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Rebels with Causes

A Study of Revolutionary Syndicalist Culture among the French Primary School Teachers between 1880 and 1919


Francis Feeley McCollum

This book is about French primary school teachers at the beginning of the Third Republic. It is a history of their revolutionary culture and of the real contradictions and paradoxes that moved some three thousand of these state employees to openly embrace the revolutionary labor movement before the First World War. In 1905, their «Syndicalist Manifesto» declared: «During the day, we teach the children of the people. Isn't it natural that at night we wish to associate with the working people, themselves?» The administrators of the Third Republic did not find these desires to associate with working class culture as being «natural,» and they discouraged it in a variety of ways.
Contents: Public education before the Third Republic - The architects of the Third Republican education - Teachers' working conditions - Cult of Family in textbooks - The Teachers'movement - The Press and Public Opinion of Teachers - The War and repression of revolutionary syndicalist culture - Conclusion - Appendices with biographical sketches of teachers.