Peasants into Citizens: Suffrage Expansion and Mass Politics in France

Anne Degrave

17 mai 2024, 12h45–13h45


Salle Auditorium 4 (First floor - TSE Building)


The rise of mass politics is conventionally attributed to state expansion and economic modernization. We propose a complementary institutional explanation, highlighting how the expansion of voting rights politicizes the general public and enhances their mobilization capacity. To test this argument, we use discontinuous variation in suffrage levels in the French local elections during the July Monarchy (1830-1848). Communes with more suffrage later showed a heightened interest in public affairs, capacity for collective mobilization, and opposition to autocracy. Even when introduced and practiced in an autocratic system, the right to vote seems to encourage the development of a pro-democratic mass public.


Anne Degrave, « Peasants into Citizens: Suffrage Expansion and Mass Politics in France », IAST Lunch Seminar, Toulouse : IAST, 17 mai 2024, 12h45–13h45, salle Auditorium 4 (First floor - TSE Building).