Commune and the beginning of the Republic PDF Print E-mail

Paris Art Studies – September-October 2011

The History of Paris with Chris Boïcos - Architecture, Urbanism, Society - Part 8:

Paris under the Second Empire II (1860-1870), the Commune and the beginning of the Third Republic (1871-1880)



16 Sep.  - Gallery - The End of the Second Empire, 1860-1870.

23 Sep.   - Visit    - The Garnier Opera. Meet on front steps of the Garnier Opera. Métro Opéra (lines 3,7,8)

30 Sep.  - Gallery - The Commune and the beginning of the Third Republic 1871-1880.

  7 Oct.    -Visit    -  Musée d’Orsay. Impressionist painting.

            Meet in front of group entrance B. Métro Solférino (line 12) or RER C Musée d’Orsay.

                         Please bring for your 9,50 € ticket .

14 Oct.   - Visit    - Haussmann’s Paris: From Sainte Trinité to St Augustin.

                               Meet in small park in front of church of Ste Trinité. Metro Ste Trinité (line12)

21 Oct.   - Visit    - Musée Jacquemart André – house and permanent collections.

                                    Meet museum entrance 158, boulevard Haussmann 75008. Métro Miromesnil (lines 9,13)



The Commune and the beginning of the Third Republic 1870-1879:


1870 – 19 July: France declares war on Prussia. 2 September: Napoleon III capitulates and is made prisoner at Sedan. 4 September: National Assembly in Paris deposes Emperor and declares a Republic. Prussian troops reach Paris and lay siege to the city from 19 Sep. until Jan 28 1871.


January: Proclamation of the German Empire (Kaiserlich Deutsches Reich) in the Hall of Mirrors in Versailles on the 18th.

February: Legislative elections in France bring in a Royalist majority at national assembly. Adolphe Thiers (historian, minister and leader of the liberal opposition under the 2nd Empire) is named at the head of a government of national unity. Negotiates peace with Germany.

March: The national assembly moves from Bordeaux to Versailles. On the 17 th declaration of a Paris Commune. Soldiers sent to Paris to confiscate canon end up fraternizing with the rebels. Two government generals, Lecomte and Thomas are shot by the Communards. Thiers and his ministers flee to Versailles. The Commune troops, the National Guard control Paris. On the 26th election of a Commune government in Paris. Napoleon III is liberated and joins Eugénie in Chislehurst in England.

During its brief existence the commune adopts the old Revolutionary calendar (of 1792), uses the red flag, rather than the tricolor, proclaims the separation of church and state, and encourages workers to take over business abandoned by their owners.

April: On the 3rd the Communards attempt a sortie against the government soldiers (“Versaillais”) but are stopped on Mont Valerien.

May: On the 10th Thiers signs peace treaty with Germany. France cedes Alsace and a portion of Lorraine and promises to pay an indemnity of 5 billion gold francs. 22-28 May is “Bloody Week”, the Versaillais troops enter Paris, widespread destruction and massacres follow. Figures are still controversial, 20 000 Communards may have been executed and 7 500 jailed or deported.

1872 – Thiers declares in the assembly his support for the Republic provoking the indignation of the Royalists.

1873 – Death of Napoleon III in Chislehurst following a bladder operation. The assembly votes against Thiers, who resigns and is replaced by general Mac-Mahon and the duc de Broglie at the head of the government. German troops leave France after final payment of war indemnity. Despite his royalist sympathies, Mac-Mahon does not openly defy the Republic. Stock market crash, beginning of six years of depression. Beginning of building of Sacré Coeur on Montmartre by Paul Abadie.

1874 – First Impressionist Exhibition in April at Nadar’s studio 35, blvd des Capucines in Paris. Berthe Morisot marries Eugène Manet.

1875 – Various constitutional amendments reinforce the Republican nature of the regime. Inauguration of new Paris Opera by Charles Garnier.

1876 – Republicans gain more votes, Mac-Mahon is obliged to admit them into the government. Jules Simon replaces Broglie. Second Impressionist exhibition.

1877 – Mac-Mahon after a disagreement over religious policy sacks Simon and calls back Broglie. 363 deputies protest, the Chamber is dissolved and the Republicans win the new elections. Mac-Mahon refuses to stage a coup d’état and accepts a Republican government. Third Impressionist exhibition, Mary Cassatt is invited to participate by Degas. Death of Courbet.

1878 – First Paris World’s Fair under the Third Republic, building of Palais de Chaillot by Davioud.

1879 – Republican triumph in senatorial elections. Mac-Mahon resigns and is replaced by Jules Grévy. The Third Republic is now secure. Death of Camille Monet in Vétheuil.




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