Monégasque citizens demand end to absolute monarchy (Monégasque Revolution), 1910

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Timing
Time Period:  
March
1910
to
January
1911
Location and Goals
Country: 
Monaco
Goals: 
1. To end the absolute monarchy by establishing a Parliament elected by the people and creating a constitution.

2. Also, to separate the revenues of Prince Albert from those of the country by creating a national treasury

 

At the beginning of 1910, the Principality of Monaco was an absolute monarchy, but by January of 1911 it had become a constitutional government. In Monaco, the chief source of revenue was the gambling tables, from which Prince Albert (monarch of Monaco) received a hefty sum. Discontent over the money the Prince received and the immorality of the gambling tables, the citizens of Monaco (or Monégasques) began a campaign in March 1910.

They had two main goals and one lesser goal. The main goals were to establish a parliament voted upon by Monaco’s citizens, and to obtain a constitution. If accomplished, these goals would end Prince Albert’s absolute monarchy. Though he would remain on the throne, his power would no longer be absolute. The other goal was for the creation of a national treasury, so that Prince Albert’s revenues and those of the country would be separated.

In March 1910, delegates of the population confronted the prince with a petition that stated their goals and threatened that if the demands were not met, Prince Albert would lose his throne. Their methods for vanquishing him, had the petition failed, are unknown and may have been violent in nature. Yet even with minimal or no violence, an uprising of the people in Monaco was inevitably a potent threat since Monaco had no standing army or navy, only the police of the gambling syndicate. Nonetheless, the police force had fewer than eighty members and was portrayed at times as a joke. Therefore, Prince Albert had little means of resisting his population.

On March 28, Prince Albert decreed elections to appoint a parliament, which would be elected by universal suffrage. At this point, Monaco ceased to be an absolute monarchy.

October 1910 was an eventful month for Monaco. The palace was stormed by protesters, whom the police force could do nothing to oppose. This “uprising” intended to warn the prince that unless he met their demands exactly, he would be deposed and a republic would be established. It is worth noting that no violence is mentioned within this uprising, but nonviolence is not confirmed. Some of the language used to describe the event raises questions, such as the words “storming” and “invasion”. Yet, in a picture from the uprising, no weapons are visible and the protesters seem to be dressed up for the occasion.

On October 15, Prince Albert met the citizens’ demand for a national treasury, which separated his revenues from the country’s revenues.

Also in October, a second campaign began in Monaco. The new campaign sought to shut down the gambling tables and dispose of the intense French control over and within Monaco. This meant the dismissal of French officials and dignitaries in Monaco, the end of the French Benevolent Fund Committee, and of the Chamber of Commerce. This campaign involved riots and demonstrations against the French. Prince Albert convinced his son, Prince Louis, to return to Monaco to pacify the population. Initially, Prince Louis was so well liked that the citizens of Monaco began to publicly discuss forcing Prince Albert to resign so that Prince Louis could take his throne. Eventually, though, the civilians grew to distrust Prince Louis and abandoned the idea.

Meanwhile, on October 19, Prince Albert promised the Monégasques a constitution, to be written promptly. Three of Monaco’s social elite, Messrs. Blanc, Radziwill, and Bonaparte, voiced their disapproval of Prince Albert’s concession, particularly because it meant they lost significant power.

In November, protests occurred in France in response to the anti-French sentiment in the second campaign and its attempts to dissolve French control within Monaco.

On January 7, 1911, the constitution was established. Finally, on May 3, 1911, the new parliament met for the first time. An election for the parliament was to be held every four years. Within the span of the year, Monaco had ceased to be an absolute monarchy.

Research Notes
Influences: 

It seems likely that this campaign influenced a second campaign in Monaco, which began in October 1910 and intended to shut down the gambling tables and dispose of French control over and within Monaco. (2)

Sources: 
“A CONSTITUTION FOR MONACO.” Colonist, Volume LII, Issue 12929, 21 October 1910, Page 3 < http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/cgi-bin/paperspast?a=d&cl=search&d=TC19101021.2.66&srpos=1&e=01-01-1910-30-12-1911--10--1----0Monaco-->.

A Veteran Diplomat. “Is Monaco Doomed? Other Nations Want it; Germany, Italy and France Cast Envious Eyes on the Little Principality and Its Own People Demand a Republic.” The New York Times (Dec. 11, 1910). <http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9F06EEDD1339E433A25752C1A9649D946196D6CF>.

“Events That Made The History of 1910---What They Were, Where They Happened And the Chief Actors in Them.” The New York Times (Jan. 1, 1911). <http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9800E1DD1331E233A25752C0A9679C946096D6CF>.

“Monaco Gets Constitution.” The New York Times (Jan. 8, 1911). <http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9C06E0DC1331E233A2575BC0A9679C946096D6CF>.

“MONACO IS SHOWING ENMITY TO FRANCE.” The New York Times (Nov. 27, 1910). < http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9801E7DF153BE733A25754C2A9679D946196D6CF>.

“Monaco to Have Parliament.” The New York Times (March 29, 1910). <http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9E05E5D91E30E333A2575AC2A9659C946196D6CF>.

“Throne of the Prince of Monaco in Danger; ‘Constitution or Revolution’ the Ultimatum from Half the Subjects of the Little Kingdom.” The New York Times (March 13, 1910). <http://query.nytimes.com/mem/archive-free/pdf?res=9F02E5D91139E333A25750C1A9659C946196D6CF>.

Additional Notes: 
Italy, France, and Germany kept a close eye on the events of this campaign as the outcome was sure to impact them.
Name of researcher, and date dd/mm/yyyy: 
Lindsay Carpenter, 3/8/2011