© 2017

The Church and the State in France, 1789-1870

'Fear of God is the Basis of Social Order'


  • Aims to explain the development and interaction of Church and State in eighteenth and nineteenth century France

  • Considers the dynamics of religious and political change in a period of revolution and social fear

  • Utilises a wide range of archival sources and print media as well as secondary ltierature


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiii
  2. Roger Price
    Pages 1-5
  3. The Shock of Revolution, 1789–1848

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 7-7
    2. Roger Price
      Pages 33-58
    3. Roger Price
      Pages 59-82
    4. Roger Price
      Pages 83-126
  4. Religion and Politics During the Second Empire 1852–1870

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 127-127
    2. Roger Price
      Pages 129-160
    3. Roger Price
      Pages 161-204
    4. Roger Price
      Pages 205-237
    5. Roger Price
      Pages 273-275
  5. Back Matter
    Pages 277-341

About this book


This book explores the responses of the Roman Catholic Church to the French Revolution beginning in 1789, to the liberal revolution in 1830, and particularly the democratic revolution of 1848 in France, and asks how these events were perceived and explained. Informed by the collective memory of the first revolution, how did the Church react to renewed ‘catastrophe’? How did it seek to influence political choice? Why did authoritarian government prove to be so attractive? This is a study of the impact of religion on political behaviour, as well as of the politicisation of religion. Roger Price employs the methodology of the social and cultural historian to explain the development and interaction of two key institutions, Church and State, during a period of political and social upheaval. Drawing on a wide range of archival and printed primary sources, as well as secondary literature, this book analyses the diverse perceptions of people with power and the impact of their decisions, and the responses, of a wide range of individuals and communities.


religion Christianity Catholicism French Revolution Napoleonic era

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.AberystwythUnited Kingdom

About the authors

Roger Price is Emeritus Professor of History at Aberystwyth University, UK, and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He has published a large number of articles and books on the economic, social and political history of nineteenth-century France and Europe. Previous publications include The French Second Empire: An Anatomy of Political Power (2001); People and Politics in France, 1848–1870 (2004); A Concise History of France (2014); Documents on the Second French Empire, 1852–1870 (Palgrave, 2015); and The Modernization of Rural France: Communications Networks and Agricultural Market Structures in Nineteenth-Century France (2017). In addition to this book, his study of Religious Renewal in France, 1789–1870: The Roman Catholic Church between Catastrophe and Triumph will also soon be published by Palgrave.

Bibliographic information


“The Church and the State in France combines archival research with a very useful synthesis of the considerable secondary literature in this field. As such, the work offers a solid overview of Church-State relations after 1789, though the narrative ends rather abruptly with the proclamation of the Third Republic in 1870.” (Laura O’Brien, Journal of Ecclesiastical History, Vol. 71 (2), 2020)