University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Violence and Conflict Graduate Workshop, Faculty of History > Burying the Violent Ones: Radical Funerals in France's Early Third Republic

Burying the Violent Ones: Radical Funerals in France's Early Third Republic

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Building on existing research of the grand funerals staged as patriotic and republican festivals during the Third Republic, this paper will examine the events surrounding the deaths of those who represented the more radical and violent heritage of this movement. In particular, I will emphasize the contrast between the eulogies given at the funerals of two prominent figures on the far left: Fran├žois-Vincent Raspail (1878) and Louis-Auguste Blanqui (1881).

Invited to give the official oration at Raspail’s grave, the socialist Louis Blanc paid tribute to Raspail for taking up arms when conditions had made this absolutely necessary. However, he also reminded the crowd that it was only because of the struggle and sacrifice of this earlier generation of radicals – Raspail one of its heroes – that the left was now able to rely on more peaceful methods of political dissent. In complete contrast, Louise Michel (“The Red Angel”) centred her grave-side speech on Blanqui’s long years of suffering and unwavering dedication to social revolution. She characterized his legacy as arms left to a movement, now honour-bound, to carry on the struggle.

This talk is part of the Violence and Conflict Graduate Workshop, Faculty of History series.

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