Born June 18, 1828, in Paris; died there May 3, 1897. Figure in the French working-class movement; Proudhonist.
An engraver by trade, Tolain was one of the founders of the First International, and he helped organize its first Paris section. From 1866 to 1869 he took part in the congresses of the First International. Tolain maintained Proudhonist views on all basic questions concerning the policy and tactics of the working class; for example, he rejected political struggle and defended the principle of private property. He was elected to the National Assembly in February 1871. Tolain sided with the enemies of the Commune. In April 1871 he was expelled from the First International. After becoming a senator in 1876, Tolain voted against amnesty for the Communards.