1830-1848

The rise of Republicanism, Socialism and Feminism. Key dates

On August 7 1830 Louis-Philippe agreed to a new Constitutional Charter. This promised freedom of the press and declared that censorship would never be re-established. Within weeks there was an explosion of papers with political cartoons.

On November 4 1830 Charles Philipon launched a weekly newspaper, La Caricature, whose four pages of text were accompanied by two of lithographs.

A month later the government reacted. On December 4 1830 it restored the stamp duty tax on newspapers and re-introduced censorship. Philipon’s response in the Foam of July cartoon above showed Louis-Philippe blowing bubbles of many of the unfulfilled promises in the Charter: popular elections, mayoral elections, an end to ‘jobs for the boys’.

Philipon was acquitted for this cartoon but was arrested again. On November 14 1831 he first drew Louis-Philippe as an image transformed into a pear. He was jailed for a year in January 1832 at Sainte-Pelagie prison, where he was joined by Daumier for his cartoon, Gargantua.

Daumier’s 1831 cartoon showing Louis-Philippe demanding ever more in taxes while excreting increasingly authoritarian laws earned the artist six months in prison

The Orléans monarchy deceived those who had hoped the relatively bloodless July Revolution would lead to a constitutional monarchy and deeply angered the Republicans who had been sceptical from the outset. At the same time, industrialisation was beginning to transform small bits of France, particularly its major towns and Paris. The scene was being set for the re-emergence of French radical republicanism and its more edgy components, socialist and feminist thought and organisation.

The slow growth of an increasingly impoverished urban working class, the much more rapid growth of a wealthy upper class of merchants, financiers and of the lawyers on whom they depended, coupled with the spread of literacy and connectivity through railway travel all occurred against living memories of revolutionary democracy, secularism and of Napoleonic modernity.

The young who had been the first to support the insurrection and even to die in 1830 were the first to experience disillusion. The change of King had neither removed aristocratic privilege nor did it guarantee a free critical press.

Many workers were resisting the commodification of their lives that followed the development of huge workplaces in which they had no rights to collectively resist or to make collective demands.

Many young middle and working class women not only experienced the same disenfranchisement that their male peers did, but considered that the enlightenment and French Revolutionary calls for full male franchise, freedom and democracy should also apply to their gender.

PLACES

Rue Commines

Arrondissement: 3

Numbers: 10, 15

Named in 1864 after Philippe de Commynes, the road was built through the site of the Convent of the Daughters of Calvary in 1804, when it was first called the rue Neuve de Ménilmontant,

When Marx arrived in Paris in March 1848 he stayed in the offices of the German Communist League at No. 10. While there he met Engels and Ferdinand Flocon, a member of the new Provisional Government like the Worker Albert. Marx left Paris after the defeat of the June insurrection.

In 1839 Albert was living at No. 15 when he was one of the leaders of the Four Seasons Club organised by Blanqui and Barbes.

PLACES

Rue Rochechouart

Arrondissement 9

Number 42

The street was originally opened on land belonging to the Abbey and then named after the 17th century 43rd abbess of the Montmartre Abbey, Marguerite de Rochechouart de Montpipeau. It only began to be built up in the 18th century was then incorporated into Paris in 1863.

Honoré Daumier lived at No 42 for the last ten years of his life.

Daumier lived at No 42 from 1863 to 1879. It became a theatre and music hall and was the meeting place where Engels and others founded the Second International in 1889.

The same address welcomed the founding meeting of the Second International which Engels and others called., and set the objective of the 8 hour day for all workers This was on the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, in 1889, and took place in the theatre at the address that, ominously, was called Fantaisies parisiennes.

Ben Bella was hidden by Algerian friends in the street in 1952 on his way to Switzerland.

PLACES

Rue Saint-Honoré

Arrondissement 1, 8

Numbers: 153-155, 157-159, 204, 251, 270, 368

The nearly 2 km road follows most of the old West to East roman road through north central Paris.

The Café de la Régence from 1681 to 1854 was based approximately at Nos. 153-155, nearly opposite the Palais Royal (No. 204). Voltaire, Diderot and Rousseau were all enlightened customers there in the mid-18th century. Benjamin Franklin also visited while he was American Ambassador to France from 1776 to 1785.

The rough location of the Cafe de la Regence on the corner of the Palais royal square.

