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5 - The Saint-Cloud affair and the wages movement

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 September 2012

David Andress
Affiliation:
University of Portsmouth
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Summary

Events during Passion Week were to further expose the fault-lines in the constitutional settlement, and would help to turn radical attitudes toward the authorities from muted hostility to outright opposition. This process, and its impact on popular opinion, was exacerbated by the city's economic difficulties, raising the spectre of famine plot through accusations of official collusion in currency speculation. At the same time, a series of clashes over the control of artisans' work practices set official laissez-faire on the side of former masters, while workers claimed that revolutionary justice and the Rights of Man backed their arguments for regulations and collective bargaining. Outbursts from the population suggested a similar attitude, despite a continuing crackdown in the name of social order, as both indigence and alleged sedition grew through May and June, and attitudes hardened among both moderates and radicals. However, there still remained ambiguities about popular consciousness and activities, underlying this evolving conflict, and becoming crucial in later events.

The Easter crisis

On Palm Sunday, 17 April 1791, perhaps at the very moment that dévotes were being whipped out of the church of the Théatins, Louis XVI gave in to his conscience. In a two-pronged move to preserve his spiritual purity, he took communion at the Tuileries from a ‘real’, non-juring, priest, while making plans to avoid his normal, and more public, Easter communion at St-Germain l'Auxerrois, where he would have had to be served by a juror.

Type
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Massacre at the Champ de Mars
Popular Dissent and Political Culture in the French Revolution
, pp. 109 - 135
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer
Print publication year: 2000

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