Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin Biography

Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, a prominent French politician and lawyer, played a significant role in the French second Republic. Known for his active radicalism and political activism, Ledru-Rollin was instrumental in achieving universal male suffrage in France. As a lawyer, he gained recognition for his defense of republicans accused of political offenses and served as the editor of the esteemed law journal, “Journal du Palais.” Initially a respected leader of the working class, his strong advocacy for labor caused him to lose influence over time. Notably, Ledru-Rollin stood as the socialist candidate against Louis Napoleon and was renowned for his passionate and electrifying speeches. He also played a crucial role in the revolution of 1848 and held the position of Deputy for Le Mans. Later in his life, he led a moderate political group called ‘The Mountain,’ which garnered 25% of the votes in the 1849 legislative election. However, he faced accusations of plotting against Napoleon III, leading to nearly two decades of exile.

Quick Facts

  • French Celebrities Born In February Died At Age: 67
  • Lawyers
  • Political Leaders
    • Political ideology: Political writer, Member of the Executive Commission
    • Died on: December 31, 1874
    • Place of death: Fontenay-aux-Roses, France
    • City: Paris

Childhood & Early Life

Born in Paris, Rollin was the grandson of Nicolas Philippe Ledru, a renowned quack doctor under Louis XV and Louis XVI. His father was also a physician. As the son of a wealthy physician, he received liberal education and studied law.


In 1830, he was admitted to the Bar. During the insurrection of 1832, he played a significant role regarding a paper on the proclamation of martial law in Paris. As a result of this he got recognition as a skilled lawyer. Many of the Republican conspirators who were facing prosecution from Louis Philippe employed him as counsel. During these trials he became well known for his effective style of speaking. Within a brief period, he became a representative of the Communist interest.

Apart from supporting republican conspirators as a lawyer, he superintended the publication of several works on French jurisprudence. He also took the responsibility of chief editor of “Le Droit”, a daily law journal. In 1838, he purchased the position of attorney at the Court of Cassation for 330,000 francs and served in this position till 1846. In 1841, the Department of Sarthe elected him as the Deputy.

Before taking the responsibility of Deputy, he made a bold confession regarding his Republican creed. As its consequence, the Government prosecuted him and sentenced him to four months’ imprisonment. Later, he was released through a new trial. In 1846, after leaving his position at the Court of Cassation, he joined politics. Gradually, he became a well known leader of the working-men of France. As its leader, he exercised his influence in the country through his oratory power.

He opined that the fortifications of Paris were directed against liberty and not foreign invasion. He openly disgraced the law of regency (1842) as an audacious usurpation. His strong campaign for labor did not receive support of official liberalism and press. The republican newspaper “National” openly opposed his views in this context. During this period he founded “La Reforme”, a journal under the editorship of Flocon. Through this journal, he expressed his propaganda regarding labor.

In 1848, he expressed his objection against the appointment of the duchess of Orleans as regent. Along with Alphonse de Lamartine, he held the tribune in the Chamber of Deputies. Later, he worked as the minister of the interior in the provisional government and a member of the executive committee appointed by the Constituent Assembly. During the crisis of 15th May, he supported Lamartine and the party against the proletariat.

During the presidential election of December 1848, he contested as the Socialist candidate and received 370,000 votes. During the 1849 legislative election, he led a moderate republican group namely The Mountain and received 25% of the votes. His opposition to the Roman policy of President Louis Napoleon led to his moving the impeachment of the President and his ministers. On 13th June 1849, he led a peaceful demonstration and his enemies took to preparation for an armed insurrection. He escaped to London and joined the executive of the revolutionary committee of Europe.

In 1857, he was accused of complicity in an obscure attempt against the life of Napoleon III of France and condemned to deportation. After twenty years of exile, he returned to France in 1870. In 1871, he was elected for three departments in the National Assembly, but he refused to sit there. Till 1874, he did not play any active role in politics. In 1874, he returned to the Assembly as member for Vaucluse. Under Louis Philippe, he worked for the development of French jurisprudence. During this time, he edited “Journal du palais”.

Personal Life & Legacy

In 1843, he married an Irish lady. He breathed his last in Fontenay-aux-Roses. An avenue and a metro station in Paris are named after him. He also has a statue at the city hall building in Paris named after him.


He got recognition for his gift of the gab ability while working as a lawyer. For his effective delivery of speech, he became an ideal representative of Communist interest and a popular leader of the working-men of France.

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