Liberalism and Social Reform: Industrial Growth and Progressiste Politics in France, 1880-1914

By David M. Gordon | Go to book overview

5
François de Wendel and Progressiste Politics in Industrial Lorraine

François de Wendel, who was first elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1914, had a longer parliamentary career than the Progressiste politicians in the Nord or Loire. He served for almost twenty years before entering the Senate and left political life only after the creation of the Vichy regime. 1 His position as head of the Comité des forges and director of the Banque de France would, after 1918, give him an economic influence even greater than that of a manufacturing giant like Eugène Motte. Even before 1914, however, as head of the French branch of the de Wendel family ( Lorraine's most distinguished and powerful industrial clan), François de Wendel enjoyed enormous prestige. However, despite the immense wealth of the Wendels and the overweening pride associated with their name, the Progressiste candidate who entered the Chamber in 1914 got there only through long and hard political struggle. Neither his economic domination of the town of Joeuf, the home of De Wendel et Cie, nor his strong industrial position in the Meurthe-et-Moselle had been sufficient to elect him. The striking difference between great financial power and Wendel's humiliating defeats in the 1906 and 1910 legislative elections demonstrates the inability of even the greatest manufacturers to buy their way into the Palais Bourbon. The difficulty with which Wendel won the support of other industrialists suggests that, as in the Nord and Loire, manufacturers did not speak with one voice and that their eventual organization behind a republican Progressiste program took considerable diplomatic skill. Like any other candidate, Wendel was also obliged to court the larger electorate. The evolution of his political program in the years before 1914 reveals the importance of the democratic process in forcing even the most powerful industrial politicians to shape their programs to meet the demands of moderate republican voters.

The history of Wendel's prewar career tells much about the evolution of bourgeois politics in Lorraine. By 1914 he had developed a moderate republican

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Liberalism and Social Reform: Industrial Growth and Progressiste Politics in France, 1880-1914
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction 1
  • Notes 27
  • 1 - Industrial Growth and Socialist Success at Roubaix 31
  • Notes 50
  • 2 - Eugène Motte and the Bourgeois Political Resurgence 55
  • Notes 78
  • 3 - Georges Claudinon and the Industrial Revival at Le Chambon-Feugerolles 83
  • Notes 109
  • 4 - Industrial Crisis and Progressiste Success at Rive-De-Gier 115
  • Notes 135
  • 5 - François De Wendel and Progressiste Politics in Industrial Lorraine 141
  • Notes 164
  • Conclusion 171
  • Notes 191
  • Appendix 195
  • Bibliography 209
  • Index 217
  • About the Author 227
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