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Othering France : depictions of French politics in Punch, 1848-1851 Zhou, Carson Yichen


This thesis examines caricatures of French politics in the British cartoon periodical Punch between the years 1848 and 1851. I argue that although the French “Other” was seen by Britons in the eighteenth century as a military danger, by the 1848 revolution it had been transformed into a dystopian analogue of Great Britain’s own constitutional achievements. Punch contributes to the British nation-building project by juxtaposing the supposed failures of the French liberal movement, with the supposed successes of British government. Its cartoons depict French constitutionalism in the era as violent and radical, constantly threatened by the forces of revolutionary turmoil on the one hand, and Bonapartist autocracy on the other. Moreover, Punch depicts these problems as self-inflicted; when given the choice between disorder and dictatorship, Frenchmen chose the latter.

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