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The Insurgent Barricade

The Insurgent Barricade

Mark Traugott
Copyright Date: 2010
Edition: 1
Pages: 454
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  • Book Info
    The Insurgent Barricade
    Book Description:

    "To the barricades!" The cry conjures images of angry citizens, turmoil in the streets, and skirmishes fought behind hastily improvised cover. This definitive history of the barricade charts the origins, development, and diffusion of a uniquely European revolutionary tradition. Mark Traugott traces the barricade from its beginnings in the sixteenth century, to its refinement in the insurrectionary struggles of the long nineteenth century, on through its emergence as an icon of an international culture of revolution. Exploring the most compelling moments of its history, Traugott finds that the barricade is more than a physical structure; it is part of a continuous insurrectionary lineage that features spontaneous collaboration even as it relies on recurrent patterns of self-conscious collective action. A case study in how techniques of protest originate and evolve,The Insurgent Barricadetells how the French perfected a repertoire of revolution over three centuries, and how students, exiles, and itinerant workers helped it spread across Europe.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-94773-3
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-xviii)
  5. 1 The Insurgent Barricade
    (pp. 1-21)

    In the early morning hours of June 5, 1832, crowds of workers, students, militants, and a scattering of political refugees began to gather in the streets of Paris.¹ The intent of most participants was to express displeasure with the Orléanist July monarchy, which had been installed just two years earlier, though the occasion for their protest was provided by the death of General Jean Maximilien Lamarque. Once a stalwart of the First Empire, this military hero had undergone a political rebirth as an opposition leader in the Chamber of Deputies during the last years of the Bourbon Restoration and the...

  6. 2 The First Barricades
    (pp. 22-51)

    The search for origins comes naturally to historians, presumably because they attach special significance to the logic of temporality. Believing that the course of human affairs is influenced by all that went before, they are inclined to trace events back to the circumstances of their beginning in an effort to understand their import.

    Unfortunately, unraveling the fabric of history runs the risk of disrupting the semblance of coherence it presents to the world. A seemingly straightforward innovation may prove, on inquiry, to have assumed many guises. Each variation has, in turn, multiple points of origin, each with plausible but competing...

  7. 3 The Barricades of the Fronde
    (pp. 52-78)

    If historians have largely overlooked barricade events prior to May 12, 1588, it has been in part because earlier incidents produced no obvious sequel and appeared to be without lasting historical consequence. In contrast, the Day of the Barricades in Paris can be shown to have had a far-reaching impact, both in the capital and beyond. The city registers document what we might call “barricade consciousness”: an emerging awareness on the part of residents of the power that chains, barrels, and paving stones had placed in their hands.

    Over the months that followed the 1588 uprising, Paris was kept on...

  8. 4 The Long-Term Incidence of Barricade Events and the Lost Barricades of the French Revolution
    (pp. 79-92)

    Barricade events are inherently rare. My effort to document all instances of barricade construction over a span of more than three centuries has turned up just 155 such incidents.¹ That total could be viewed as either understating or overstating the actual number of barricade events. On the one hand, I have no illusions that I have managed to uncover every instance of barricade building that took place from the time of the tactic’s origination until the end of the nineteenth century. On the other hand, even this simple tally could be seen as overstating the frequency of the barricade phenomenon,...

  9. 5 Barricades in Belgium, 1787-1830
    (pp. 93-123)

    On September 20, 1787, residents of Brussels rose in protest against the reforming zeal of their ruler, Joseph II of Austria, building barricades and obliging the local garrison to make a forced withdrawal from their city. This blow to the pride of imperial forces was merely the opening salvo in the Belgian people’s arduous forty-year struggle to cast off the yoke of foreign domination and regain their national independence.

    It is impossible to say with utter certainty where or when barricades first appeared outside their country of origin. I can only attest to the fact that by the time they...

  10. 6 The Barricade Conquers Europe, 1848
    (pp. 124-177)

    In late February 1848, Louis-Philippe, who had been brought to power by one popular insurrection, was dethroned by another. The time lapse between the first protests and the king’s abdication—barely forty-eight hours—was even briefer than it had been in 1830. Yet, if we step back from these individual insurrectionary episodes and compare the succession of forms of government in the first half of the nineteenth century with what it had been under the Great Revolution, we might almost say that the pace at which events unfolded was quite deliberate. After all, beginning in 1789, the French had passed...

  11. 7 The Functions of the Barricade
    (pp. 178-224)

    At first glance, it might appear that the function of barricades is straightforward and self-evident: they serve to protect those who build and defend them. A closer examination reveals, however, that barricades can have many purposes other than the provision of physical cover and that the diversity of their functions goes some ways toward explaining why insurgents have turned to them so consistently. We have already observed barricades being used to challenge the legitimacy of the regime in power, delimit the lines of cleavage in society, and define the identity of insurgent groups. It should also be apparent that insurgents...

  12. 8 Barricades and the Culture of Revolution
    (pp. 225-242)

    The previous chapter hinted at the visibility and symbolic power that the nineteenth-century barricade derived from its association with a “revolutionary tradition.” That last phrase may, at first glance, appear to have something of the quality of an oxymoron, since it joins two concepts that are commonly presumed to be polar opposites.¹ On reflection, however, it is evident that even the most radical attempts to do away with every last vestige of the former status quo must confront the need to provide a social movement organization that can coordinate supporters’ activities and give structure to their collective aspirations, since without...

  13. APPENDIX A. Database of European Barricade Events
    (pp. 243-312)
  14. APPENDIX B. Did the Wave of Revolutionism in 1848 Originate in Paris or Palermo?
    (pp. 313-315)
  15. APPENDIX C. The Barricade and Technological Innovations in Transport and Communications
    (pp. 316-318)
  16. NOTES
    (pp. 319-386)
    (pp. 387-416)
  18. INDEX
    (pp. 417-436)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 437-437)