History of the Paris Commune

History of the Paris Commune

The Paris Commune it was a French insurrectionary government that was formed after the revolution of March 18, 1871 that unseated Napoleon III as head of state of France. Although it did not last long, it can be considered to be a revolutionary attempt by the Parisian working classes that sought to ensure the management of public affairs in a municipal framework without having to resort to a state.

The origins of the Paris Commune they date back to the Second French Empire. Although it is a time when society, in general, lived a period of prosperity, the lower classes suffered considerable misery and oppression. The direct cause of this whole labor movement was in the Franco-Prussian war between 1870 and 1871, especially in the harsh siege of Paris, whose sufferings affected the common people above all. The provisional government, which was to guarantee national defense, capitulated and caused discontent among the 384,000 men who made up 254 battalions of the Parisian national guard.

These facts, added to the certainty that they took a series of unpopular measures, they exasperated the working population that he saw how the great city was humiliated. The humiliation came from two fronts, since, on the one hand, the Germans entered the city in triumph, while on the other, a National Assembly was installed in Versailles formed by a majority of aristocrats and peasants very hostile towards "the red city".

The outbreak of the Parisian insurrection occurred in the early morning of March 18, 1871, when Thiers ordered to withdraw the cannons purchased by subscription from the Parisians. The inhabitants of the city revolted and the central committee of the national guard took control of Paris, while the government retreated in Versailles. A free municipal elections promoted the council to a communal council, baptized as “the commune”In honor of the old form of government that led Paris during the French Revolution of 1789.

The Commune was made up of 90 members who belonged to families of very different ideologies. There were Blanquists, Jacobins, Marxists and independents. This diversity of opinions, added to the few political options that existed and the parallel authority of the central committee of the national guard, gave the Commune a great weakness, since it could not stand firm against the government of Versailles.

Even so, members of the commune were able to carry out various social reforms. But soon, the demands of each group limited these changes considerably. At the same time, various communalist movements were created in the French provinces. The ideas that were defended from the capital gradually permeated Gallic society, although they could not fully develop.

The weakening of the government of the Commune it predicted a speedy defeat at Versailles, since from the end of April 1871 Paris had been surrounded by bayonets. Faced with this threat, the commune was divided and the Jacobin majority tried to impose the formation of a “Public Safety Committee”. However, this measure lacked authority and means to be carried out.

Troops led from Versailles entered the city on May 21. That day began a bloody week, known as “bloody week”, In which both sides committed innumerable excesses. The situation was completely untenable, so the last communalists surrendered on May 28, ending the workers' dream of forming the Paris Commune.

As already mentioned in this article, the “Paris Commune”Was also the name of the municipal government of Paris from 1789 to 1795. On August 10, 1792, the Commune was controlled by a majority of insurgents who participated in the fall of the monarchy. Throughout the French Revolution, it was the fundamental body of government and served to expand an authentic dictatorship in Paris and in the provinces.

During the period of the legislature, the Commune was in favor of Robespierre, while during the Convention it was Hebertist. In both cases, it played an active role in guiding the Revolution of 1789. But the fall of Robespierre caused its members to decimate gradually, as they tried to save the ruthless leader of Terror and they were frowned upon by the society of the time.

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Passionate about History, he has a degree in Journalism and Audiovisual Communication. Since he was a child he loved history and ended up exploring the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries above all.

Video: The Paris Commune The First Communist Revolution ft. JGamer Mapping