Clemenceau, the Man and His Time

By H. M. Hyndman | Go to book overview

CHAPTER X

PHILOSOPHER AND JOURNALIST

RARELY has a politician received a heavier blow than this which fell upon Clemenceau in 1893. Ordinarily, a man of his intellectual eminence and remarkable political faculties has no difficulty, if he loses one seat in the National Assembly of any country, in speedily getting another. Not so with Clemenceau. His very success as leader of the advanced Left and the proof that, though always a comparatively poor man, he had remained thoroughly honest amid all the intrigues and financial scandals around him told against him. He interfered with too many ambitions, was a stumbling-block in the way of too many high policies, to be able to command his return for another constituency. The same interests and jealousies which had combined against him at Draguignan would have attacked him with redoubled fury elsewhere. Persistent determination to carry really thorough democratic reforms in every department, combined with very high ability, relentless disregard of personal claims, complete indifference to mere party considerations and perfect honesty are qualities so inconvenient to modern politicians of every shade of opinion that the wonder is Clemenceau had held his position so long as he did. To have destroyed no fewer than eighteen more or less reactionary administrations, while always refusing to form a Cabinet himself, was a title to

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