Out now! Parliamentary Sounds and Rule Breaking

The fourth and final episode in the podcast CALLIOPE Speaks discusses the intertwining rules and expectations that representatives faced in the French Chambre des Députés des Départements in the 19th century.

CALLIOPE Doctoral researcher Ludovic Marionneau takes Jacques-Antoine Manuel, a representative elected in Vendée, as an example. In spring 1823, Manuel took the tribune to give a speech that did not go down well with the other representatives. While Manuel's delivery followed the practices and rules of the chamber, the content was against a larger political culture of monarchist France. The speech resulted in such a heated debate that the president of the parliamentary event formally silenced the room by putting on his hat - a ritual outlined in the rules, signifying that he is about to exit the room unless the representatives hold their tongues.

Doing politics in 19th century France was a balancing act. Even a representative's manner of speaking mattered when an image of "proper Frenchness" was being delivered. On occasion, proficiency in the French language was even commented on, especially if the representative was not a native speaker. Representatives from French colonies may have been seen by some members of the elite as not fit for parliament, simply because they pronounced the 'r' sound differently than someone educated in France.