Key Dates 1816 – 1829

Chronology from Le Maitron of key dates in French labour history

Author: Stéphane Sirot, additional material by Michel Cordillot, René Lemarquis et Claude Pennetier and Steve Jefferys (italicised)


May 8 Divorce abolished (only to be re-established in 1884) by the ultraroyalist chamber of deputies elected in august 1815 by a majority of 225 to 11.


January 8 An order forbidding introductio of black slaves into French colonies was issued

January/February Rural unrest as bread shortages and local famines hit the Brie and Champagne areas of France.

February 5 A new electoral law restricts the electorate to those who pay 300 francs in taxes, to about 90,000 men, and to become a deputy requires paying 1000 francs in taxes, limiting eligibility to about 15,000. Elections take place at meetings of electors who have constituted themselves as an Electoral College.

February 12 A law permits those suspected of plotting against the royal family or state security can be arrested and held without being taken to court.

April 1 The coalition powers agree to a reduction in the numbers of occupying soldiers from 150,000 to 120,000, reducing the cost of supporting them to the treasury.

June 8 An insurrection breaks out in Lyon and the surrounding area, leading to the first executions of workers on June 13.

September 20 Elections for the Chamber of Deputies see some liberal deputies elected and the formation of an Independent Party in the Chamber.

October Trials take place in Lyon of the Lyon workers arrested in June.


March 20 A fire takes place at the Odeon Theatre.

October 20-26 Partial elections in which the Independents gain 20 seats.

November 30 The occupying troops leave France after it paid war indemnities,


February 26 Weaving machines are destroyed in Vienne and later in the year at Mortagne and Limoux.

September 11-20 The liberals have some success in the elections


February 13 Assassination of the Duke de Berry, King Louis XVIII’s nephew and son of the future Charles X provoking a government shift towards repression and the start of the second wave of White Terror. Censorship is reestablished and individual liberty suspended.

June 3 A 17-year-old student Nicolas Lallemand is killed by a palace guard in the Place du Carrousel during a demonstration against giving two votes to the tax payers who pay the most tax.

June 9 Lallemand’s funeral procession to Pere Lachaise cemetery was swollen to 6,000 people by large numbers of workers from the Saint-Antoine area.

August 19 The French Bazar conspirators of the Rue Cadet try to initiate a Bonapartist conspiracy, at the same time as in Lyon and Colmar.


May 1 The French Carbonari movement is founded by Philippe Buchez, Saint-Arnand Bazard and Jacques-Thomas Flotard. Support for secret societies is in part a response to the gradual elimination of liberals in the National Assembly as the 1820 law of the double vote takes effect.

May 5 Napoleon dies on Saint Helena. The news reaches Paris on July 5.

December 24-28 A Carbonari insurrection is Saumur fails to take off.

France: Population is 30,461,875, of which Paris is 713,000 and the next two largest towns are Marseille with 116,000 and Lyon with 115,000.


January 1 La Fayette arrives in Belfort but the Carbonari plan for an insurrection is discovered.

February 24 Carbonari insurrection led by General Berton fails at Thouars. His march on Saumur is stopped and he is executed on October 5.

Spring Charles Fourier published the first abridged 700-page version of his Grand Treatise, proposing the establishment of ideal communities and moved from Besancon to Paris with most of the 1,000 copies to sell them to as many people as possible. Initially only having a handful of followers, the Fourierist movement developed rapidly in the 1830s under the leadership of Victor Considerant.

March 19 Four sergeants based at La Rochelle are arrested for planning a Carbonari insurrection.

July 1-3 A Carbonari insurrection at Colmar aiming to release the Belfort prisoners and to bring Napoleon II to power, fails. It was led by Colonel Caron, who was executed in Strasbourg on October 1.

September 21 The Four Sergeants of La Rochelle are executed in the Place de Grève in front of the Paris Town Hall. The executions are witnessed by the young Auguste Blanqui.


