Date of Award

Spring 2023

Degree Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

History, MA


School of Arts and Humanities

Advisor/Supervisor/Committee Chair

Joshua Goode

Dissertation or Thesis Committee Member

Andre Wakefield

Terms of Use & License Information

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Rights Information

© 2023 Mikaela Malsy


Haussmannization, Second Empire, Napoléon III, Haussmann, Georges, Pathologization, Workers, Public health crises

Subject Categories

European History | History


Throughout the Second Empire, Napoléon III and his Prefect of the Seine, Georges Haussmann, engaged in a series of urban reform projects that transformed Paris. These projects, often collectively referred to as Haussmannization, entailed the construction of boulevards, expansion of the sewer system, and clearance of what the state considered insalubrious housing. This term was largely prescribed to worker-class housing and used as a medical justification to target and destroy working-class communities. However, as this paper discusses, the understanding of insalubrity was shaped by hygienists' pathologization of poverty, crime, and working-class militancy in response to the arrival of cholera and the increase in working-class unrest during the July Monarchy. Hygienists hypothesized that these issues stemmed from workers' moral degeneration and constituted public health crises due to their allegedly contagious nature. In framing these issues as public health crises, hygienists advocated for state intervention to regulate these workers. Leveraging hygienists' rhetoric, Napoléon III justified his destruction of working-class communities as a measure to improve public health while decreasing workers’ potential social and political power. This thesis adds to current literature that suggests Haussmannization aimed to consolidate control over workers by eradicating working-class spaces and elaborates on public health’s role in legitimizing Napoléon III’s marginalization of workers.