Mass Media and Politics Questions
Leon Gambetta was elected to the French legislature in 1869. He became a leader of the republican minority.
Here are excerpts from two of his speeches:
“Citizen Electors – I accept this mandate. On these conditions I shall be especially proud to represent you because this election will have been conducted in conformity with the true principles of universal suffrage. […] With you, I think that France, the home of indestructible democracy, will know liberty, peace, order, justice, material prosperity and moral greatness only through the triumph of the principles of the French Revolution. [Democracy] is the political system which achieves most promptly and certainly the moral and material emancipation of the greatest number, and best ensures social equality […] I give you my vow: I swear obedience to this present contract and fidelity to the Sovereign people.”
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“The peasantry is intellectually several centuries behind the enlightened and educated classes in this country. The distance between them and us is immense. […] Of the external world, of the society in which [the peasant] lives, he apprehends only legends and rumors. He is the prey of the cunning and fraudulent. […] It is to the peasantry, then, that we must address ourselves. We must raise and instruct them. […] Enlightened and free peasants who are able to represent themselves […] should be a tribute rendered to the progress of the civilization of the masses. This new social force should be utilized for the general welfare.”
1- You are one of Louis Napoleon’s police officers, preparing a report about Gambetta for the Emperor. What would you report about his tactics and how he might pose a threat?
Gambetta died in 1882 at the age of 44. By this time, a Republic had been established in France. It was dominated by conservatives, and Gambetta, a radical republican, had pushed for the expansion of equality and social reforms.
In this period, the funerals of leftwing political figures were made into political events.
Gambetta’s Funeral Procession
2- You are part of a group of republicans, planning Gambetta’s funeral. How do you turn it into a political statement? What elements do you include and why?
3-The mass circulation daily newspaper represented a new style of journalism. How had newspapers changed in the 19th century and why? Who was the audience?
4-How did the new type of newspaper treat everyday life? What were the faits divers
5-You are a newspaper editor, planning out the next day’s paper. You are writing the headlines and planning the layout. Come up with 5 possible headlines that you think will sell papers.
6-What does the new type of newspaper indicate about the new mass culture that developed in Europe in the second half of the 19th century?