This café was also where Marx and Engels met on August 28 1844 and agreed to work on ‘The Holy Family‘ together. Further along the street, at No. 251, was the Valentino Hall, which Engels entered on one occasion in his brief 1844 visit to Paris to escape the police spies who were following him.

Upstairs the Café de la Régence was the centre of French chess for over a century. It was where Robespierre, the young officer Napoléon Bonaparte and Louis Philippe all played their chess (no not together!). The café also doubled as one of Paris’ four cafe/shop post offices in the early 19th century.

On October 16 1793 the Jacobin and regicide painter, Jacques-Louis David, sketched Marie-Antoinette in a cart being taken to the scaffold from a first floor window in Rue St Honore

The Café was well-positioned. It was close to the Palais Royal before the Revolution and afterwards it was on the route of those being taken from the Conciergerie prison to the Place de la Concorde to be guillotined.

On July 28 1830 at Nos. 157-159 the very first barricade was erected at the cross roads with Rue Rohan and Rue de Richelieu. This marked the start of the July 1830 Glorious Revolution that overthrew Charles X

At 10.30 pm on the evening of December 3 1973 one of the cartoonists for the French satirical paper Le Canard enchaîné returned to its offices at No. 173 to find a government DST ( Direction de la surveillance du territoire) team of spies installing microphones. The French State has always believed it has the right to spy on dissidents.

The editorial offices of Le Canard Enchaine satirical weekly at No. 179

Nearly two hundred years earlier the French state still believed in its right to execute dissidents. One issue was how this done. Should it be a lengthy process by strangulation (hanging) or a lengthy process by chopping at your neck with an axe?

Dr Joseph Ignace Guillotin, a humanist who opposed the death penalty helped develop a quicker, more efficient way of killing people. One of those who drafted the 1789 Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen, he died on March 26 1814 in his medical office at No. 209. This was on the route of those travelling to be ‘humanely’ executed at what is now the Place de la Concorde.

The medical offices of the man whose name was given to the guillotine died here at No. 209 in 1814.

On November 29 1847 Bakunin spoke to the 1,500 people who attended a commemoration banquet of the 1830 Polish uprising against Russia at the Valentino Hall. Before Haussmann’s re-modelling of Paris its address was No. 359 rue St Honoré. This was where Valentino, the orchestra conductor and violinist, introduced the polka dance to Paris that same year, 1847.

Le Bal Valentino was opened in 1838 and closed in 1890. One of the largest halls in Paris it alternated classical music concerts and dancees, while hosting many political meetings

The size and central location of the Hall attracted many revolutionaries to hold meetings there. In 1848, in February Cabet held a meeting of the Icarians there.

In March, Blanqui organised meetings of the Central Republican Society he chaired at Valentino’s. The Club of Political Prisoners presided by Armand Barbès with Blanqui as its vice-president also met there.

The Socialist Workers’ Club whose honorary president was Louis Blanc also met there until the May 15 1848 demonstration when it was dissolved after the failure of a left insurrectionary attempt to defend the socialist aspects of the February 1848 revolution.

On December 25 1848 No. 251 hosted the first socialist women’s banquet held in Paris.

On January 27 1871 the Valentino Hall was used by the Officers of the 1st Battalion of the National Guard to protest against the Armistice signed by the Thiers government with the Prussians.

251 Rue St Honore is now the exclusive Mandarine Hotel, describing itslf as the ultimate luxury hotel. The earlier dance hall and meeting place was demolished and rebuilt in the 1930s

Olympe de Gouges, opponent of slavery and author of the 1791 Declaration of the Rights of Women and Women Citizens, lived at No. 270. A History of Paris marker post has been put by the front foor to mark this feminist pioneer and martyre.

Olympe de Gouges’ time at 270 Rue st Honore is now marked by a historic Paris plaque in the pavement on the right of the door

The main entrance to the second Jacobin monastery in Paris was at No. 328. Its side entrance in the Rue St Hyacinthe led to the monk’s canteen where the anti-royalist Breton Club began to meet in 1789. After the closure of the monasteries in 1790 the convent was rented to the Friends of the Constitution, who later took the name the Jacobin club .

General Lamarque died at his home at No. 368 of cholera. His funeral procession that left from here on June 5 1832, sparked the 1832 uprising against Louis-Philippe’s increasingly authoritarian rule that features in Hugo‘s Les Misérables.

