French Provisional Government of 1848

The Provisional government was a short-lived government formed on 24 February 1848 at the start of the French Second Republic, after the Cabinet of François-Pierre Guizot and the July Monarchy had been thrown out of power. It was succeeded by the Executive Commission of 1848.

Provisional government of 1848
cabinet of France
Jacques-Charles Dupont de l'Eure,
President of the council
Date formed24 February 1848
Date dissolved9 May 1848
People and organisations
Head of governmentJacques-Charles Dupont de l'Eure
PredecessorCabinet of François-Pierre Guizot
SuccessorExecutive Commission of 1848


The Provisional Government was formed after three days of street fighting in Paris that ended in the abdication of King Louis Philippe I at noon on February 24. The leaders of the government were selected by acclamation in two different meetings later that day, one at the Chamber of Deputies and the other at the Hôtel de Ville. The first set of seven names, chosen at the Chamber of Deputies, came from the list of deputies made by the moderate republican paper Le National. The second set of names, chosen at the Hôtel de Ville, came from a list made by the more radical republican paper La Réforme. In addition to the first set of deputies it included three journalists and a representative of the workers. Later that evening the combined list was acclaimed at the Hôtel de Ville.[1]

The members of the new Provisional Government collectively acted as head of state. They included the former deputies Jacques-Charles Dupont de l'Eure, Alphonse de Lamartine, Adolphe Crémieux, François Arago, Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, Louis-Antoine Garnier-Pagès and Pierre Marie de Saint-Georges. The three journalists were Armand Marrast, Louis Blanc (a socialist) and Ferdinand Flocon. The representative of the workers was Alexandre Martin, known as "Albert".[1]


Like his successor, the Executive Commission, the provisional government had a colletive leadership, that exercised the power of head of state (French: Chief d'état) for all his duration.

The positions of power in the Provisional Government were mainly given to moderate republicans, although Étienne Arago was made Minister of Posts and Marc Caussidière became Prefect of Police. Alexandre Martin ("Albert"), Louis Blanc and Ferdinand Flocon did not get ministerial portfolios, and so had little power.[2] The ministers were:

Portfolio Holder Party
President of the Council of Ministers Jacques Charles Dupont Moderate Republican
Minister of Foreign Affairs Alphonse de Lamartine Moderate Republican
Minister of the Interior Alexandre Ledru-Rollin Radical Republican
Minister of Justice Adolphe Crémieux Moderate Republican
Minister of Finance Michel Goudchaux Moderate Republican
Minister of Public Works Pierre Marie de Saint-Georges Moderate Republican
Minister of Trade and Agricolture Eugène Bethmont Moderate Republican
Minister of Education Hippolyte Carnot Moderate Republican
Minister of War Jacques Gerbais de Subervie Military
Minister of the Navy and Colonies François Arago Moderate Republican
Ministers of State Louis-Antoine Garnier-Pagès Moderate Republican
Armand Marrast Radical Republican
Ferdinand Flocon Radical Republican
Louis Blanc Socialist Republican
Alexandre Martin Socialist Republican

Key events

February 24:
  • Demonstration of public works and buildings workers in the place de l'Hôtel-de-Ville, Paris, to demand a Ministry of Labor and the 10-hour day
  • Creation of the Government Commission for workers headed by Louis Blanc, which implements the national workshops
March 2:
  • Abolition of the system of bargaining for hiring
  • Reduction of hours in the working day
  • Creation of the commission to implement abolition of slavery in the French colonies
  • Decision not to intervene on behalf of other European peoples revolting against their governments
  • Universal suffrage decreed for males
  • Convocation of a constituent assembly decided, with elections set for 9 April
  • Forced used of banknotes to prevent disappearance of the gold holdings of the Bank of France
  • Reopening of the Paris Stock Exchange (closed from 22 February)
  • National Guard opened to all citizens
  • Creation of a school of administration to train officials
  • Abolition of imprisonment for debt
  • Abolition of corporal punishment in criminal matters
  • Revolution in Berlin
  • Elite units of the National Guard abolished[7]
  • Workers demonstration in Paris for postponement of the election of the Constituent Assembly. Elections postponed to April 23.[10]
  • Revolt in Bordeaux against envoys of the provisional government
  • Creation of the Central Workers Committee of the department of Seine
  • Failure of the expedition of the Belgian Legion in Belgium
April 3:
  • Revolt in Valence against envoys of the Provisional Government
  • Failure of the Voraces Legion of Lyon to raise Savoy
  • Revolt in Besançon against envoys of the provisional government
  • Failure of the Paris demonstration for a further postponement of the election of the Constituent Assembly
  • Moderate success in elections to the National Assembly
  • Street fighting in Rouen between supporters of the defeated Democratic Republicans and those elected from the bourgeois list
  • Abolition of slavery in French colonies
May 4:
  • First meeting of the National Assembly[11]
  • Assembly unanimously proclamats the Republic[11]


  1. Luna 2004.
  2. Fortescue 2004, p. 70.
  3. Fortescue 2004, p. 63.
  4. Fortescue 2004, p. 64.
  5. Fortescue 2004, p. 64-65.
  6. Lamartine 1890, p. 17.
  7. Agulhon 1983, p. 41.
  8. Fortescue 2004, p. 96.
  9. Augello & Guidi 2005, p. 132.
  10. Agulhon 1983, p. 42.
  11. Agulhon 1983, p. 47.


  • Agulhon, Maurice (1 September 1983). The Republican Experiment, 1848-1852. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-28988-7. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  • Augello, Massimo M.; Guidi, Marco Enrico Luigi (1 January 2005). Economists in Parliament in the Liberal Age (1848-1920). Ashgate. ISBN 978-0-7546-3965-7. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  • Fortescue, William (2 August 2004). France and 1848: The End of Monarchy. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-37923-1. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  • Lamartine, Alphonse de (1890). Lamartine's works ... G. Bell & sons. Retrieved 21 March 2014.
  • Luna, Frederick de (17 October 2004). "Provisional Government of the Second French Republic". Retrieved 2014-03-21.
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