Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of History

Content Description

1 online resource (iv, 252 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Richard Fogarty

Committee Members

Nadieszda Kizenko, John Monfasani


Cultural history, French history, Religion and socialism, Religion and state, Romanticism, Women, Spiritualism, Religion and politics

Subject Categories

European History | History | History of Religion


This dissertation analyzes the complexity of popular religious trends under a nominally secular government through the examination of prophecy during the French July Monarchy period (1830-1848). Throughout this era, several diverse individuals claimed to be the recipients of supernatural visions and visitations. These “prophets” attracted interest, and genuine belief, from a wide range of contemporaries. Studying the supernatural visionaries of this period, and those drawn to such phenomena, illustrates the nature of contemporary interests and values. Why were supernatural visitations so successful and appealing at this specific time? Attraction to these visionaries reveals political and social anxieties and upheavals that continued to echo from the 1789 Revolution, and the rising influence of new trends such as Romanticism, industrialization, socialism, feminism, occultism, and popular Marianism. In addition to exploring the ways that these prophets served as a reflection of the widespread social concerns and enthusiasms of the time, this study also brings to light the complexity of the government’s efforts to adhere to new secular standards of tolerance and political separation from religious practice. Analysis of the interactions between visionaries and secular authorities demonstrates both the difficulty in distinguishing between secular and religious matters and the obfuscating influence of largely unexamined existing cultural expectations, regardless of intentions. Even in the face of legally mandated separation between church and state, religion continued to have a profound, and largely unacknowledged, effect on governmental activities.