Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Joseph W. Bendersky, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

John Herman, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Robert Godwin-Jones, Ph.D.


Historians originally claimed that the 1871 Paris Commune was inspired by Karl Marx. Since the 1960s, however, this assertion has been rejected by scholars who either claim that Marx had no influence over the Paris Communards or do not address the possibility that this influence existed. Many scholars have also claimed that the Commune was not political in any way, but was a rebellion inspired by patriotism, bitterness for the Versailles government’s capitulation of Paris to Prussia, or a spontaneous reaction to hostility from the national army’s attempt to disarm the indignant, rapidly organizing Parisian workers who called for municipal authority under their own socialist government. This thesis analyzes the official publications of the governing body of the Paris Commune and argues that these sources demonstrate that this movement was political in nature, and that Marxist ideology helped to shape the political minds of the revolutionary working class in Paris.


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