Louis-René Villermé

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Louis-René Villermé (b. Paris, 10 March 1782; d. there, 16 November, 1863) was a French doctor. Later in life, he became an economist who wrote about social issues. A Liberal in political economy, he was hesitant when it came to organizing remedies for social ills. He was a member of the Academie des Sciences Morales et Politiques from about 1833.


Villermé wrote two important memoirs on mortality among prisoners, and sexual promiscuity in gaols (1820, 1829), and established the Annales d'hygiène (1829). His works on vital statistics were regarded by some as a refutation of Thomas Doubleday's True Law of Population. His chief renown came from his Tableau de l'état physique et moral des ouvriers employés dans les manufactures de coton, de laine et de soie (Study of the Physical Condition of Cotton, Wool and Silk workers), which was the result of lengthy investigation. It showed how the hand combining of cotton engendered pneumonia, contained a protest against excessive child-labour in manufacturing, and has been seen by some as contributing to the law of 1841 on child labour.[1]

The period of 1848 was marked by three works of Villermé: Les associations ouvrières (1849); Les cités ouvrières (1850); Les accidents produits dans les ateliers par les appareils mécaniques (1858).


  1. ^ Lee S. Weissbach (March 1977). "Child Labor Legislation in Nineteenth-Century France". The Journal of Economic History. 37 (1): 268–271. doi:10.1017/S0022050700112112. JSTOR 2119467.