Chronology from Le Maitron of key dates in French labour history
Author: Stéphane Sirot, additional material by Michel Cordillot, René Lemarquis and Claude Pennetier with Steve Jefferys (italicised)
January 19 The first extreme cold period of the year that began on December 6 1829 ends.
February 7 The government decides to seize Algiers.
February 8 The second extreme cold period of the year that began on January 24 ends.
May 16 Charles X dissolves the Chamber of Deputies after 221 deputies had voted against his ministers.
May 25 The French expeditionary force of 38,000 soldiers embarks at Toulon to attack Algiers.
June 23-July 19 The new elections give outright majority to the liberal opposition to Charles X with 274 deputies out of 428.
July 5 Algiers is taken and Algeria becomes a French colony. This colonisation without consulting the British leads their ambassador to not give support to Charles X during the July Revolution; the expedition also weakens the number of loyal troops based in and around Paris. The news reaches Paris on July 9.
July 25 Under Article 14 of the 1814 Constitutional Charter that allowed the King to rule by decree, Charles X signed four decrees at St Cloud to restrict press freedom to cut the number of voters (by excluding patents from the possessions that counted towards taxable wealth), to dissolve the new Chamber of Deputies and to set up a new reactionary government.
July 26 The new ordinances were published, sparking a protest letter signed by 44 journalists from 12 newspapers who met in the National office in the Rue St Marc. They included Leroux of the Saint-Simonian Le Globe and Thiers of the constitutional monarchist Le National. Four newspapers (Le National, Le Temps, Le Globe and Le Journal du commerce) decide to go ahead and publish the protest letter, Thousands of copies are then distributed in the streets.
July 27-28-29 The ‘Glorious Three days’. Barricades across Paris. Louis-Philippe replaced Charles X in August.
July 27 The Commerce Law Court declares the ordinances restricting the electorate of the merchant and commercial classes was contrary to the 1814 Charter and was not obligatory. In the printing districts a large number of print workers found themselves unemployed, and angry, unleashed a Paris-wide insurrection threatening the government and ministers. A big crowd gathered in the gardens of the Palais-Royal and are cleared by mounted troops. In the early afternoon, after troops killed one man and wounded three others, the first barricade was built in the Rue Saint-Honoré, turning over a builders’ rubble cart that had been waiting for the troops to pass.
That night barricades were built across Paris, using paving stones and tree trunks where they could be cut. Meanwhile Charles X’s new military commander, Marmont, the hated Duke of Raguse, dispersed his 15,000 troops to key places such as the Place du Carrousel, the Place Louis XVI (Concorde), the Bastille square, the Place Vendome and the Pont Neuf.
July 28 As Paris students, workers and shopkeepers armed themselves fighting took place near the Town Hall that Marmont attempted to retake, and in the Rue Saint-Denis and Rue Saint Martin in an effort to clear Rue St Honoré. By early afternoon the troops were cornered and fraternisation was beginning. But Charles X rejected proposals to negotiate.
The Town Hall was occupied and the fearful government ministers escaped back to the Tuileries Palace. At nightfall Marmont organised a difficult retreat to a defensive rectangle stretching from the Place de la Concorde to the Louvre, with the Rue St Honoré and the Seine its north and south limits. Altogether some 800 insurgents had been killed and 4,500 wounded in the fighting, while 200 soldiers were killed and 800 wounded.
The people spent the night building still more barricades which in some places were every 20 metres, making it very difficult for the troops to move their artillery. Eyewitnesses suggested after the event that there were 4,000 barricades built in total during the July revolution.
July 30 The club called Friends of the People is set up.
July 31 The last attempt to prevent Lafayette from transferring power to Louis-Philippe fails.
July-November Strikes take place for higher wages and the reduction of the working day in Rouen, Darnetal, Paris, Roubaix and Limoges. Some printing and weaving machines are borken.
October 17-20 Considerable unrest in Paris when the trial of Charles X’s ministers takes place. Posters appear on the walls again in the workers’ districts inciting citizens to arm themselves to reconquer the rights they have again been denied.
December 20-22 A new wave of poster proclamations aimed at ‘the People’ and calling on the workers’ districts to take action and demanding an elected assembly representing these districts renewable every year. Some very violent worker and student demonstrations take place followed by a large number of arrests.