Jules Ferry

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Jules Ferry
Jules Ferry - The Evolution of France under the Third Republic (cropped).jpg
Prime Minister of France
In office
21 February 1883 30 March 1885
Portrait of Ferry by Leon Bonnat JulesFerryBonnat.jpg
Portrait of Ferry by Léon Bonnat

The key to understanding Ferry's unique position in Third Republic history is that until his political critic, Georges Clemenceau became Prime Minister twice in the 20th century, Ferry had the longest tenure as Prime Minister under that regime. He also played with political dynamite that eventually destroyed his success. Ferry (like his 20th-century equivalent Joseph Caillaux) believed in not confronting Wilhelmine Germany by threats of a future war of revenge. Most French politicians in the middle and right saw it as a sacred duty to one day lead France again against Germany to reclaim Alsace-Lorraine, and avenge the awful defeat of 1870. But Ferry realized that Germany was too powerful, and it made more sense to cooperate with Otto von Bismarck and avoid trouble. A sensible policy – but hardly popular.

Bismarck was constantly nervous about the situation with France. Although he had despised the ineptness of the French under Napoleon III and the government of Adolphe Thiers and Jules Favre, he had not planned for all the demands he presented the French in 1870. He only wished to temporarily cripple France by the billion franc reparation, but suddenly he was confronted by the demands of Marshals Albrecht von Roon and Helmut von Moltke (backed by Emperor Wilhelm I) to annex the two French provinces as further payment. Bismarck, for all his abilities regarding manipulating events, could not afford to anger the Prussian military. He got the two provinces, but he realized it would eventually have severe future repercussions.

Bismarck was able to ignore the French for most of the 1870s and early 1880s, but as he found problems with his three erstwhile allies (Austria, Russia, and Italy), he realized France might one day take advantage of this (as it did with Russia in 1894). When Ferry came up with a radically different approach to the situation and offered an olive branch, Bismarck reciprocated. A Franco-German friendship would alleviate problems of siding with either Austria or Russia, or Austria and Italy. Bismarck approved of the colonial expansion that France pursued under Ferry. He only had some problems with local German imperialists who were critical that Germany lacked colonies, so he found a few in the 1880s, making certain he did not confront French interests. But he also suggested Franco-German cooperation on the imperial front against the British Empire, thus hoping to create a wedge between the two Western European great powers. It did, as a result, leading to a major race for influence across Africa that nearly culminated in war in the next decade, at Fashoda in the Sudan in 1898. But by then both Bismarck and Ferry were dead, and the rapprochement policy died when Ferry lost office. As for Fashoda, while it was a confrontation, it led to Britain and France eventually discussing their rival colonial goals, and agreeing to support each other's sphere of influence – the first step to the Entente Cordiale between the countries in 1904.

Later life

Ferry remained an influential member of the moderate republican party, and directed the opposition to General Boulanger. After the resignation of Jules Grévy (2 December 1887), he was a candidate for the presidency of the republic, but the radicals refused to support him, and he withdrew in favor of Sadi Carnot.

On 10 December 1887, [6] a man named Aubertin attempted to assassinate Jules Ferry, who would later die on 17 March 1893 from complications attributed to this wound. The Chamber of Deputies gave him a state funeral.

Ferry's 1st Ministry, 23 September 1880 – 14 November 1881

Ferry's 2nd Ministry, 21 February 1883 – 6 April 1885


See also


  1. 1 2 Hughes, Conrad (26 April 2021). Education and Elitism: Challenges and Opportunities. Routledge. p. 44. ISBN   978-1-000-37731-6. Jules Ferry (1832–1893), republican philosopher and politician, who became minister of public instruction, put in place a series of laws from 1881 to 1882 that would make primary education free and compulsory to all those living in the French nation.
  2. A History of Western Society, Seventh Edition. John Buckler, Bennett D. Hill, John P. McKay
  3. Ichilov, Orit (7 March 2009). The Retreat from Public Education: Global and Israeli Perspectives. Springer Science & Business Media. ISBN   978-1-4020-9570-2. Jules Ferry, the then Minister of Public Instruction is regarded as the founder of “the modern republican school” (1 ́echole republican). The Jules Ferry's laws established free education in 1881, then mandatory and laic education in 1882
  4. Paul Robiquet (1893). Discours et opinions de Jules Ferry. Paris: Armand Colin & C. p. 2.
  5. 1 2 Alfred Rambaud (1903). Jules Ferry (in French). Paris.
  6. 1 2 3 Rines, George Edwin, ed. (1920). "Ferry, Jules François Camille"  . Encyclopedia Americana .
  7. 1 2 3 4 5 Wikisource-logo.svg This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain : Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Ferry, Jules François Camille". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press.
  8. Histoire de la Franc-Maçonnerie française (Pierre Chevallier – ed. Fayard – 1974)
  9. Dictionnaire Universelle de la Franc-Maçonnerie (Marc de Jode, Monique Cara and Jean-Marc Cara, ed. Larousse, 2011)
  10. Encyclopédie de la Franc-Maçonnerie (ed. Livre de Poche, 2000)
  11. Dictionnaire de la Franc-Maçonnerie (Daniel Ligo, Presses Universitaires de France, 2006)
  12. Jules Ferry (Jean-Michel Gaillard, ed. Fayard, 1989)
  13. Denslow, William R. and Harry S. Truman, 10,000 Famous Freemasons from A to J Part One, p. 44, Kessinger Publishing, 2004
  14. Keaton, Danielle (2006). Muslim Girls and the Other France: Race, Identity Politics & Social Exclusion. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press. p. 100.
  15. Ducloux 1913, p. 241.
  16. Burollet 1995, pp. 111–122.
  17. Burollet 1995.
  18. Tawadros 2011, p. 38.
  19. "Jules Ferry". Archived from the original on 25 August 2006. Retrieved 16 May 2006.
  20. 1 2 3 4 Ageron, Charles-Robert (7 July 1963). "Jules Ferry et la question algérienne en 1892 (d'après quelques inédits)". Revue d'Histoire Moderne & Contemporaine. 10 (2): 127–146. doi:10.3406/rhmc.1963.2848 via www.persee.fr.

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Political offices
Preceded by Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of France
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts
Succeeded by
Preceded by Prime Minister of France
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts
Succeeded by
Preceded by Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Preceded by President of the Senate
Succeeded by