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  1. Orianna2000
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    Orianna2000 Member

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    1880s France

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Orianna2000, Sep 6, 2008.

    One novel I've been working on is set in Paris of 1880-1881; in the interest of accuracy in historic fiction, I have many detailed questions about French religion, immigration, slavery, and marriage. I have tried to find answers online, but failed. The questions are mostly related to each other, that's why I'm putting them all in one post, but if anyone thinks I should post them separately, let me know.

    1. Religion -- I understand that the country was Catholic, but was this by law, or simple majority? What happened to immigrants of other religions, such as Protestants from England, or Lutherans from Scandinavia--did they have to become Catholics and forswear their own faiths? Or were they allowed to worship as they pleased, since they were foreigners? (If so, were there churches for them to use, did small groups of them gather in a home or public building, or did they have to worship alone, in private?)

    2. Immigration -- Did immigrants need to get permission to stay in the country, or could they come and go as they pleased? Was there a limit on how long they could stay? Could an immigrant become a citizen? If so, what did that require--a certain length of stay? swearing an oath? Likewise, what requirements were there for permanent residency and employment? Did immigrants have to report to any authorities on a regular basis, or did they need to keep identification papers either on them or in a safe place? Would that no longer be necessary if they became a citizen? (In particular, I'm thinking of a young woman who would have arrived in the country as a child with her father, in the early 1870s, just after the Franco-Prussian war.)

    Also, what sort of immigrants were most likely to have been living in France at that time? A lot of Spanish? Italians? Africans? Persians? Chinese, etc.? How were they treated? Welcomed or despised? Would someone be discriminated against if she obviously looked foreign, even though she'd been living there for ten years? (Say a Scandinavian woman with blonde hair, blue eyes, and fair skin, and a trace of an accent.) Would she be overlooked as far as being assigned better jobs, have to work harder for the same benefits as native Parisians? Or would she be given a break and treated kindly because she's foreign?

    3. Matrimony -- What would a couple have to go through in order to be married, particularly in a hurry? Forms to fill out? Medical examinations? Would they need to present birth records, baptismal records, anything like that? What if one was not a French citizen--would that matter? Likewise, what if one was not Catholic? Would a priest be able to marry a couple where the woman was born Lutheran but the man was a lapsed Catholic? Would they have to fill out any special forms because of their different backgrounds? Be interviewed? Or perform certain rites? Pay an extra fee?

    Did they even need a priest, or was there a sort of Justice of the Peace who performed a non-religious civil ceremony? Would there need to be witnesses to either kind of ceremony? How far in advance would they need to contact the priest (or civil judge)? Could the marriage be done spur-of-the-moment or would they be required to wait a certain length of time? If the law required them to wait, would they be able to bribe anyone to overlook the waiting period? Did they need to pay (or make a donation) for the services, or for the marriage license or certificate?

    4. Slavery -- When did slavery become abolished in France? How were other races treated during this time period? Was there any popular discrimination or prejudice? If so, against which races--anyone not French, or just those of obvious backgrounds, such as Asian, Middle-Eastern, or African?

    What race would the majority of the labor class have been? Would there be a difference in racial backgrounds between menial laborers and higher class servants? People who did street sweeping, laundry, mending, working in stables, that sort of thing, versus those who served the upper class as maids, butlers, cooks, etc. Would there be a difference in how lower-class French citizens would be treated versus laborers of another race?

    Okay, I think that's everything! Keep in mind that I need answers applicable to the late 19th century, not modern times. Any help you can give will be greatly appreciated! :)
     
  2. Beth
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    Beth Member

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    Hello Orianna, sorry, I don't know how to answer your questions, but I suggest you to go to your nearest university and ask for an appointment with a history professor. It shouldn't be difficult to talk to someone, and usually they're very happy to talk and talk. :p

    This is only my suggestion and that's what I would do.

    ;)
     
  3. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I can't answer much on this, but I know about slavery.

    Slavery was abolished in France in 1795 constitution (after the revolution) however, Napoleon didn't include it in his constitution in 1799. So the abolition wasn't actually carried out until the second republic, in the mid 19th century (April 27th, 1948, thanks to wikipedia for filling in the blanks in my memory :p).
     
  4. Orianna2000
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    Orianna2000 Member

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    Do you mean 1848? That would be mid-19th century. I am full of curiosity about how that worked, slavery being abolished but not in the official constitution. But just knowing it wasn't legal to have slaves in the 1880s is good enough for my book (presuming 1948 was a typo). Edited to add: Oh, and thanks!

    Erm. Well, they might be willing, but it would be difficult for me. If I could email one, maybe . . . but otherwise, that sort of thing would likely be more stress than it'd be worth just to find out the information. It's a very good idea, though! Wish I could do something like that.

    Actually, I feel really stupid, because I asked these questions a couple years ago on another writing forum, and someone gave me the answers to most of what I needed to know. Unfortunately, I wasn't actively working on the novel at the time, so I didn't think to copy down the information. And the forum is wiped annually, so the answers are now gone. :(

    Is there anyone else who knows anything about religion and marriage in 1880s France? Or immigration? Any details will help.
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    19th century France
     
  6. Orianna2000
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    Orianna2000 Member

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    Well, that answered part of my question about which immigrants were living in France. It's interesting to learn a broader view about French history; I always enjoy learning stuff like that. Unfortunately it didn't get specific enough about the other things I need to know. Still, I appreciate it! Even one question answered is one step closer to an accurate picture of 1880s Paris. :)
     
  7. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Yes, sorry. Typo :redface:
     

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