March 3-4 Jacques-Antoine Manuel, a minority liberal deputy and friend of Beranger, is thrown out of the Chamber of Deputies for opposing Louis XVIII’s proposed invasion of Spain to ‘restore a grandchild of Henry IV to the throne of Spain’ and with him, royal despotism. Some rioting in Paris followed.


February 25 – March 6 The ultra royalist right secure 415 deputies out of 430 after rigged elections that follow the victory of the French army over the Spanish democratic movement.

August 6-8 A strike and demonstrations involving over 1,500 spinners at Houlmes, near Rouen, and neighbouring villages demands parity with wages and conditions in all the factories in the region.

September 16 Louis XVIII dies. Charles X becomes king.


May 19 Death of Saint-Simon, author of the Catechism of Industrials and New Christianity. Few knew of them during his life, but his ideas were popularised by his disciples Olinde Rodrigues, Prosper Enfantin and Saint-Amand Bazard., who brought together between 1826 and 1830 a philosophical school comprising a brilliant and active group. Saint-Simon is buried at Pere Lachaise.

October 1 The first issue is published of the Saint-Simonian Producer journal, whose final issue is published on December 12.

November 30 Between 60,000 and 100,000 people attend the funeral of the former Napoloeonic General and liberal deputy Maximilien Sébastien Foy, who is buried at Pere Lachaise.

December 24 A strike takes place in the coal mines and mirror factories of Commentry in central France. This small town became the first in France to elect a socialist mayor in 1882, and hosted the September 1902 unity congress that created the short-lived Socialist Party of France with the merger of the ‘Marxist’ French Workers Party (POF) of Jules Guesde, with the Blanquiste Revolutionary Socialist Party of Eduard Vaillant and its semi-autonomous Revolutionary Communist Alliance led by Arthur Groussier.


November 1 The Law Gazette appears for the first time.


February 7 Nine miners are killed in a coal mine in Aniche.

March 30 The funeral of La Rochefoucault-Liancourt sparks a riot after the police charge the students carrying the casket in the Rue Saint-Honore, and it falls to the ground and breaks open.

April 29 A republican demonstration takes place against the new press censorship laws. The Parisian National Guard is disbanded.

August 24 Some 100,000 people attend the funeral of the liberal deputy Manuel who had earlier opposed the French army intervention to restore absolutism in Spain.

September The royalist Pierre Charnier founds the earliest Lyon mutual aid society among the silk weavers of Lyon. It watches prices and allows the master workers to support each other.

October 4 The French start fighting the Dey of Algiers following the alledged insult to the French consul on April 30.

November 17-20 After the electoral success of the opposition (180 government absolutism-supporting deputies are re-elected with an opposition of 170 liberals and 80 right/conservative deputies) violent demonstrations, met with severe repression, take place across France but especially in Paris. Many workers are killed and wounded. For the first time since the 17th century Fronde barricades appeared on the streets. Blanqui was shot in the neck on the corner of the Rue aux Ours and the Rue Quincampoix on November 19.

November 30 The Lyon Mutual Aid Society founded by Jacques Lacombe is authorised by the mayor.


Bazard publishes the Doctrine of Saint-Simon. Buonarroti publishes in Brussels his historic Conspiracy of Equals. This action, and the success of this book, stimulate the emergence after 1830 of a communist neo-Babeufian movement that will inspire the secret societies of the first decade of the July Monarch, that will develop further during its second decade.

Journalists associated with ‘Young France’ and the La Tribune des départements which is launched the following year, becoming the official voice of the Rights of Man society, form a Republican Society.


January 1 Gas lights are lit for the first time in the Rue de La Paix (10) and in the Place Vendôme.(4). By the end of the year 12 gas lights lit up the night at both the Place de l’Odeon and the Rue de Catiglione, as well as the galaries of the Palais Royal.

May 25-30 The ‘War of the Maidens’ (Guerre des Demoiselles) breaks out in the Ariège department in the Pyrennees in protest against the 1827 Forestry Code that prohibited peasants from collecting wood, cutting it and keeping their animals in pastures in the forests. The rebellion continued off and on for three years, and then sporadically until 1872.

