Georges Clemenceau: A Political Biography

By David Robin Watson | Go to book overview

4

CLEMENCEAU
VERSUS FERRY

I CLEMENCEAU VERSUS FERRY, 1883-1885

In February 1883 Ferry became prime minister for the second time, forming a ministry that was to last for more than two years. Gambetta's death had simplified the political situation, as the Opportunists were no longer divided between supporters of Ferry and of Gambetta. A few of Gambetta's followers moved left to join the Radicals, while the great majority decided to support Ferry. Ferry's theme was that 'the peril is on the Left', implying that the monarchists no longer posed a serious threat, and that it was time for a realignment of French politics on new issues. The Times wrote that the central issue in French politics was now the conflict between the governmental republicans, led by Ferry, and the Radical opposition, led by Clemenceau. 41 From 1883 to 1885 there was a duel between Ferry and Clemenceau, the recognized leaders of the two wings of the republican party, centering on three issues: constitutional reform, the social question, and colonial policy.

Clemenceau made a long speech on constitutional reform on 6 March and others on the election of magistrates covering much the same ground on 22-3 January and 2 June. 42 His basic point was that the democratic principle should be applied to the judiciary as well as to the legislature. There was general agreement among republicans that those magistrates closely associated with political trials under the Empire and at the time

____________________
41
The Times, 24 February 1883. There was, however, only an incipient tendency to polarization. A recent analysis using computers and factor analysis has found that there was little disciplined voting except among a small group around Clemenceau, A. Prost and C. Rosening, op. cit., p. 16.
42
Annales de la Chambre des Députés, 6 March, pp. 565-80, 22-23 January, pp. 117-40, 2 June, pp. 548-53.

-81-

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Georges Clemenceau: A Political Biography
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Georges Clemenceau - A Political Biography *
  • Contents 5
  • Illustrations *
  • Acknowledgements 11
  • Part One - Childhood, Youth and the Commune I84i-1871 *
  • 1 - Childhood and Youth 15
  • 2 - The Commune 34
  • Part Two - The Radical Attack I87i-1889 *
  • 3 - Challenger from the Left 59
  • 4 - Clemenceau versus Ferry 81
  • 5 - Boulangism 101
  • Part Three - Defeat and Resurgence I889-1906 *
  • 6 - Panama 117
  • 7 - The Dreyfus Affair 138
  • Part Four - The First Ministry I906-1909 *
  • 8 - Minister of the Interior 167
  • 9 - Clemenceau as Premier 183
  • 10 - Clemenceau as Strike-Breaker 200
  • 11 - Foreign Policy 215
  • Part Five - Opposition I909-1917 *
  • 12 - In Opposition before the War 237
  • 13 - Opposition in Wartime 249
  • Part Six - Pere-La-Victoire I9i7-1918 *
  • 14 - Second Ministry: Domestic Politics 275
  • 15 - Military Strategy 293
  • 16 - Russian Intervention and Victory 315
  • Part Seven - The Peace Settlement and after I9i8-1929 *
  • 17 - The Versailles Treaty 331
  • 18 - The Middle East and Russia 366
  • 19 - Domestic Politics and Last Years 380
  • Part Eight - Conclusion *
  • 20 - Conclusion 397
  • Appendices Sources and Bibliography Index *
  • Appendix I 411
  • Appendix II 414
  • Appendix III 416
  • Appendix IV 417
  • Appendix V 424
  • Appendix VI 428
  • Appendix VII 434
  • Sources and Bibliography 438
  • Index 455
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