Following the temporary setback resulting from the intensification of repression in 1858, Republican militants once again worked to establish networks of sympathizers. They were to be found in all social groups. The wealthy tended to express their opposition to the regime through liberalism, although family loyalties and traditions might pull some towards the left. In many communities, the middle and professional bourgeoisie, from resentment of established and exclusive elites, together with small businessmen — shopkeepers and workshop owners — anxious about competitive pressures and determined to preserve their hard-won prosperity and social status, provided leadership. In general, artisans and urban workers were far more likely to support the republican cause than were peasants, influenced by the growing prosperity which appeared to confirm the promise of the Bonapartist legend. Workers and peasants might, however, in certain circumstances, share a hostility towards those they believed were exploiting them — government, bankers, wholesale merchants, employers and landowners, and such old enemies as ‘aristos’ and priests.
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