The New Student's Reference Work/Commune of Paris - Wikisource, the free online library
Com′mune of Paris (kŏm′ mūn). Commune is the unit or lowest political division of France, corresponding to the American township. The rising of the Commune of Paris, in 1871, should not be confounded with communism, with which it had nothing to do. It was a revolutionary attempt to establish self-government for Paris. The theory of the rising was that every commune should have self-government and that the state or central government should be merely a federation of communes. The movement was caused by discontent in Paris, where the people found themselves in possession of arms after the siege by the Germans. The rising occurred on March 18, 1871, and was put down only after 10 weeks’ long and bloody fighting between the forces of the commune and a large army of the central government. Sixty-five thousand communists fell during the last ten days in May.