Revolution of Sept. 4, 1870

Revolution of Sept. 4, 1870


a bourgeois-democratic revolution in France, which toppled the Second Empire and instituted a republic. The discontent that led to the revolution stemmed from the prolonged crisis of the Bonaparte regime and the defeat of the French armies in the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71). The revolution broke out as a result of the report of the capitulation of the French armies and the capture of Emperor Napoleon III at Sedan on Sept. 2, 1870.

On September 4, the workers of Paris, headed by the Blanquists, burst into the Palais Bourbon and forced the Corps Législatif to depose Napoleon III and thus put an end to the Bonaparte dynasty. The people were successful in declaring a republic in spite of the bourgeois deputies, who, content with the deposition of Napoleon III, sought to avoid establishing a new regime. The new republic was proclaimed by J. Favre at the Hôtel de Ville on the very day of the revolution. However, lack of experience and organization on the part of the proletarian forces enabled the reactionary bourgeoisie to take advantage of the workers’ victory and usurp power; the bourgeoisie formed a government that was dominated by right-wing republicans and Orléanists and that excluded representatives of revolutionary democracy.

The Revolution of Sept. 4, 1870, the fourth bourgeois revolution in French history, led to the establishment of the Third Republic. The workers of Paris played the decisive role in the revolution.


Marx, K. Grazhdanskaia voina vo Frantsii. In K. Marx and F. Engels. Soch 2nd ed., vol. 17.
Zhelubovskaia, E. A. Krushenie Vtoroi imperii i vozniknovenie Tret’ei respubliki vo Frantsii. Moscow, 1956.
Istoriia Frantsii, vol. 2. Moscow, 1973. Pages 390–97.


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