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June Days

June Days, in French history, name usually given to the insurrection of workers in June, 1848. The working classes had played an important role in the February Revolution of 1848, but their hopes for economic and social reform were disappointed. Their increasing unrest was due to continued economic crisis and rising unemployment and to the inadequacy of the national workshops, which, although proposed by Louis Blanc, were never organized as he planned them. Instead of providing work, the workshops became a system of registering the unemployed for a meager dole. When a decree of June 21 abolished the workshops and required unemployed provincials to return to the provinces, the workers revolted to save their "democratic and social republic." There were four days (June 23–26) of violent fighting in the barricaded streets of Paris. General Cavaignac was given dictatorial powers and used harsh measures to suppress the insurrection. There were summary executions and more than 15,000 deportations to Algeria. The June Days further alienated the lower classes from the revolution.

See K. Marx, The Class Struggle in France (1850, repr. 1967); M. Agulhon, The Republican Experiment 1848–1852 (1983)

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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