June 8 The republican daily newspaper, La Tribune des départements, is published

December The newspaper Le Globe moves under the control of the Saint-Simonians under the influence of Pierre Leroux.


Jean-Baptiste André Godin

1817 – 1888 • France

Cooperatism • Fourier • Familistère de Guise

Jean-Baptiste André Godin, a follower of Fourier founded the utopian Home/Workshop (Familistère de Guise) in 1859

Republican, democrat and early socialist, from 1859 to 1882 Godin built a ‘family palace’ with a park, allotments, swimming pool, schools and library alongside a factory. 2,000 families lived there in 1882 and more than 1,200 worked in the cooperative association’s factory.

More info


Bourbon Restoration and revolt. Key dates

The 1814 Restoration of the Bourbon dynasty in the figure of Louis XVIII and his reinstatement after Waterloo saw the near disappearance of the French left. Accounts of the egalitarian ideals of the Revolution were kept alive by handfuls of teachers, defrocked priests and former revolutionaries. It was only in the late 1820s that historical studies of the French Revolution started to be published.

In April 1814 Louis XVIII, brother of the executed Louis XVI, rejected a constitution drafted by the provisional government set up after Napoleon’s first abdication. The Charter of 1814 he then imposed was only implemented after foreign troops again occupied Paris after the June 1815 battle of Waterloo. The Charter reaffirmed the idea that the French King was the central authority by divine (birth) right.  Nevertheless, it also endorsed some of the elements introduced since 1795.

The 1815 Constitutional Charter was a decree issued by Louis XVIII. It declared that all French men are equal before the law and that their individual freedom is guaranteed, including the right to religious choice – while declaring France’s state religion to be Roman Catholic.  It offered to overlook the opinions and votes given before the Restoration (excepting those of the Regicides who had voted to executive Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette).

The Charter left in place most of the administrative and legal changes introduced by Napoléon.

The new constitution closely and consciously mimicked the British monarchical structure. Louis XVIII shared legislative power with a Chamber of Peers made up of aristocrats nominated by the King, and a Chamber of Deputies.

The Chamber of Deputies was made up only of men aged over 40 who paid over 1,000 francs a year in direct tax, and who were elected by men aged over 30 who paid over 300 francs a year in tax. Just 15,000 very rich Frenchmen were eligible to become deputies and only about 94,000 wealthy Frenchmen were enfranchised (out of a French population of approximately 35 million).

Opposition to the authoritarian regime came from both republicans and Bonapartists. In 1821 the poet songwriter Pierre-Jean Béranger was jailed in Sainte-Pélagie prison for three months for publishing political song lyrics.

In 1822 four soldiers who were allegedly members of the French Carbonari were executed for plotting to overthrow the king.

In 1824 Louis XVIII died and his younger (67-year-old) and still more reactionary brother, Charles X, became king. Still a firm believer in the divine right of kings he claimed the right to rule by decree whenever he felt it necessary.

In 1827 Parisian protests became more frequent. Demonstrations took place against the growing influence of the Jesuits, for greater press freedom and when the opposition to Charles X won a majority among the Paris deputies. Blanqui was wounded three times that year.

Pierre-Jean de Béranger, the most popular song-writer/poet of the period, was jailed for 9 months in La Force prison after publishing his fourth volume of songs in 1828.

In 1829 Béranger was jailed again for nine months, this time in La Force prison, for publishing songs advocating freedom of speech.  

To try and win nationalistic support Charles X ordered his army to seize Algeria on July 5 1830. At the same time, refusing to respond to growing pressure for political influence from the few wealthy voters, his government issued four new decrees on July 26 1830.

Charles X banned freedom of the press, dissolved parliament, halved the numbers of deputies and gave the richest 25% of electors in each constituency a veto over which deputies would actually sit in parliament. The July Revolution broke out the next day.