Lyon Rebellions of 1831 and 1834

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Lyon Rebellions of 1831 and 1834


the first independent armed actions of the French proletariat, provoked by the difficult position of the workers and minor artisans employed in the silk-weaving industry in the city of Lyon.

The 1831 uprising began on November 21 in connection with the refusal of the manufacturers to accept the new, higher rates for the weaving workers that had been agreed upon by a combined commission of owners and weavers. The rebels’ slogan was “Live working, or die fighting!” On November 23 the government troops, which had been routed in battle, were forced to abandon the city; however, stronger military units entered Lyon on December 1–3 and suppressed the uprising.

The cause of the uprising of 1834 (which began on April 9) was the ratification by the Chamber of Deputies of a bill prohibiting workers’ associations and the subsequent reprisals of the authorities against the participants in a strike in Lyon in February 1834. The United Committee (which consisted of representatives of the Society of the Rights of Man and Citizen and other republican-democratic organizations), headed by C. Lagrange, led the rebellion. The uprising bore an openly republican character and was directed at achieving democratic freedoms and defending the rights of the workers. Because of insufficient organization of the rebels, tactical errors of the leadership, and the enormous superiority of the forces of the government troops, the rebellion was cruelly suppressed on Apr. 15, 1834. It had great influence on the development of the revolutionary struggle of the French proletariat. Revolutionary outbreaks occurred in St. Etienne, Grenoble, Paris, Arbois, and certain other cities in April 1834; they were also suppressed by government troops.

Despite the defeat, the Lyon rebellions of 1831 and 1834 had great historical significance. From the time of the Lyon rebellions and Chartism, F. Engels pointed out, “the class struggle between proletariat and bourgeoisie came to the front in the history of the most advanced countries in Europe” (K. Marx and F. Engels, Soch., 2nd ed., vol. 19, p. 208).


Potemkin, F. V. Lionskie vosstaniia 1831 i 1834 gg. Moscow, 1937.
Potemkin, F. V. Promyshlennaia revoliutsiia vo Frantsii, vol. 2. Moscow, 1971. Chapter 29.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.