Publication Date

Spring 2015


College of Arts and Sciences; School of Education


social Science--Teacher Certification


Victor Hugo, France, Napoleon III, Louis-Napoleon, Les Miserables, Napoleon le Petit, Les Chatiments, Les Contemplations, Republicanism, Romanticism, Exile, Second Republic, Third Republic, Second Empire, 1850's, 1860's


European History


When Louis-Napoleon staged a coup d’état and overthrew the French Second Republic in 1851, renowned French author and republican politician Victor Hugo escaped into exile on the British isle of Guernsey. He remained in exile until the republic was reestablished in 1870. This thesis examines the works he published during the period, including the political pamphlet Napoléon le Petit, two poetry collections—Les Chȃtiments and Les Contemplations—and his magnum opus novel Les Misérables. Victor Hugo used these writings to remain politically active, even while in exile, by consistently promoting the cause of republicanism in France. His politically charged writings helped shape the course of French politics in the 1860s, ultimately contributing to the fall of the French Second Empire and the restoration of the Republic.