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Frenchmen who had been raised to the very summit of glory by Napoleon discovered their national prestige much diminished under the restored Bourbons. Waterloo had brought the impossibly corpulent Louis XVIII to the throne, who was succeeded in 1824 by his brother, Charles X. They cut a sorry figure in France. The dynamism that had helped Henri IV and Louis XIV to transform France into a modern and powerful state in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries had been bred out of these later Bourbons.
The result, according to Machiavelli, among the first Western writers to call for conscript armies, was a disaster: “The present ruin of Italy is the result of nothing else than reliance upon mercenaries,” he wrote in the fifteenth century. ”6 And while most kingdoms relied upon mercenaries in the centuries between Machiavelli and the French Revolution, they did not always earn the praise even of the great captains whose reputations were built upon their blood. ” He conceded that an army recruited among patriotic citizens would be infinitely more resilient, more adaptable and cheaper than his own, but he was unwilling to redistribute political power in the way that an armed citizenry would have demanded.
Corps Sans Passé et Sans Avenir” 7. Mexico, 1863–1867 8. The Franco-Prussian War and the Commune 9. The Initiation 10. Indochina —The Invasion 11. “A Second Fatherland” 12. “They Fought Like Unchained Demons” — The Legion in Dahomey 13. ” — The Legion in Madagascar 14. The Monastery of the Unbelievers 15. The Mounted Companies 16. 1914 17. 1915—Trench Warfare and Mutiny 18. “The Greatest Glory Will Be Here” 19. New Legion, “Old Legion” 20. The Invention of Tradition 21. “Cause for Hope”—The Legion in the Fall of France, 1940 22.