Paris Uprising of 1357–58

Paris Uprising of 1357–58

 

(in some sources, 1356–58), a popular uprising in Paris, triggered by the sharp deterioration of living conditions during the Hundred Years’ War (1337–1453), and primarily by rising taxes.

Dissatisfaction with the Paris government increased after the French defeat at Poitiers in 1356. The Estates General was convened in 1356 by the dauphin Charles, who wanted money to continue the war and to ransom the imprisoned French king, John II. Representatives of the townspeople demanded that the Estates General be given control over the government. In addition, they called for the introduction of an income tax, to be levied even on the aristocracy. The opposition was led by Etienne Marcel, provost (elder) of the merchants of Paris.

Dissolving the Estates General without having obtained subsidies, the dauphin Charles resorted to debasing the currency. As a result, disturbances broke out in the capital in February-March 1357. Reconvened in February 1357, the Estates General, in which a leading role was played by the Parisian elite under Marcel’s leadership, drew up the Great March Ordinance, demanding that the Estates General play a role in governing the country. The ordinance also called for convening the Estates General in regular (biannual) sessions for consultation on important affairs of state and for supervision of taxation, expenditures, the king’s council, and the army. The dauphin’s opposition to these demands caused an uprising in which broad strata of the Parisian population participated. Led by Marcel, the insurgents captured the royal palace on Feb. 22, 1358, killing two of the dauphin’s closest advisers. Marcel became the de facto ruler of the city. The dauphin escaped from the capital, began to assemble forces to put down the insurrection, and issued an edict cutting off the supply of food to Paris.

Popular dissatisfaction with Marcel, the representative of the interests of the richest townspeople, increased steadily. The uprising did not receive any support from other towns. Marcel attempted to advance the interests of the merchant class by obtaining the support of the Jacquerie. Hoping to achieve an alliance with the townspeople, the peasants helped disrupt the food blockade imposed on Paris. However, contrary to the peasants’ expectations, the Parisians did not offer them any help in return. The Jacquerie was crushed, facilitating the defeat of the Paris Uprising. The urban elite, fearing the outbreak of even greater riots, opened the gates of the city to the dauphin and his army. Thus, the Paris Uprising came to an end in July 1358. Marcel was killed by one of his followers.

REFERENCES

Pumpianskii, S. M. “Vosstanie E. Marselia. …” Uch. zap. Saratovskogo gos. un-ta, 1947, vol. 17.
Istoriia Frantsii, vol. 1. Moscow, 1972. Chapter 3.

M. M. SEBENTSOVA

Mentioned in ?