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Albert (Alexandre Martin)

Albert (Alexandre Martin), 1815-1895 Known throughout his public life simply as "Albert the Worker," Martin functioned pri marily as the shadow of the socialist Louis Blanc. Born in Bury (Oise), this son of a peasant later moved to Paris to serve an apprenticeship in his uncle's machine shop. He then worked as a machinist at Bapterosse, a button factory.

Although a member of various secret societies involved in the revolutionary movements in the 1830s and 1840s, especially Les Saisons, he seems to have had no political ambitions.

On February 24, with the backing of Blanc, Albert became a secretary in the provisional government in order to win the support of the workers. He was soon dispatched to the Luxembourg Commission as Blanc's vice-president, serving there until the May 15 insurrection.

In the April elections, only six from the Luxembourg Commission were elected, but Blanc and Albert survived. The May elections for a new government returned all members of the provisional government except for those two. Radical activists, on hearing the results, took to the streets on May 15, provoking a reactio n from the national guard. Albert, a leader of the mob with Barbès, was arrested at the Hôtel de Ville and imprisoned at Vincennes. The insurrection failed and the Luxembourg Commission was dissolved.

The prisoner chose not to defend himself at his trial in Bourges the following year. Found guilty of trying to destroy the government and advocating civil war, he was deported to Belle-Ile, remaining there for four years until he became ill. From Belle-Ile he was sent to Tours where he was imprisoned for five years. Having been amnestied by the government in 1859, Albert, on his release from prison, worked in Paris for the gas company. He was made a member of the Commission des Barricades by the government of national defense in 1870. He stayed out of the public eye until 1871 when he ran unsuccessfully for election to the national assembly. Having taken no part in politics during the Second Empire, he tried once more in 1879 to win an election, this time for a seat in the sena te, but the voters rejected him once more.

Retiring to Mello (Oise), Albert died there in 1895. He was given a national funeral and a tombstone by the government.

Helen Castelli


M. Alhoy. Biographie parlementaire des représentants du peuple à l'Assemblée nationale constituant de 1848. (Paris, 1848).

La République au donjon de Vicennes: Biographies d'Albert, Barbès, Raspail. (Paris, 1848).

Stern, Daniel. Histoire de la Révolution de 1848. (Paris, 1862).

Girard, Louis. La Deuxième République: "Naissance et Mort ." (Paris, 1968).

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