Re-Visiting The Past: June Rebellion (June 5-6, 1832)

June Rebellion (June 5 to 6, 1832)
June Rebellion (June 5 to 6, 1832)

June Rebellion, or better known as the Paris Uprising of 1832 (translated in French as Insurrection republicaine a Paris en 1832) is an anti-monarchist insurrection of Parisian republicans in the year 1832. This type of rebellion originated in the attempt of the republicans to overthrow or reverse the establishment in the year 1830 during the reign of Louis Philippe (July Monarchy of Louis Philippe), shortly after President of the Council Casimir Pierre Perier’s death on the 16th of May 1832. Casimir Pierre Perier was the powerful supporter of the late Louis Philippe. But what really sparked the revolutionaries to rise in their barricades was the death of Jean Maximilien Lamarque (He advocated French support for independence struggles in Poland and Italy. His views were what made him a popular figure.

Jean Maximilien Lamarque
Jean Maximilien Lamarque

Jean Maximilien Lamarque was the leading critic of Louis Philippe’s new constitutional monarchy where he argued that the type of monarchy failed to support human rights and political liberty). His death led to the Parisian June Rebellion of 1832 which provided the background of events depicted in Victor Hugo’s novel, Les Miserables.

July Revolution (1830)
July Revolution (1830)

Way back in the year 1830 (July Revolution) , the elected Chamber of Deputies established a constitutional monarchy and replaced that of Charles X of the House of Bourbon by Louis Philippe who was more liberal. This movement angered the republicans who saw their king being replaced by another. By the year 1832, there were simmering displeasures, strongly coming from among the republicans who felt like they spilled blood on the barricades, only to have their revolution stolen by opportunists who even managed to crown Louis Philippe as king. There were even Bonapartists who lamented the loss of Napoleon’s empire while Legitimists supported the overthrown Bourbon dynasty and sought to place the man whom they regarded as the true king who was the designated successor of Charles, Henri.

Apart from the monarchy, another cause of this rebellion was that there were significant economic problems during the year 1827 to 1832 where people experience food shortages, harvest failures, and increases in the cost of living, thus resulting to discontent throughout the classes. There was also a widespread outbreak of cholera in the spring of 1832 , ending up with a death toll of 18,402 within the city and 100,000 across France, devastating the poor neighbourhoods of Paris.

General Lamarque funeral (As seen in Les Miserables movie)
General Lamarque funeral (As seen in Les Miserables movie)

This epidemic claimed the lives of Prime Minister Casimir Perier on the 16th of May and their hero , General Jean Maximilien Lamarque on the 1st of June. The people who dearly loved Casimir Perier gave him a grand state funeral whereas with Lamarque’s funeral, the revolutionaries took it as an opportunity to stand against the monarchial government, as Hugo had described it in his novel.

Before the death of Casimir Perier and General Jean Lamarque, there had also been two significant rebellion wherein one took place in Lyon in which the workers’ uprising (Canut revolt) resulting from economic hardships occurred in December 1831. This uprising took place when the troops sent in after the members of the local National Guard defected to the rebels. The other rebellion, which occurred in February 1832 , Paris supporters of the Bourbons  – Legitimists or Carlists, attempted to carry off the royal family, which became known as the “conspiracy of rues des Prouvaires”.

Insurrection in France (1832)
Insurrection in France (1832)

After this followed an insurrection where the republicans were led by secret societies and formed the most determined members of their movement wherein they have planned to provoke riots which were similar to those that led to the 1830 July Revolution against the ministers of Charles X, wherein one of the most instrumental was “The Society of the Rights of Man”. This was organized like a group of army , divided into sections of twenty members each (in order to evade the law that forbade the association of more than twenty persons), with a president and vice president for each section. These republican conspirators made their move during the public funeral of General Lamarque on June 5 where groups of demonstrators took charge of the procession and redirected it to the Place de la Bastille , where the Revolution began in 1789.

The Polish, Italian and German refugees reinforced the Parisian workers to gather around where the coffin rested and speeches were made about how Lamarque supported the Polish and Italian liberty which he strongly advocated in months before his death. There was an uproar as a red flag was raised , bearing these words La Liberte ou la Mort (which translates to ‘Liberty or Death’) wherein the crowd broke into disorder and there were exchange of gunshots coming from government troops, despite the Marquis de Lafayette calling everyone to calm down.

This subsequent uprising put the 3,000 rebels in control of the eastern and central districts of Paris, those between Chatelet, Arsenal and Faubourg Saint Antoine for one night wherein cries were heard that rioters would attack at the Tuileries Palace that evening. However, the rebellion failed to spread even further.

During the night of June 5 to 6, 20,000 part time militia of the Paris National Guard were led by about 40,000 regular army troops under Comte de Lobau’s command, occupying the peripheral districts of the capital.The revolutionaries made their stronghold in the historic center of Faubourg Saint Martin, where they built barricades in the narrow streets around Saint Martin and Saint Denis.

However, on the morning of June 6, the last rebels were surrounded at the intersection of rues Saint Martin and Saint Merry wherein Louis Philippe decided to show himself up to confirm that he’s still in control of the capital. Upon his return to Paris, Louis Philippe met up with his ministers and generals at the Tuileries, declaring a military operation, arriving at the area of the uprising.

The final struggle of the rebels came at Cloitre Saint Merry where the fighting still took place until the early evening of June 6, wherein total casualties in the rising reached 800 in which the army and national guard lost (73 killed, 344 wounded) and the rebels (93 killed, 291 wounded).

Image Sources: 

June Rebellion

Jean Maximilien Lamarque

July Revolution (1830)

General Lamarque funeral

Insurrection in France
Les Misérables and the Mysterious French 19th Century

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