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émigré(āmēgrā`), in French history, a refugee, usually royalist, who fled the French Revolution and took up residence in a foreign land. The émigrés comprised all classes, but were disproportionately drawn from the privileged. Immediately after the fall of the Bastille (1789), the exodus of the princes of the blood began, and successive waves of emigration took place after that date. King Louis XVILouis XVI,
1754–93, king of France (1774–92), third son of the dauphin (Louis) and Marie Josèphe of Saxony, grandson and successor of King Louis XV. In 1770 he married the Austrian archduchess Marie Antoinette.
..... Click the link for more information. himself tried to flee (1791) France but was arrested at Varennes. Many of the émigrés gathered about Prince Louis Joseph de Condé (see under CondéCondé
, family name of a cadet branch of the French royal house of Bourbon. The name was first borne by Louis I de Bourbon, prince de Condé, 1530–69, Protestant leader and general.
..... Click the link for more information. , family) and the king's brother, the comte d'Artois (later King Charles XCharles X,
1757–1836, king of France (1824–30); brother of King Louis XVI and of King Louis XVIII, whom he succeeded. As comte d'Artois he headed the reactionary faction at the court of Louis XVI.
..... Click the link for more information. ), to form a counterrevolutionary army to restore the old regime. In Oct., 1792, the Convention, a Revolutionary national assembly, decreed the confiscation of their property and their perpetual banishment. After 1802, Napoleon permitted the émigrés to return to France, with restrictions. Many rose to power in the empire. With the restoration of the monarchy (1814) the rest of them returned and became a powerful reactionary group opposing the moderate policies of King Louis XVIIILouis XVIII,
1755–1824, king of France (1814–24), brother of King Louis XVI. Known as the comte de Provence, he fled (1791) to Koblenz from the French Revolution and intrigued to bring about foreign intervention against the revolutionaries.
..... Click the link for more information. . The comte d'Artois favored them, and when he ascended the throne (1824) a law was passed indemnifying the nobility for their confiscated estates. This pro-émigré (or, more properly, ultraroyalist) legislation helped to bring about the July Revolution of 1830 against Charles X. The term émigré has subsequently been applied to refugees from any revolution.
See D. Greer, The Incidence of the Emigration during the French Revolution (1951, repr. 1966), M. Weiner, The French Exiles, 1789–1815 (1960).
émigréa person living in enforced exile from his or her native country
a citizen who voluntarily or under compulsion leaves his own country for political, economic, religious, or other reasons to settle in another country.
Emigration does not automatically entail the loss of one’s citizenship; this question is resolved according to the legislation of the émigré’s country of citizenship. Emigrés who have lost their citizenship and have not acquired a new citizenship become stateless persons. Political émigrés generally enjoy the right of asylum. States may permit citizenship to be restored, on easier terms than would otherwise be the case, to émigrés who have lost it. The procedure by which an émigré obtains citizenship in his country of residence is determined by its code of laws.
In capitalist countries in the imperialist period emigration has become widespread among the working people, many of whom have been forced to leave their motherland in search of work. Emigres in this category are placed in a particularly difficult situation: they do not possess all the rights of the citizens of the state in which they live, and they perform, as a rule, especially hard work, for which they receive lower wages than do citizens. They live in worse housing, and many of the social insurance laws and unemployment benefits do not apply to them. The elimination of discrimination against immigrant workers is an important demand of the Communist parties of the capitalist countries.