Why My Historical Favorite Is A Little-Known French Revolutionary

Why My Historical Favorite Is A Little-Known French Revolutionary

Charles Jeanne and the June Rebellion
226
views

Note: Cover Photo is of the Barricade site today on the corners of the Rue Saint-Martin and Rue Saint-Merri

In the list of all my favorite historical figures some big names pop up- Kosciuszko, Lech Walesa, Charles Sumner, William Wilberforce… somewhere down the list a more unfamiliar name arises “Charles Jeanne.”

Although his name and the June Rebellion may not ring a bell, I’m sure Les Miserables will.

The events that this historical figure influenced are in fact pretty well-known and changed the course of French History. There is more though that makes Charles Jeanne is one of my favorite historical people whom I wish more people would know about.

1. Tears of Rage

The raw emotion Charles Jeanne displayed in his letter that portrayed the fight on the barricade brings history to life before the reader’s eyes. He mentioned “tears of rage” at the injustices he saw, and weeping on the barricade for the future of France. He wrote about his feelings when the king violated the Constitution as "July 1830, a Bourbon dared to violate the Charer, my heart responded with a cry of joy to the cry of sorrow and indignation which all of France gave forth.

I saw the birth of the dawn of Liberty" The wording in this entire letter is very vivid whether read in French or English.
He mentioned the pain he felt when he was wounded, and the emotional pain when he was betrayed to the enemy troops by somebody he thought he could trust. He would have been a great French Resistance intelligence agent, able to detect by the tone of a spy’s voice that he was the enemy.


2. My One Desire- Liberty

Those familiar with Les Miserables may see some strong parallels between Charles Jeanne and Enjolras. Although there are some differences between the circumstances of Charles Jeanne, and Enjolras, and their personalities are a bit different, it is a strong possibility that Hugo took the barricade descriptions from Charles Jeanne’s letter. The events depicted are very similar, and Enjolras in the book mentions Charles Jeanne and the church bell he rang.

Charles Jeanne devoted his whole life to a simple cause “the dream of my every moment was the liberty of my homeland.” He suffered through a great disappointment- the 1830 Rebellion was supposed to bring about a Republic again, but another king took the throne of France. Louis Phillippe was a bit more “democratic” compared to the other monarchs, but nonetheless was still an authoritarian ruler. The French Monarchy was set up in an authoritarian structure. Before the French Revolution of 1789, it was assumed that the king was "divinely ordained by God" this left very little room for dissent. Napoleon Bonaparte as well had a very strong authoritarian structure, and the kings under the resturation although "more democratic" were still not true democratic rulers. Charles Jeanne mentioned how hopeless he felt upon seeing France again in the hands of a monarch. It is important to note eventually the monarchy did fall and France is a republic today. This did not happen overnight, but happened through the persistance of the people.

3. He literally feared nothing…

Whether it was a last ditch charge against the French National Guard (and surprisingly the revolutionaries won that round!), tearfully refuting the king’s lies in front of everybody, defending the republic at a time others compromised or facing death for a cause- the right of the people to be heard.

Charles Jeanne put the idea of the people first, and the ideals of democracy and freedom. He wrote "may I live long enough to see liberty crush beneath her feet the worm eaten thrones of despotism." He was for the right of the people to have a representative government, and opposed to the long tradition of kings doing whatever they pleased. Louis Phillippe was a "constitutional monarch" but France has had a bad history even with constitutional monarchy. They attempted one right before the main French Revolution, but it resulted in a failure for the monarchy to be able to balance their power. Tradition proved stronger than the Constitution, and called for a new form of government. A Republic places checks on the governing authorities. A Constitutional Monarchy in theory has checks, and has worked in some parts of the world. However in French history, a Constitutional Monarchy didn't work.


4. Tearing off his medal

Nope, not tired of the stories yet. This is why I love history, the little stories like this. There was more to it than just a fit of rage, it was deeply symbolic.
At the end of the 1830 Rebellion, the victor (our buddy Louis Phillippe) gave specific revolutionaries prestigious honors. Charles Jeanne was one of these revolutionaries. Of course, when Louis Phillippe became a monarch the republicans (including Charles Jeanne) felt like the revolution was stolen from them. Jeanne in front of the king in 1832 trial for the rebellion tore off the medal and hurled it to the king’s feet and had a basic “here I stand!” moment. Pretty awesome right? This actually happened. The whole trail transcript was anything but boring. Revolutionaries were forced to acknowledge the king's view, and Charles Jeanne openly cried for all the lives lost. I thank a few tumblr posts that highlighted this incident as what propelled me to find the actual records and yep, its all true!


