L’amnistie des communards. Autour du discours de Léon Gambetta, 21 juin 1880

« . . . Il faut que vous fermiez le livre de ces dix années [. . .] et que vous disiez à tous [. . .] qu’il n’y a qu’une France et qu’une République ». With these words, and to great applause, Léon Gambetta ends his speech in favor of the amnesty of the Communards in the Chambre des députés on 21 June 1880. Voted on in early July, the law allowed the Commune’s last condamnés to return to France. Gambetta’s speech reveals what had transpired since 1871, the circumstances surrounding the vote and its political and symbolic ramifications. At a crucial moment in the construction of the Republic, he expresses the choice which the amnesty then enacts: to forget the Commune, in the name of national reconciliation. In doing so, he unveils the interpretation of the insurgency that the Republicans in government intend to favor. (In French)

Laure Godineau
Université Sorbonne Paris Nord (Paris 13)
Volume 49.3–4