I have some issues with this schema, however. It seems to work well enough so far as Orleanism is concerned. To be sure, the filiation from July Monarchy liberalism to the Classic Right of the Third Republic (1870-1940) is far from seamless. Republican politicians held no brief for the House of Orléans. They were democrats, rather, who exhorted backers to come to the urns. This was a far cry from the position of an Orleanist notable like François Guizot, a partisan of a limited, property-based franchise. To citizens desirous of voting, he had an exhortation of his own: enrichissez-vous!
The Bonapartist line of descent poses yet more serious problems. Louis-Napoléon’s son, the Prince Imperial, died in colonial fighting in 1879 and with him died hopes of restoring a Bonaparte to the throne of France. Of course, just because the line petered out does not necessarily mean that the Bonapartist temperament ended along with it. Yet, was de Gaulle, let alone Macron, a genuine Bonapartist? General Bonaparte executed a coup d’État in 1799, bringing an end to France’s First Republic and replacing it ultimately with an imperial regime. In 1851, Louis-Napoléon plotted a coup d’État that culminated in the razing of the Second Republic and the construction on its ruins of the authoritarian Second Empire. Both emperors were driven from power in the wake of lost wars, and both died in exile. De Gaulle, by contrast, presided over the creation of two Republics and left office, not in the wake of a military debacle, but because of a setback at the ballot box. He may not have begun life as democrat, but he ended it as one, and he died at home, in France, rather than in a foreign land.
The fate of the Ultra tradition raises yet another set of problems. The Bourbon line terminated with the death of the Comte de Chambord in 1883. Once again, it is fair to counter that the Ultra temperament, even in the absence of a genuine royal body, may have found a new home for itself elsewhere. According to Rémond, this is just what happened, and that new incarnation was the Action Française. Yet, there is another way to think about the Action Française: not as an avatar of counterrevolutionary royalism, but as a rightwing league, one among many born of the Dreyfus Affair. These were rabble-rousing organizations, ready for street action, which harangued sympathizers in populist accents, lambasting parliamentary elites as out of touch with the true needs of ordinary folk. They were also xenophobic, a theme Rémond does not make enough of. Germany was, of course, a main target, but so too was France’s Jewish minority. The Right that emerged at the time of the Affair was, in all these respects, something altogether new.
To account for such newness, it helps to think of the late nineteenth century as a watershed moment. France’s dynastic past was fast receding, even as the nation, at the very same time, was learning to make its own the democratic creed of the Third Republic. The New Right, from this angle, was a creature of democratization, which is why France, a precocious democracy, was the phenomenon’s continental homeland.
The notion of a fin-de-siècle climacteric also helps to make sense of where Gaullism came from. France’s industrial expansion chugged along at a steady, but unremarkable pace for much of the nineteenth century, but then lurched forward as the twentieth century dawned. The acceleration posed a fundamental challenge that had both an economic and political dimension: how was France to manage this new industrial order and the world of labor protest that it engendered? Think tanks like the Musée Social and elite schools like Sciences Po and the École Polytechnique mulled over how to address these problems, while remaining wedded to the laissez-faire shibboleths of the nineteenth century. The Great War, the Depression, and then the shock of defeat and penury of the Vichy era chipped away at such faith in free-market solutions. A new idea began to take hold. What France needed was a strong state to take charge - to steer the economy and regulate labor - and one led by competent, public-spirited elites who grasped the big picture. Sciences Po came to understand the training of such elites as its core mission.