The Limits of Democracy

Victor Hugo on the Limits of Democracy

by Roderick T. Long by Roderick T. Long

In December 1851, French President Louis Bonaparte — the future Emperor Napolon III — seized power in a coup d’tat, in violation of his oath to uphold the Constitution. He arrested the legislature; imprisoned, deported, or executed his political opponents; and deterred future dissent by massacring civilians in the streets.