In 1857 he was elected as a deputy for the Haut-Rhin district to the French Assembly. He soon made himself prominent as a leader of the Roman Catholic Party. He lost his seat in 1863, but was reelected in 1869. He was commander of a company of volunteers during the Franco-Prussian War. After the war, he again joined the Assembly as Haut-Rhin representative in 1871. He made a stirring speech against the cession of Alsace-Lorraine to Germany. When the treaty was signed, he left the Assembly with other Alsatians, but was back as representative for Belfort in 1876, and again in 1885.