The Le Chapelier Law was an important law in Belgium, as it implicitly disallowed the proletariat from associating, or organising a strike.

As the parliament at the time (1864) was dominated by the Liberal Party and Catholics as the only two parties, with a slight majority of the Liberal Party, I am puzzled why the law was annulled. Both groups had interests in keeping the working class quiet.

I can imagine the Liberal Party annulled the law because it was against the economic principles (although it protects the free market), but I find this hard to believe. Only wealthy people were allowed to vote so the parliament was dominated by people with interests in keeping the working class quiet.

Why was the law revoked?

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    Although the law was repealled in 1866, strikes were still prohibited and things didn't really improve much. So it was more of a conciliary gesture, and the working class was by and large still kept quiet. Mar 10, 2015 at 0:56
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    Consider that making them illegal will likely never be enough to actually stop them: if you can't ban something, try to control it…
    – o0'.
    Mar 10, 2015 at 9:47

1 Answer 1


The Le Chapelier Law was a French law. In 1862, there was a notorious strike by Parisian printers and book binders which garnered international attention and was followed by other strikes by other craft groups. The Emperor, Napolean III, pardoned these strikers "effectively making moot" the laws against association, such as the Le Chapelier Law. In recognition of this, in 1864 a new law was drafted allowing the formation of trade unions with a right to strike.

Discussion of these matters can be found in various books on the labor movement, such as "The Labor Movement in France: A Study in Revolutionary Syndicalism" by Lewis Levitzki Lorwin.

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    That's how it ended in France. You havent actually answered why it was repealed in Belgium. Mar 10, 2015 at 0:46
  • @CrèmeCaramelita The Belgiums imitated the French in their laws. Mar 10, 2015 at 1:48

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