5. He Had a Really Interesting Life

If you aren’t intrigued yet, this is the story about an idealist who was solely devoted to making France a republic. What is France today? A republic. He was familiar with the French Revolution of 1789, and how it failed allowing Napoleon Bonaparte and later the Bourbons to take the throne again. He fought in the 1830 Rebellion, seeing his own friends die, only to have another king take the throne of France. In 1832 he led a barricade and wrote a detailed and gripping account of the fighting to his sister. This is a factual account but also is full of emotion and life.

This account even highlights the unknown and unethical things Louis Phillippe, the “democratic king” of France’s troops did- such as killing people in an apartment building by the barricades because they may have supported the rebellion, or forcing revolutionaries to lie about the events.

He stood his ground and remained true to his moral compass. There are many admirable people in history, and Charles Jeanne is one of them. He had his faults, he had his strengths but overall he had a very interesting life and was one of the major leaders of the June Rebellion, the very rebellion depicted in Les Miserables. I hope these little tidbits inspire you to read Charles Jeanne’s letter which is available in English online, and of course the original French.





Many people forget about this era of French History, but I think its just as rich and interesting as the main French Revolution. Betrayals, passion, and worldviews clashing all add up to make this period very turbulent and fast-moving for the reader.

Charles Jeanne's letter was more than just a good primary source, it was very human revealing the depths of his thoughts and emotions during the fighting. It also displays a sense of justice, and a desire to see all human living in liberty. This is what makes Charles Jeanne one of my favorite historical figures.

Sources:

For those interested in learning more, the letter to Charles Jeanne's sister is included here in English

chanvrerie, accessed November 2 2017

https://chanvrerie.net/history/june-1832/


The book (in French) is here

Bouchet, Thomas (Editor) https://www.amazon.fr/heures-serons-morts-barricad...

Cover Image Credit: Emily Hausheer

Popular Right Now

10 Abnormally Normal Things About College

Some stuff just doesn't fly in the real world.
117875
views

College is a weird, weird place. For whatever reason, the young adults who are supposed to be cultivating their minds with all of the worldly knowledge available to them, seem to get away with quite a bit using the justification "it's college." Even the best students live abnormally while on the alien planet that is a university. So, while to us college students it may just seem like another day, here are ten things that are only normal in college.

1. Straight up theft.

In the future, if I walk into my forty-something-year-old neighbor's home and see a collection of stolen signs, stuff from the local restaurant, and property from the construction site down the road, I would definitely be concerned about the character of my neighbor. However, in college, people proudly display campus signs, traffic cones, or dining hall napkin dispensers that they have impressively commandeered - it's a cheap decoration and a great conversation starter.

2. All-nighters.

Maybe with the exception of parents of little babies, very few people willingly stay up for close to 24 hours on end. In the real world, if a friend came to you and said that they literally did not sleep the previous night, it's completely logical to be worried. On the other hand, when a friend in college says that he was up all night you laugh a little, give him an understanding pat on the back, and walk with him to the coffee line.

3. Atrocious eating habits.

Sometimes you don't have time to eat. Sometimes you order pizza at 2 in the morning. Sometimes you eat three dinners. Sometimes you diet. All I can say, is thank goodness that our metabolisms are decently high at this age.

4. Breaking and entering.

In high school, you hopefully knew everyone who entered your home. After college, hopefully, that's still the case. However, when you live in the middle of thousands of bored college students, people knock at your door, walk into parties, cut through your yard, and stop by without invitation or hesitation. It keeps life fun, but still not normal.

5. Calling mom when stuff goes down.

I really doubt a time will ever come that I don't need to call my mom for guidance on how to do something. But, hopefully the frequency of those calls with go down a little bit post-graduation. Maybe after four years of doing it on my own, I'll know how to fill out government forms, cook real dinners, and get stains out. But for now, I'm going to keep calling while I still can without seeming totally pathetic.

6. Being intoxicated at weird times.

Drunk at noon on a Friday is the quintessence of an alcoholic at any time - unless it's college. Not that this is necessarily a good thing, and it certainly doesn't apply to everyone, but there aren't many other places where people would instantly assume someone is intoxicated if they're acting even a little weird. I've even seen people drink in the library....

7. The messed up dating scene.



There are people who meet the love of their life at college and live happily ever after. They are people who meet the supposed love of their life at college and never talk to them again after Sunday. There are people who use Tinder. Hormones are high, freedom is bountiful, and football players are cute - what else needs to be said?

