of the royal family (the Orleans) is chosen as a new king to replace Charles X. It is called the July monarchy

    THIS IS WHEN LES MISERABLES ENDS - the June rebellion of Paris in 1932

    The June rebellion was an attempt to overthrow the king, both because his politics displeased everyone and because there were serious economic problems, food shortages, harvest problems...

    - 2nd Republic 1848 :

    Tired of corruption and the heavy hand of the king the French revolt. Yep, again. The king abdicates rather than start a civil war and is replaced by a Republic. There is an election copied on the US style to chose a president, it is Louis Napoleon Bonaparte, the nephew of Bonaparte who become the first president of France for four years

    - Second Empire 1851 /1871

    Louis Napoleon asks that the constitution be changed so he can get a second mandate. Refused. So he overthrow the Republic and takes power as Napoleon III (the second was the son of Napoleon 1 who died when a young man). His empire is called the Second Empire. He was overthrown in 1871 after the defeat of the French against the Prussians and the third republic was born.

    Since then it was only Republics in France. The actual one is the fifth Republic.

    Hope it helped

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  • 6 years ago

    French economy suffered a great downturn in the beginning of the 18th century due to introduction of national banks and paper (note) money. People who have established the new monetary system speculated with the bond prices and kept artificially increasing the value of the bonds. It was basically like an economical bubble that burst one day and created "French Great Depression". Many people lost everything and the King, of course. never addressed the economical issue: as the King after that King and the King after another King. The monarchy didn't do a thing to help its subjects. So a little over a century France has become a country with 90% of population living in poverty and 10% "the aristocrats" not carrying and enjoying their lives. This resulted in a bloody revolution where people took control of the government and established democratic republic so that never repeats again.

    If you want to learn everything in detail from the very beginning I would suggest to wikipedia name "John Law". He was the guy responsible for everything mentioned above. It is actually one of the most interesting history stories you could read.

    Good Lcuk

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  • ?
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    If you enjoyed the movie, then Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

    in book form is a good read, albeit somewhat rambling.

    The book is set after the French revolution, the June Rebellion

    in Paris. The movie took some of the most interesting aspects

    of the book to portray the theme of justice and mercy.

    The book, is available on Amazon, from your library and book


    There are further reading suggestions within the link

    which contains a bibliography.

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  • 6 years ago

    Many people think the book is about the French revolution, but that is incorrect.

    That actually took place earlier and is referred to in the book.....but the main events in the story, are about the 1832 JUNE rebellion.

    The French Revolution really didn't change much........just swapped out one king for another.....but class differences persisted.

    There were actually many such rebellions.....until the REPUBLIC, was finally realized.

    The Book is about one of them..........the ill fated 1832 June rebellion.........which did indeed fail..........but many considered it to be the spark, that then ignited other rebellions down the line.

    Victor Hugo wrote the story........because at the time, there really wasn't any records or great literature that paid tribute to those men , who gave their lives on that barricade.-----for a dream, that they did not live to see........but came true, eventually.

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  • 6 years ago

    The events in the book take place between 1815 and 1832.

    The 'revolution' towards the end of the book is the 1832 June REbellion in Paris.

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  • 6 years ago

    The street fighting portrayed in the book wasn't "the" revolution, but a later period called the February Revolution. Don't however kick yourself for not knowing, it isn't clear in the book and a lot of people have made the same mistake. If you read the book, I suggest getting an expurgated edition. Hugo liked to stray off on tangents, for chapters and chapters and chapters.

    Also, a fiction you might enjoy that was about the French Revolution, is Dickens "A Tale of Two Cities."

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  • tuffy
    Lv 7
    6 years ago

    Any book of French history (1780 - 1880) will include the information you seek. Go to the library nearest you and have a librarian help you with books on this subject.

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