Friday, November 18, 2011

Anniversary of Révolte des Canuts

November 21st is the 170th anniversary of the Révolte des Canuts in Lyon, France.  The silk weavers of Lyon (called canuts) rose up against the tarif, or fixed minimum rate for finished cloth. Following salary decreases, the tarif was negotiated between manufacturers of silk, foremen, and silk weavers in October of 1831.  However, most of the manufacturers refused to apply it.  

On November 21, 1831, over a thousand silk workers and their supporters revolted against the manufacturers in all districts of Lyon.  The insurgents held Lyon for three days and captured the arsenal of the National Guard.  The battle turned violent, with over 200 civilians and 75 soldiers killed.  The workers’ victory was short-lived as Louis Philippe sent his son, the Duke of Orleans, and the Minister of War, Marshal Soult, along with an army of 30,000 with orders to dissolve the collective of workers, cancel the tarif, and disarm the population.  While the workers did not immediately achieve their desired outcome, this was an important event which created worker solidarity and led to stronger organization and support in fighting for future labor laws.

Primary Sources:

Chevalier, Michel. Evénemens de Lyon. [Paris]: Everat, imprimeur, 1831. (Extracted from the Le Globe, the main Saint-Simonian newspaper, Oct. 31- Dec. 27, 1831.  Includes letters by Francois and Peiffer, chefs de l'eglise saint-simonienne de Lyon.) Special Collections D385 .C44 1831. 

Cours de theorie de la fabrication d'étoffes de soie deLyon dirigé par Messieurs Martin et Faure suivi par Rivoire Adrien. (manuscript treatise on the history and weaving of silk, with hundreds of silk samples attached, circa 1860.) Special Collections - Manuscript Collection. M1834 & M1834 FLAT BOX 1.

L'écho de la fabrique. Lyon: De l'imprimerie de Charvin, 1831. (A labor newspaper dedicated to silk manufacturing and related industries.  It was published from 1831-1835.)  Special Collections – Rare Book Collection. DC801 .L96 E3 1831-1832. *Also available full-text online.
See also Frobert, L., & Beecher, J. (2010). L'écho de la fabrique : naissance de la presse ouvrière à Lyon, 1831-1834. Lyon: ENS.

1 comment:

CosmeticSurgeonBangalore said...

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Sarah Sussman, curator of French and Italian Collections