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was born in Geneva
Geneva In the national languages of Switzerland the city is known as Genf , Ginevra and Genevra is the second-most-populous city in Switzerland and is the most populous city of Romandie, the French-speaking part of Switzerland...
in 1808 and died in Paris in 1861. He was a significant personality of the French republican movement of the first half of the nineteenth century.
Employed at Saint-Étienne
Saint-Étienne is a city in eastern central France. It is located in the Massif Central, southwest of Lyon in the Rhône-Alpes region, along the trunk road that connects Toulouse with Lyon...
, he took part in the Lyon insurgency of 1834 (in which his brother died). He was sentenced to 20 years in detention but he was pardoned in 1837. Afterward he became a broker and also distributed wines during his travels with the progressive newspaper La Réforme.
During the French revolution of 1848
The 1848 Revolution in France was one of a wave of revolutions in 1848 in Europe. In France, the February revolution ended the Orleans monarchy and led to the creation of the French Second Republic. The February Revolution was really the belated second phase of the Revolution of 1830...
, he fought on the barricades, seized the police headquarters and was appointed prefect of police by the provisional government
The French Second Republic was the republican government of France between the 1848 Revolution and the coup by Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte which initiated the Second Empire. It officially adopted the motto Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité...
. He replaced city sergeants with the guardians of Paris and created the body of the "Guard of the People", composed of all revolutionary elements recently released. The guard consisted of four companies (La Montagnarde, Saint-Just, February and Morisset). Beginning in May 1848, the Commission
The Executive Commission of the French Republic was a short-lived body and jointly head of state of France during the Second Republic. All members were equal and served together as co-heads of state.The Commission acted as head of state from May 10 to June 24, 1848, between governments of...
tried unsuccessfully to eliminate the prefecture of police. After the failure of the invasion of the National Assembly on May 15, 1848, he was dismissed from his position as prefect of police by the executive Commission. He resigned his tenure as deputy to the Constituent Assembly. In the elections of early June he was reelected but after the failure of the June Days Uprising
The June Days Uprising was a revolution staged by the citizens of France, whose only source of income was the National Workshops, from 23 June to 26 June 1848. The Workshops were created by the Second Republic in order to provide work and a source of income for the unemployed, however only...
, he was forced to flee and took refuge in England and the USA where he resumed his activities as a wine broker. Sentenced in absentia to deportation by the High Court of Justice Bourges for his participation in the demonstration on 15 May 1848, he returned to France after the amnesty of 1859.
He wrote Memoirs