A History of the Paris Commune of 1871 or the Fourth French Revolution

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The Paris Commune, AKA the Fourth French Revolution, was a socialist government that governed France from the 18th of March to the 28th of May in 1871. The French Commune rose from the ashes of the Franco—Prussian war, when multiple revolts destroyed France’s frayed political unityl Rallying under the slogan ”In Republique démocratique et social”, the democratic and social republic, they pushed through many new reforms, considering the short time of their existence, before being squashed by French regulars.  After France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian War, the nation was gripped by class revolts. In Paris and Lyon, the Canut Revolts protested wage decreases in the silk weaving industry. This discontent quickly spread to other industries and in an effort to escape unfair rule, Paris successfully petitioned to govern itself, a right that was enjoyed by many smaller cities but had been denied to Paris because of its rowdy population.

Because France believed in a democratic republic, they allowed Parisians to vote on their own government The Paris Commune was elected to become the first city council of Paris, but its power quickly spread to encompass all of France. Once the Paris Commune had control of the entire nation, and had the support of the National Guard, it instituted a marvelous amount of reform for workers and lower-class citizens. The Paris Commune adopted a policy of disestablishment, abolished night work for all Parisian bakeries, granted a pension to the unmarried partners and children of National Guard members who were killed in active duty, mandated the free return of all workman’s tools from pawn shops, postponed commercial debt obligations, and gave workers to take over and operate businesses if abandoned by the rightful owner.

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A History of the Paris Commune of 1871 or the Fourth French Revolution. (2023, Apr 15). Retrieved from


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