First national holiday of July 14 (1880), in Paris and Angers

First national holiday of July 14 (1880), in Paris and Angers

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  • The triumphant Republic presides over the great national holiday of July 14, 1880.

  • First national holiday of July 14 in Angers.

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Title: The triumphant Republic presides over the great national holiday of July 14, 1880.

Author :

Creation date : 1880

Date shown: July 14, 1880

Dimensions: Height 22 - Width 38

Technique and other indications: Color lithograph edited by Daniel Mourgue, 22 rue St-Jacques, Paris Decorated with metallic pellets.

Storage location: Historic Center of the National Archives website

Contact copyright: © Historic Center of the National Archives - Photo workshop website

Picture reference: AE / II / 3524

The triumphant Republic presides over the great national holiday of July 14, 1880.

© Historic Center of the National Archives - Photography workshop

To close

Title: First national holiday of July 14 in Angers.

Author :

Creation date : 1880

Date shown: July 14, 1880

Dimensions: Height 56 ​​- Width 45

Technique and other indications: Color lithograph

Storage location: Angers municipal archives website

Contact copyright: © Angers municipal archives

Picture reference: Arch. Mun. Angers 6 Fi 2674

First national holiday of July 14 in Angers.

© Angers municipal archives

Publication date: July 2014


First national holiday of July 14 (1880), in Paris and Angers


Historical context

Establishment of the national holiday

Faced with the strengthening of the Republican majority in the elections of 1879, the royalist Mac Mahon, discouraged, resigned from the presidency of the Republic and was replaced by an old moderate republican, Jules Grévy (1807-1891). From now on in all the orders of power, the Republicans simultaneously take symbolic measures: transfer of the seat of public powers from Versailles (1871) to Paris (1879), amnesty granted to convicts of the Commune (July 10, 1880), adoption of The Marseillaise as the national anthem (1879) and of July 14 for national holiday (July 6, 1880).

This first national holiday is meant to be commensurate with the event, in Paris and in the provinces, but takes care to spare local opinions as in Angers, in Maine-et-Loire, a Catholic and conservative department [1]. The vote for the "Republic" brought together the supporters of freedom and secularism who want to immediately establish equality through universal suffrage and genuine popular sovereignty. However, the France of 1880 is neither unanimous nor peaceful, and the new rulers do not openly display their doctrine: this is not the time for propaganda, but for republican opportunism.

Everywhere the program of the festival adopts the same ritual: concerts in the gardens, decoration of certain places, illuminations, fireworks and distribution of relief to the needy. In Paris must dominate the distribution of the new flags to the army, at Longchamp.

Image Analysis

July 14, 1880 in Paris

The anonymous lithograph published in Paris is aimed at a popular crowd eager to take away a souvenir of the holiday. This copy is even embellished with silver pastilles embellishing the Republican initials. Marianne (the Republic) who presides over the ceremony wears the tricolor flag and sword, but her Phrygian cap adorned with a tricolor cockade constitutes a more striking sign for contemporaries. This revolutionary attribute of Liberty, still officially forbidden [2], even if the laurel wreath attenuates it somewhat, reveals the audacity of the radical and expressionist current which then carried the Republic to the capital. In Paris, the opinion of the street daringly exceeds the politicians: the Marianne is exhibited everywhere, on window sills, in the markets, and we put it there with its cap.

The handing over of the flags at the Longchamp racecourse was obviously imagined without knowing the unfolding of the grandiose celebration that Édouard Detaille (1848-1912) will illustrate. The ceremony is the symbol of the renewal of the French army in the aftermath of the war of 1870. The regiments reconstituted after the fall of the Commune had received a provisional flag in 1871. Their final emblem was not chosen until the beginning of 1879, and it was on July 14, 1880 that they received from the President of the Republic the emblems which are still those of the French army today.

