French Revolution of 1848  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The February 1848 Revolution in France ended the reign of King Louis-Philippe, and led to the creation of the French Second Republic (1848-1852).

The revolution established the principle of the "right to work" (droit au travail), and decided to establish "National Workshops" for the unemployed. At the same time a sort of industrial parliament was established at the Luxembourg Palace, under the presidency of Louis Blanc, with the object of preparing a scheme for the organization of labour. These tensions between liberal Orleanist and Radical Republicans and Socialists would cause the June Days Uprising a few months later.

The Revolutions of 1848 had major consequences for all of Europe: popular democratic revolts against authoritarian regimes broke out in Austria and Hungary, in the German Confederation and Prussia, and in the Italian States of Milan, Venice, Turin and Rome.

The revolution in France had brought together classes of wildly different interests: the bourgeoisie desired electoral reforms (a democratic republic), socialist leaders (like Louis Blanc, Pierre Joseph Proudhon and the radical Louis-Auguste Blanqui) asked for a "right to work" and the creation of national workshops (a social welfare republic) and for France to liberate the oppressed peoples of Europe (Poles and Italians), while moderates (like the aristocrat Alphonse de Lamartine) sought a middle ground. Tensions between groups escalated, and in June 1848, a working class insurrection in Paris cost the lives of 1500 workers and eliminated once and for all the dream of a social welfare constitution.

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