Notes from Women and Political Insurgency: France in the Mid-Nineteenth Century by David Barry

p. 51 “The evidence about women arrested in June 1848 confirms in detail what contemporary writers say in general terms about accessory roles, but also reveals that some female participants plated a determined and assertive role … Forty of the 118 women convicted on the list in register F 2585 are known to have plated what may be termed a primary role in the June Days: specifically they built barricades, appeared armed on them, fired on troops from barricades or windows, sounded the alarm by ringing the local steeple bell, and organised the defence of their own quarter, including inciting men to battle. Undoubtedly some of these militant women were acting on political motives, and a few had a past history of insurgency. A 76-year-old veteran of previous revolutions, Veuve Anne-Marie Henry, a retired dressmaker, led women in the fighting on the barricade of Rue des Trois-Couronnes in Belleville. Described by the historian Pierre Dominique as ‘an old virago’, Veuve Henry demanded arms at the Mairie de Belleville with the dry ‘Kill and assassinate’. She threatened to stab those who dismantled the barricades, exclaiming ‘There they are, the brigands who took down the barricade, kill them.’ And declared that, had she had her knife to hand, she would have plunged it into their stomachs. In particular, she designated the home of a chandler named Lhomme for attack. A wood-carver, Elisabeth Guibal, of the Faubourg St Antoine, who had been wonded in the shooting on the Boulevard des Capucines on 23 February, lost her claim to a state pension when it was discovered that during the June Days she had run around the streets carrying a sabre, smashing gunshop windows in order to steal arms. Arrested on 25 June, Guibal was denounced by her whole neighbourhood for being constantly at the barricades of the Faubourg St Antoine, and attempting to terrorize the tenants of the quarter into joining the rebellion by threatening to set their houses on fire. … Augstine Falaise, a young piano-teacher of the Place des Vosges, (then still referred to as the Place Royale) tore up a pavement in the Rue du Temple with her two cousins, in Febrary 1848, for which action they earned the nickname Depauvesues; in June the three women helped erect barricades in the Rue Jarente and Rue du Val Ste Catherine, their radical affiliations leading many later to testify against them. Another woman with a revolutionary past who may well have participated in the June Days before evading arrest and disappearing for two years was Louise Bretagne, the veteran of 1830 and 1832. In 1848 she was living in the Rue Mouffetard and working as a washerwoman and was reported to be very poor and frequently drunk.

p. 57 “Marie Bourgeois, a bandage-maker of Belleville, incited the rebels to hang citizens who were dismantling barricades on 25 June, and offered her garters for that purpose. A rebel woman with a long memory, Veuve Anne Boussery, a 64-year-old costermonger of the Re Basfroid, denounced on 23 June a wallpaper manufacturer named Gillot, who was in dispute with his workforce. She declared that his home should suffer the same fate as that of the manufacturer Reveillon in the 1789 Revolution. Gussery added menacingly: ‘He must be made to eat hay and straw’ and Gillot was subsequently drafted off to the barricades.”
p. 90 The rebellion of December 1851
The rebellion against the coup d’etat found its most powerful expression in the provinces. In the central regions of France and the Midi the rebellion drew in many hundreds of supporters, town halls were captured and armed rebels marched in columns to link up and capture whole districts…. Six departments were affected by rebellion: the Allier, Aube, Oise, Seine-et-Marne, Loiret and Tonne. The background .. was continued rural depression … caused by the overproduction of cereals, with low market prices and rural unemployment … instead of manifesting itself in archaic forms such as tax protests and market riots, political disaffection in the area was channelled into secret societies through the influence of democ-socs…. Of the five women convicted for rebellion in the Loiret, four played primary roles of organisation and two were ringleaders: Suzzanne Jarreau, wife of a farmer, and Victoire Pascal Szanne Jarreau … had carried a red flag in the main square of Batilly … she had advised the posting of sentries outside the mairie and church and had herself designated the men who would perform this duty… she freely admitted what she had done: she freely admitted that she had roused men to defend the constitution, – “We want our rights” – and that she had carried the red flag, which she had made by attaching the counterpane of her bed to a pole. She further admitted to receiving the radical newspaper Le Bien-Etre Unversel, which she had read aloud at her house … deportation to Cayenne was meted out to her in March 1852, one of only two such sentences dispensed to 556 arrested rebels in the Loiret, though her sentence was later commuted to imprisonment at St Lazare.”

p. 110
Proudhon’s contemptuous rejection of feminism and the idea of women’s equality in his De la justice dans la Revolution et dans ‘le’eglise”(1858) had stung a number of women into making spirited replies. Juliette Lamber (Madame Jliette Adam) wrote Idees ant-proudhonniennes sur l’amor, le femme et la marriage in 1858. Jenn d’Hercuourt La Femme affrance in 1860. A young bourgeois republican journalist Maria Deraisimes was moved by the attacks of Barbey d’Aurevilly on bluestockings to participate in Masonic conferences held in 1865, whence she launched out speaking tours calling for female emancipation. In 1869 she published Les Femmes et les moeuurs, calling for equal civil rights. .. Women’s groups are estimated to have participated in 933 public meetings in the last years of the Empire…. Evening classes attracted young schoolteachers such as Loiuse Nichel, who were avid for instruction, and influenced their politics in a radical leftist direction…


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