June Days of 1848

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

June Days of 1848


an armed mass uprising of Parisian workers (June 23–26, 1848), “the first great civil war between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie” (V. I. Lenin, Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed. vol. 38, p. 305). It was a response to the attack of a bourgeois reaction seeking to deprive the workers of the democratic rights and liberties they had won as a result of the February Revolution of 1848.

Uprisings at the end of April in Rouen, Elbeuf, and Limoges, the May 15 demonstration in Paris, the rebellion of June 22–23 in Marseille, and other expressions of popular unrest preceded the June Days. The immediate cause of the uprising was the governmental order to close the national workshops (in which more than 100, 000 men were employed at the time), send into the army unmarried men between the ages of 18 and 25, who would be put out of work as a result, and dispatch the other men to agricultural work in the provinces. The government’s provocative policy aroused the workers’ indignation. On June 23 the Parisian workers went out on the barricades. The rebellion embraced the working-class districts of the eastern and northeastern parts of Paris and of its suburbs, including Mont-martre, La Chapelle, La Villette, Belleville, Menilmontant, and Ivry. The number of insurgents was 40, 000–45, 000 (60, 000, according to another source). The leadership of the armed struggle was provided by “brigadiers” and “delegates” of the national workshops, participants of political clubs, and commanders of detachments of the national guard from working-class suburbs and faubourgs (J. L. Defer, P. de Flotte, L. Pujol, and A. Lege-nissel). The lack of a common coordinating center and the poor communications between the detachments of insurgents from the various districts hindered realization of a general plan for offensive operations worked out by the officer J. Kersausie, who was a participant in the July Revolution of 1830. The insurgents demanded the arrest of members of the government, a fight against unemployment, and preservation of the national workshops, and they advanced the proletarian slogans “Long Live the Democratic and Social Republic,” “Down With the Republic of Capital and Privilege,” and the “Right to Work.” A list of members of the future government was compiled that included L. A. Blanqui, F. V. Raspail, A. Barbes, A. Albert [Albert l’Ouvrier], and several other prominent revolutionaries. (At that time the majority of them were in prison.) Frightened by the scale of the rebellion, the National Assembly on June 24 invested the minister of war, General L. E. Cavaignac, with dictatorial powers. From the provinces troops were summoned to Paris, the arrival of which gave the government a tremendous advantage over the insurgent workers. On June 26 the rebellion was suppressed with extreme severity. One of the most important reasons for its failure was that the peasantry and petite bourgeoisie did not support the Parisian workers, believing to be true the slanderous statements of the counterrevolutionaries that the workers of Paris were the initiators of new financial burdens, in particular the introduction of the 45-centime tax. Workers’ demonstrations of solidarity with the insurgents occurred only in some big industrial cities, such as Amiens, Dijon, and Bordeaux. K. Marx and F. Engels, in the Neue Rheinische Zeitung, exposed the slanderous fabrications of the reactionary press regarding the insurgents, emphasizing the great historical significance of the uprising. The June Days were the highest point of development of the Revolution of 1848–49 in Europe. They contributed to the growth of class consciousness among the proletariat. The suppression of the upsurge strengthened the bourgeois counterrevolution in France and in several other countries.


Marx, K. “Iiun’skaia revoliutsiia,” in K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 5.
Marx, K. “Klassovaia bor’ba vo Frantsii s 1848 po 1850 g.” Ibid., vol. 7.
Engels, F. “Podrobnosti sobytii 23 iiunia.” Ibid., vol. 5.
Engels, F. “23 iiunia.” Ibid., vol. 5.
Engels, F. “Iiun’skaia revoliutsiia.” Ibid., vol. 5.
Lenin, V. I. “Iz kakogo klassovogo istochnika prikhodiat i ‘pridut’ Kaven’iaki?” Poln. sobr. soch., 5th ed., vol. 32.
Molok, A. I. Iiun’skie dni 1848 g. v Parizhe. Moscow, 1948.
Tersen, E. “Juin 48.” La Pensee, 1948., no. 19.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In contrast, the epidemic of 1849 followed the decisive crushing of popular insurrection in the June Days of 1848, the consolidation of a conservative French republic increasingly dominated by politicians with monarchist sympathies, and the failure of revolution throughout Europe.