In this lithograph, the heads of government, Jules Grévy, President of the Republic, Léon Say (1826-1896), of the Senate, and Léon Gambetta (1838-1882), of the Chamber (outside the dais) fulfill their role of representatives of the nation in a naive manner which undoubtedly reflects the popular conception of republican power: neither personal, nor arbitrary, nor life, nor hereditary.

Between the clouds of the sky and those of the artillery guns, the storming of the Bastille commemorates a dawn. The date that has just been chosen for the national holiday corresponds, in all minds, to the founding event of 1789 and not to the feast of the National Federation of July 14, 1790, invoked during debates in the Senate.

On the left, the ship la Loire, which ensures the maritime connection with New Caledonia, brings back the deported Communards. The Republican regime welcomes these "absentees", who had seen themselves as the vanguard of the Republic ten years earlier. This amnesty responds to the urgent action taken by Victor Hugo in the Senate [3] and to the social aspirations of the common people of Paris: beyond equality, the spirit of humanity and fraternity permeates the republican program.

July 14, 1880 in Angers

In Angers, the republican municipality of the mayor Jules Guitton made vote an exceptional credit of which none of the following July 14th will equal the amount until 1914. The poster printed in color on this occasion largely announces the festivities placed under the aegis of the Republic, sculpted in 1876 by Angelo Francia, of which the city of Angers acquired a plaster bust in 1878 [4]. This Marianne who wears the star on her forehead and the laurel wreath stands out from any provocative revolutionary symbol. In the center, the poster nevertheless takes care to recall the political reality: "The Republic is the legal government of the country", associating with this motto the memory of Thiers, the former republican president who died in 1877. It also highlights relief progress, symbolized by the railway and the steamboat.

Many and diverse attractions, identified at the bottom of the poster, are offered in the intertwining of oak and bay leaves. In fact, this program is receiving some careful adjustments. The military review is suppressed, the army not wishing to be associated with the party; his approval of the regime is not complete everywhere. Overall, the party was greeted freshly, with the exception of the brilliant Venetian Festival on Maine, which was a great success.


The two faces of Marianne

The Republic is taking root in the decor and in mentalities. Political victory spills over from the political-institutional domain into the everyday domain and into popular and folklore representations. But we cannot then predict to what degree of extension and, even less, for how long.

After ninety years of upheaval, we are witnessing the triumph of the Revolution, but it is happening without appearing either the official images of the Republic or the new president Jules Grévy. The lithograph published in Paris expresses the spontaneous symbolism of the mass of the Democratic Party, while the Angers poster presents, under the aegis of progress and neutrality, the program of a republican municipality which spares the differences of opinions.

The republican victory that Marianne symbolizes takes on a different face depending on the context: in Paris, under the Phrygian cap, she is a “left” Marianne in whom the elites cannot recognize themselves, while in Angers, the star and the laurels adorn a “right-wing” Marianne. But the bonnet's subversive content will soon fade, turning it into the common emblem of the Republic.

  • July 14th
  • Presidency of the Republic
  • Third Republic
  • Hugo (Victor)
  • Grevy (Jules)
  • Mac Mahon (Patrice de)
  • Thiers (Adolphe)


Exhibition catalog Archives treasury the cities of Angers, Brest, Nantes, Rennes, Rennes, Rennes municipal archives, 1995 Maurice AGULHON, Marianne in combat, Paris, Flammarion, 1879.Maurice AGULHON, Marianne auouvoir. Republican imagery and symbolism from 1880 to 1914, Paris, Flammarion, 1989.Maurice AGULHON, La République from Jules Ferry to François Mitterrand. 1880 to the present day, Paris, Hachette, 1990. Louis ANDRIEUX, Memories of a prefect of police, 2 vol. Paris, Rouff, 1885.Journal de la France et des Français. Political, cultural and religious chronology from Clovis to 2000, Paris, Gallimard, 2001.

To cite this article

Luce-Marie ALBIGÈS, "First national holiday of July 14 (1880), in Paris and Angers"

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