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Bourbons European dynastic family, descendants of the Capetians. The ducal title was created in 1327, and continued until 1527. A cadet branch, the Bourbon-Vendôme line, won the kingdom of Navarre. The Bourbons ruled France from 1589 (when Henry of Navarre became Henry IV) until the French Revolution (1789). Two members of the family, Louis XVIII and Charles X, reigned after the restoration of the monarchy. In 1700 the Bourbons became the ruling family of Spain, when Philip V (grandson of Louis XIV of France) assumed the throne. His descendants continued to rule Spain until the declaration of the Second Republic (1931). Juan Carlos, a Bourbon, was restored to the Spanish throne in 1975.

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BOURBONS, the term originally applied to the faction within the southern Democratic-Conservative party that, during Reconstruction, opposed the party's New Departure policy. It was derived from the name of the post-Napoleonic French royal family and connoted intransigence to social and political change. Whereas New Departurists advocated soliciting the black vote and cooperating with dissident Republicans as the means to re-gain political control from the northern-supported Republicans, Bourbons rejected black suffrage and argued that Democrats should maintain their principles, including states' rights and free trade. They also tended to represent the economic interests of the white agricultural elite, a position that, despite their political majority among white voters, later placed them at odds with advocates of the New South and the southern populists.


Perman, Michael. The Road to Redemption: Southern Politics, 1869–1979. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1984.

Woodward, C. Vann. Origins of the New South, 1877–1913. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1951.

C. WyattEvans

See alsoReconstruction .