The Artisan Republic: Revolution, Reaction, and Resistance in Lyon, 1848-1851

The Artisan Republic: Revolution, Reaction, and Resistance in Lyon, 1848-1851

The Artisan Republic: Revolution, Reaction, and Resistance in Lyon, 1848-1851

The Artisan Republic: Revolution, Reaction, and Resistance in Lyon, 1848-1851

Synopsis

The Artisan Republic uses the techniques and approaches of local, labour, and social history to test some of the recent theories about the dynamics of revolution, repression, and resistance. It is an important addition to the growing number of studies which are giving a new direction to the formerly Paris-oriented historiography of the Second Republic.

Excerpt

For too long, histories of the French Second Republic concentrated on the relationship between the national government and the Parisian crowd during the revolution of 1848 (February through June of 1848). a reinterpretation of the revolution characterized it as a Parisian event overruled by the votes of the more traditional provincials in the April 1848 elections to the National Assembly and by the army, seconded by provincial militias, in the bloody repression of the Parisian revolt known as the June Days. Yet a cursory reading of the dozens of books on the revolution in the departments published during the centennial corrects the vision of a radical capital awash in a sea of conservative provinces. While the capital alone initiated the revolution, as one might expect in a centralized state, other major cities had “municipal revolutions,” club movements, and economic experiments similar to the Parisian National Workshops. Too often the municipal revolutions were seen as products of the intervention of the Provisional Government commissioners. However, François Dutacq proved as early as 1910 that France’s second city had an independent, almost federalist revolution, a radical club movement, and a variety of economic activities and organizations. Justin Godart’s centennial volume on the Voraces of Lyon added details on the only paramilitary unit to seize and hold fortifications in February 1848 and act as a semiofficial security force in subsequent months.

Since the centennial, much more work has been done on revolutionary institutions and voluntary associations. Because most of the new institutional and social histories have also focused on Paris, this book attempts to redress the imbalance between the capital and the provinces by providing a modern institutional and social analysis of the Lyonnais revolution. Wherever possible, I have compared Lyonnais clubs, National Workshops, and Voraces not only to the current knowledge of their Parisian counterparts but to the available information on other ~

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