Cette nouvelle transformation du gamin de Paris: the figures of the Mobile Guard and vivandières in popular culture in 1848

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Abstract

Founded in late February 1848, the Mobile Guard (Garde Mobile) was established by the Second Republic as a sort of rapid-response force. Composed largely of young working-class men, the loyalty of the Mobile Guard to the moderate republic remained uncertain until their zealous performance in repressing the Parisian insurrection of June 1848. Though their actions in June earned them the condemnation of many on the left, most notably Marx and Engels, they were showered with accolades and praise by moderate republicans and conservatives, relieved that the Guard had not defected to fight with the insurgents. This article explores representations of the Mobile Guard—and their female colleagues, the vivandières—in popular culture after June 1848. It argues that the widespread promotion and heroicization of the Mobiles—whose working-class roots allowed them to represent the continued commitment of workers to the moderate republic, in spite of the events of June—was part of the Republic's attempt to reassert its unity and strength at a time of crisis. However, the article also addresses the fact that portrayals of these young men and women often unwittingly highlighted the major cracks in the fraternal republican façade.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-361
JournalFrench History
Volume25
Issue number3
Early online date28 Jun 2011
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2011

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