8. A warped sense of time.

The career I'm pursuing will require me to be at work by 7 am, five days a week. I am fully aware of this. Now, will I enroll in an 8 am next semester? Absolutely not - I'm not a demon. In college, nights often start at 10 p.m., dinners are eaten at 4, and mornings can begin anywhere from 8 to 2. We don't get that whole 9-5 idea.

9. Costumes... for no apparent reason.

High schoolers have a dress code. Adults have dignity. College students have fun. Here, people will wear a corn costume to get on ESPN, a fanny pack to get into a fraternity, or a tutu to match a theme party. Is it actually a weird thing, though? No one even blinks an eye.

10. Insanely close friends.

Name another point in your life when you live with your friends, study with your friends, drive with your friends, eat with your friends, go out with your friends, and even grocery shop with your friends. I'll wait. At college, it's easy for friends to seem like family because you're with them constantly. Love it or hate it, it's weird about college.

So, enjoy this weirdness while you can - it won't last forever!


ALSO SEE:

Uncensored Roommate Confessions!

Cover Image Credit: Matthew Kupfer

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

I Am The Girl Who Always Gets What She Wants, And I’m Not Ashamed Of It

I will NEVER just "go with the flow."

64
views

Ever since I was very, very young, my parents have taught me to fight for what I want. This doesn't mean that they spoiled me or that they caved whenever I threw a temper tantrum. I'm also not saying that they taught me not to take no for an answer, because everyone's entitled to their own opinions and points of views, and saying no is perfectly understandable in any circumstance. What I am saying is that they've always wanted me to take my future in my hands, mold it to whatever it is that I want it to look like, and work hard to get to where I want to go.

When I was eleven years old, I watched a documentary called "The Secret" with my dad for the first time. "The Secret" is a book, later turned into a documentary, which basically teaches you how to use the law of attraction. Simply put, the law of attraction is the ability to attract into our lives whatever we are focusing on. My dad told me he'd read the book before, and that he thought I was ready to learn how to use the law of attraction for my own good, even though I'd technically been using it for my entire life without even being aware of it. It's important to note that, when people first learn about the law of attraction, they tend to be pretty skeptical about it. Surprisingly, I wasn't skeptical at all, considering I'd always looked up to Walt Disney and his stories about magic.

At first, I used the law of attraction for things that might seem very small now, but back then I was so very excited to see that whatever I was doing was working in my favor. Whenever I really wanted something, like a light pink Nintendo DS, I would put it up on my vision board, I would visualize myself playing with it, and I would truly believe that I would get it, and so I did. Some people teased me for it, saying that I only got those things because my parents wanted me to believe in the law of attraction, and so they just bought me whatever it was that I wanted at the moment. But then it started turning into something way more powerful.

When I was seventeen, my family and I were planning to go to Disney World for Spring Break, and I really wanted my best friend to come with us. At first, it seemed like an impossible task, considering the fact that her mom had never even let her go on a weekend getaway with anyone, let alone fly to another country. I introduced my best friend to the law of attraction, and we both truly believed that she would come. She ended up coming on the trip with us, and to this day, we're still shocked about the fact that her mother caved and let her tag along.

As I've grown older, the law of attraction has always played a very important part in my thought process, and how I handle and react to things. When I was eighteen, I was able to gather all the strength I needed to break away from a very toxic relationship, and then I found a man who just casually happens to have every single thing I always thought my dream guy should have.

In January of last year, I decided that I would be applying for the Disney International College Program. It was truly fitting, considering the fact that Disney has always been one of my biggest passions in life, and also that I had been to Disney World countless times before. I felt truly prepared to take on this adventure, and so I started preparing my application. Nevertheless, the dates got mixed up, and my school advisor told me it was too late for me to send in my application. But I knew deep in my heart that I was going to move to Orlando. Two days after that, just like magic, my advisor told me that she could still let me apply if I sent in my application as quickly as possible. We all know what happened after that, considering I'm writing this from my apartment in Orlando.

All that magic comes with a price though, and lots of people have recently tried to undermine me. Some people, I guess, are just like black holes. They hate shiny things, and they go around trying to suck everyone else's light to fill up the void inside of them, but my fire is too strong, and therefore, it's impossible to put out. Some people just can't take how much I've accomplished, the things I've seen, the things I've done, the stuff I have, and the dreams I dream.

I've decided to stand my ground and let it be known, once and for all, that no matter what happens, I will always continue to fight and work for whatever it is that I want, no matter how big, small, unreachable or pointless it may seem to other people. What I want is what I get, and if someone doesn't like that about me, then that's their own problem to deal with, not mine. My life, my future, and my destiny are MINE to sculpt, and I will NEVER just "go with the flow."

Related Content

Facebook Comments