February Revolution

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February Revolution,

1917, in Russian history: see The February Revolution under Russian RevolutionRussian Revolution,
violent upheaval in Russia in 1917 that overthrew the czarist government. Causes

The revolution was the culmination of a long period of repression and unrest.
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.

February Revolution,

1848, French revolution that overthrew the monarchy of Louis PhilippeLouis Philippe
, 1773–1850, king of the French (1830–48), known before his accession as Louis Philippe, duc d'Orléans. The son of Philippe Égalité (see Orléans, Louis Philippe Joseph, duc d'), he joined the army of the French Revolution,
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 and established the Second Republic. General dissatisfaction resulted partly from the king's increasingly reactionary policy, carried out after 1840 by François GuizotGuizot, François
, 1787–1874, French statesman and historian. The son of a Protestant family of Nîmes, he was educated at Geneva. He began a legal career in Paris in 1805, but soon took up literary work and later became a professor of modern history at the
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, and partly from the poor conditions of the working class, which were intensified by the economic crisis of 1846–47. A banquet campaign, organized to promote political opposition to the regime, led directly to the revolution when a huge banquet scheduled for Feb. 22, 1848, in Paris was forbidden by the government. On Feb. 22 street fighting began in Paris; on Feb. 23, in an incident that set off the revolution, government troops fired on the demonstrators. Louis Philippe abdicated the following day. The discrepancy of aims between bourgeois revolutionaries such as Alphonse de LamartineLamartine, Alphonse Marie Louis de
, 1790–1869, French poet, novelist, and statesman. After a trip to Italy and a brief period in the army, Lamartine began to write and achieved immediate success with his first publication, Méditations poétiques (1820).
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 and A. T. MarieMarie, Alexandre Thomas
, 1795–1870, French minister of public works. He served in the revolutionary provisional government of 1848 and in the executive committee that replaced it (Apr., 1848).
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 and the radicals, led by Louis BlancBlanc, Louis
, 1811–82, French socialist politician and journalist and historian. In his noted Organisation du travail (1840, tr. Organization of Work,
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, contributed to the eventual failure of the revolution. The chamber of deputies appointed a provisional government, including Lamartine, Alexandre Ledru-RollinLedru-Rollin, Alexandre Auguste
, 1807–74, French politician. A lawyer, he first became known as a radical opponent to the accession (1830) of Louis Philippe and the defender of the journalists.
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, and L. A. Garnier-PagèsGarnier-Pagès, Louis Antoine
, 1803–78, French politician. Becoming active in politics after his brother's death, he was elected (1842) to the chamber of deputies.
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, and, under popular pressure, proclaimed a republic. To appease the workers, the government guaranteed the right to work and established the national workshops. The workshops took their name from Louis Blanc's social workshops. The plan was mishandled, however, and amounted to little more than a dole. Radical demonstrations erupted (March), but these were turned into peaceful channels by Blanc himself. Many conservatives feared the "specter of communism." Elections in April gave a majority to the moderates, whose strength was greater in the provinces than in Paris. The provisional government was replaced by an executive commission (again including Lamartine and Ledru-Rollin). In the middle of May the workers attempted to overthrow the newly elected national assembly, but the revolt was quickly put down. The assembly determined to dissolve the national workshops. The resulting workers' rebellion, known as the June DaysJune 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.
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, was crushed. After the completion of a republican constitution Prince Louis Napoleon (later Napoleon IIINapoleon III
(Louis Napoleon Bonaparte), 1808–73, emperor of the French (1852–70), son of Louis Bonaparte (see under Bonaparte, family), king of Holland. Early Life
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) was elected president. The February revolution set off revolutions in most European nations, but, as in France, the movement failed virtually everywhere (see revolutions of 1848revolutions of 1848,
in European history. The February Revolution in France gave impetus to a series of revolutionary explosions in Western and Central Europe. However the new French Republic did not support these movements.
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).

Bibliography

See A. de Tocqueville, Recollections (new tr. 1970); studies by D. C. McKay (1933, repr. 1965) and G. Duveau (1965, tr. 1968).