General Lamarque, who lived at No. 368, was a leading critic of Louis-Philippe. He died of cholera here on June 1 1832 and his funeral on June 5 triggered the 1832 June insurrection in Paris

When Robespierre was himself guillotined on July 28 1794, the cart carrying him to the scaffold stopped outside No. 398 (formerly No. 366) where he had lived for three years since he moved there secretly on July 17 1791 to avoid arrest after the Champs de Mars massacre. The house’s walls had been dripped with the blood of butchered cattle.

Off the courtyard behind the doorway to No. 398 Robespierre rented two rooms from Maurice Duplay, a cabinet-maker and supporter. The house was rebuilt to the same floor plan in the 18th century.

Plus d’informations

MAP

Communism

Communism as an international struggle for freedom. This 1951 socialist realist painting by Boris Taslitkzy shows French dockers fighting to stop arms going to French Indochina

What is shared between those who define themselves or are defined by others as ‘communist’? And how may ‘Communism’ be distinguished both from French anarchism and French socialism, with which it shared much common history and ground?

Babeuf was guillotined on 27 May 1797 as leader of the Conspiracy of Equals against the Directorate

Manifesto of Equals

The 1795 Paris revolutionary ‘Manifesto of Equals’ inspired by François-Noel Babeuf and rescued from oblivion by Philippe Buonarroti (1761-1837) summarised what remained (and remains) common to nearly all those who described themselves as communist across the following two hundred and some years:

We need not only that equality of rights written into the Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen; we want it in our midst, under the roofs of our houses… We lean towards something more sublime and more just: the common good or the community of property! No more individual property in land: the land belongs to no one. We demand, we want, the common enjoyment of the fruits of the land: the fruits belong to all.

We declare that we can no longer put up with the fact that the great majority work and sweat for the smallest of minorities. Long enough, and for too long, less than a million individuals have disposed of that which belongs to 20 million of their kind, their equals.

Let it at last end, this great scandal that our descendants will never believe existed! Disappear at last, revolting distinctions between rich and poor, great and small, masters and servants, rulers and ruled.’

After agreeing to this general statement of belief, communists had much more to disagree with each other upon.  

We have divided the considerable history of Communism in France into five periods:

Communism 1830-1917

For nearly 80 years before the redefining of communism with the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the 1920 formation of the…

Communism 1918-1938

The Communist (Third) International was formed in Russia in 1919. The Soviet Communist Party directly dictated French Communist Party policy from…

Communism 1939-1947

From the shock of the 1939 non-aggression pact between Moscow and Berlin to holding ministries in the French government from 1945…

Communism 1978-to date

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, the end of the Soviet Union, changes to its traditional working class constituency…

Socialism

Accused of being drunkards in several areas of France the early SFIO campaigned against alcoholism as well as against capitalism

French socialism began to distinguish itself both from Proudhon’s anarchistic appeal to humanity’s moral responsibilities and from Blanqui’s insurrectionism in the 1890s. Founded by Blum, Jaures and Vaillant in 1905 in the aftermath of the Dreyfus affair, the SFIO united left reformist republicans and Marxist sectarians. The alliance broke up in 1920 when a majority at the Tours Conference voted to affiliate to the new Communist International.

Despite being a minority at that SFIO conference, the SFIO of left reformist socialism became the leading left political current through nearly all the interwar period. After the Communist Party ended Stalin’s ‘class against class’ propaganda against the Socialists and proposed a Popular Front alliance, Blum became prime minister in 1936.

Under the Fourth Republic its internal divisions over Algerian independence, with Mendes France and the challenge of the stronger Communist Party allowed De Gaulle to take power. In 1981 Mitterrand won a decisive majority on a left platform that he abandoned three years later. From then the Socialist Party became largely a party of elected national and local officials, without any real mass membership. In 2017, following five politically disastrous years under Hollande, the Socialist Party suffered a major defeat in both the presidential and National Assembly elections. A new left party, La France Insoumise (France untamed), did relatively well, with the Left Front’s presidential candidate getting 19.6% of the vote in the first round.

The vote for the La France Insoumise leader Mélenchon in the first round of the 2017 presidential elections shows stronger support in the less wealthy parts of Paris

Like the Socialists, though, Melonchon’s La France Insoumise has still virtually no local membership base. In the European elections of 2019, its share of the vote fell to 6%.

Work in progress