(national workshops), public organizations created to provide work for the unemployed in France during the 18th and 19th centuries. The first national workshops were set up 1786; more were organized in 1788 and between 1789 and 1791. They were revived after the February Revolution of 1848.
Quasimilitary in structure, the workshops offered employment in nonproductive capacities. The provisional government during 1848 hoped to alleviate unemployment through national workshops and to use those employed there against the revolutionary workers. When it became clear that these plans could not succeed, it was decided on June 22, 1848, to close some of the national workshops, which at that time employed more than 100, 000 people, and to either mobilize the workers into the army or transport them to the provinces as manual laborers. This decision gave impetus to the June uprising of 1848, which was brutally suppressed. On July 3, 1848, the national workshops were disbanded.