The Siècle History Podcast

The Siècle is a history podcast covering France's overlooked century between Napoleon and World War I. Visit for annotated scripts, pictures, maps, sources and more.

Supplemental 18: Bonds, French Bonds
32 min
Episode 35: L'Économie
43 min
Episode 34: Polignac
On Aug. 8, 1829, a new French ministry was appointed featuring Charles X's friend Jules de Polignac. This made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move. Visit for a full transcript of this episode...
57 min
Supplemental 17: Béranger
During the Bourbon Restoration, one man's songs were everywhere. He wrote about politics and about love, for the rich and for the poor, and persevered despite the best efforts of the government to shut him up. Meet the Bob Dylan of the Restoration:...
36 min
Episode 33: Martignac
Buffeted by a bad election, King Charles X is forced to appoint a more moderate ministry. Can Prime Minister Martignac forge a middle course before his boss gets fed up with concessions? Support The Siècle for as little as $1 per month on...
41 min
Supplemental 16: Restoration Elections
Restoration France had an elected parliament, but its elections were radically different from the voting we're familiar with today. Here's how they did it, from tax-based voting rights to not-so-secret ballots to candidates running and winning in...
22 min
Episode 32: The Congregation
King Charles X's reign was marked by web of conspiracy theories about the alleged role of two secretive Catholic organizations: the Jesuits and the enigmatic Congregation. Let's dive in to what was true, what was false, and why ultimately it didn't...
27 min
Fact-Check 1: Learning and Forgetting
Many people have quoted a famous quip about the Bourbon Restoration, that "The Bourbons have learned nothing and forgotten nothing." While this is a real quote, more or less, almost everything people think they know about it is wrong.
16 min
Episode 31: The Election of 1827
"The enemy redoubles his efforts," King Charles X wrote in September 1827, shortly before he dissolved the French parliament in a risky political gambit. "However, I am resolved to act with firmness and wisdom and am entirely confident that in the end...
47 min
Supplemental 15: Art Greco
A Delacroix painting, a Rossini opera and a Dumas novel help demonstrate the profound impact that the Greek War of Independence had on French art and literature. Visit for a full transcript of this episode with notes, illustrations and music. 
28 min
Episode 30: Greek-ing Out
The Greeks go into revolt against the Ottoman Empire — a revolt that fires the imaginations of France and the rest of Europe. The French government reacts with ambivalence, but many French men and women enthusiastically adopt the Greek cause.
64 min
Episode 29: The Doctrinaires
A small but crucial group of Restoration politicians were centrist liberals who championed constitutional monarchy against enemies to the right and left. Meet the brilliant and controversial clique who are known to history as the Doctrinaires.
44 min
Supplemental 14: Émigrés
Thousands of French men and women fled the country during the Revolution. Who were they, what were their lives like in exile — and how did they handle it when they finally came back home?
36 min
Supplemental 13: Scrofula
I join Benjamin Jacobs from the podcast for a deeper dive into "scrofula," the skin condition whose sufferers Charles X touched at his coronation in a medieval ritual believed to hold the power of healing.
44 min
Supplemental 12: Second Sons
Professor Jonathan Spangler joins the show to explain the French institution of "Monsieur" and how it shaped French courts over the centuries. Be sure to follow The Siècle on Twitter @, or . 
43 min
Episode 28: Charles in Charge
King Charles X begins his long-awaited reign in a warm glow of popularity, but his honeymoon phase won't last forever as he begins to push a controversial agenda for France. Be sure to follow The Siècle on Twitter @, or . 
34 min
Supplemental 11: The Year 1817
A famous — or infamous — chapter in Victor Hugo's masterpiece Les Misérables is "The Year 1817," a length recitation of a series of minor events that happened in France in that year. As a special bonus episode, take a dive into that chapter —...
18 min
Episode 27: Mission from God
The restoration of the Bourbons also meant a restoration of Catholicism as the state religion of France — delighting some, and outraging others. Not only is religion vital to fully understand Restoration France, it's especially vital to understand...
53 min
Supplemental 10: Et cetera, Wellington
Restoration France as analyzed by an outsider with intimate knowledge of France both on the battlefield and in the salons — Arthur Wellesley, the Duke of Wellington.
38 min
Announcement: Intelligent Speech
I'll be giving a talk at the upcoming Intelligent Speech online history podcast conference on April 24, 2021, about the experience of French émigrés during and after the Revolution. Visit to buy tickets and use the offer code "siecle" for 10...
2 min
Episode 26: Monsieur
With Louis XVIII dead, the new king is his younger brother, the Comte d'Artois. But what kind of man is France's new king? To see, let's rewind back through the first 10 years of the Restoration, from the point of view of the very charming and very...
38 min
Episode 25: The King Is Dead
After 10 years on the throne, King Louis XVIII of France's health enters a terminal decline. As he tries to entrench his legacy with one final accomplishment, what are we to make of the reign of France's restored king? Be sure to follow The Siècle on...
29 min
Episode 24: Lafayette in America
After the defeat of his efforts to bring about liberal reform in France through both legal and illegal means, the Marquis de Lafayette in 1824 boarded a ship for the fledgling United States, where he would be celebrated as "the nation's guest" in a...
37 min
Episode 23: Charbonnerie
Conspiracy is in the air in France. In a world of secret societies and paranoid styles, the Bourbon Restoration clings to power while secretive cells spread across the country. The fate of the entire country is up for grabs as the French army is...
55 min
Supplemental 9: Thiers in Spain
An 1822 account of civil war on the Franco-Spanish border by an up-and-coming liberal journalist named Adolphe Thiers, who observes a refugee crisis, battles between liberal and conservative forces, and the disposition of French soldiers preparing to...
29 min