Pierre-Joseph Proudhon

1809-1865 * France


Proudhon was the major influence on the core beliefs of French left in the 19th and early 20th centuries. His ideas can be seen to have shaped anarchists, socialists, utopian communists, cooperatists and revolutionary syndicalists and created a backcloth of sympathy and support for a democracy involving working people that kept attracting artists and writers to the left throughout the century following his first major work ‘What is Property’ in 1840.

When Marx was in Paris in 1843-1845 Proudhon discussed politics with him frequently in a bar in the Rue Coquillière and at their respective homes in the Rue Vaneau and 36 Rue Mazarine. Proudhon later moved to 70 rue Mazarine where he was living in 1847 and in the revolutionary year 1848.

In 1849 he was jailed in St Pélagie prison, where he was kept until 1852. He was out on parole at the moment of Louis-Napoleon’s 2 December 1851 coup d’etat. He had to inform Victor Hugo regretfully that as a result he was not in a position at that moment to defend the Republic.


  • 55 Quai des Grands Augustins 6 arr. Printshop where Proudhon is supposed to have worked briefly, meeting Fourier in 1828, before returning to Besançon ;
  • 31 Boulevard St Michel , 6 arr. Courbet’s first Parisian workshop (at the time the location of the demolished 89 rue de la Harpe) where he met Proudhon in 1842;
  • 4 Rue de Bourgogne, 7 arr. Proudhon often used to meet Bakunin at his lodgings in a Slave enclave between 1844 and 1847;
  • 14 Rue des Moulins, 1 arr. Proudhon attended the meetings of the editorial committee of the Franco-German Annals journal held here with Marx in 1844;
  • 154 Rue Montmartre, 2 arr. Proudhon’s first newspaper ‘The people’s representative‘ was produced here, appearing first on 27 February 1848 and running until August 1848;
  • 23 Rue du Faubourg St Denis, 10 arr. The site of the short-lived People’s Bank established by Proudhon to try and put his ideas into practice in 1849.
  • 46 Rue Boulard, 14 arr. Proudhon lived here first after his release from jail in 1852
  • 83 Avenue Denfert-Rochereau 14 arr. was where Proudhon moved to in the mid 1850s,
  • 14 Rue Jacob, 6 arr. in 1862 Proudhon lived in a house off the back of the yard behind the building here.
  • 12 Rue de Passy, 16 arr. Where Proudhon lived for the last few years of his life and died on 19 January 1865.

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