Jules Grévy

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Jules Grévy
Bonnat Portrait of Jules Grevy.jpg
4th President of France
In office
30 January 1879 – 2 December 1887
Prime Minister Jules Armand Dufaure
William Henry Waddington
Charles de Freycinet
Jules Ferry
Léon Gambetta
Charles de Freycinet
Charles Duclerc
Armand Fallières
Jules Ferry
Henri Brisson
Charles de Freycinet
René Goblet
Maurice Rouvier
Preceded by Patrice de MacMahon
Succeeded by Marie François Sadi Carnot
Co-Prince of Andorra
In office
30 January 1879 – 2 December 1887
Served with Salvador Casañas y Pagés
Preceded by Patrice de MacMahon
Succeeded by Marie François Sadi Carnot
Personal details
Born 15 August 1807
Mont-sous-Vaudrey, France
Died 9 September 1891
Mont-sous-Vaudrey, France
Political party Left Republican

François Paul Jules Grévy (French pronunciation: ​[ʒyl ɡʁevi]; 15 August 1807 – 9 September 1891) was a President of the French Third Republic and one of the leaders of the Opportunist Republicans faction. Given that his predecessors were monarchists who tried without success to restore the French monarchy, Grévy is seen as the first real republican President of France.

Biography[edit]

Born at Mont-sous-Vaudrey in the Jura mountains, he became an advocate in 1837, and, having steadily maintained republican principles under the Orléans monarchy, was elected by his native department to the Constituent Assembly of 1848. Foreseeing that Louis Bonaparte would be elected president by the people, he proposed to vest the chief authority in a president of the Council elected and removable by the Assembly, or in other words, to suppress the Presidency of the Republic. After the coup d'état this proposition gained Grévy a reputation for sagacity, and upon his return to public life in 1868 he took a prominent place in the republican party.

A portrait of Grévy as a billiards player from 12 July 1879 issue of Vanity Fair.

After the fall of the Empire he was chosen president of the Assembly on 16 February 1871, and occupied this position until 2 April 1873, when he resigned on account of the opposition of the Right, which blamed him for having called one of its members to order in the session of the previous day. On 8 March 1876 he was elected president of the Chamber of Deputies, a post which he filled with such efficiency that upon the resignation of Marshal MacMahon he seemed to step naturally into the Presidency of the Republic (30 January 1879), and was elected without opposition by the republican parties.

Resignation[edit]

Quiet, shrewd, attentive to the public interest and his own, but without any particular distinction, he would have left an unblemished reputation if he had not unfortunately accepted a second term (18 December 1885). Shortly afterwards, his son-in-law, Daniel Wilson, was found to be trafficking in the awards of the Legion of Honour. Grévy was not accused of personal participation in these scandals, but he was somewhat obstinate in refusing to realize that he was indirectly responsible for the misuse his relative had made of access to the Elysée, and it had to be unpleasantly impressed upon him that his resignation was inevitable (2 December 1887).[1]

He died at Mont-sous-Vaudrey on 9 September 1891. He owed both his success and his failure to the completeness with which he represented the particular type of the thrifty, generally sensible and patriotic, but narrow-minded and frequently egoistic bourgeois.

In private life, Grévy was an ardent billiards player, and was featured in a portrait as a player in Vanity Fair magazine in 1879.

Grévy's zebra, a species of zebra, is named after him.

See also[edit]

References and notes[edit]

Discours politiques et judiciaires, rapports et messages accompagnes de notices historiques et l'ricédis d'une introduction par L. Delabrousse (2 vols., 1888)

  1. ^ Rochefort, Henri. "The Adventures of My Life, vol. 2" pp315-318


Political offices
Preceded by
Patrice de MacMahon
President of France
1879–1887
Succeeded by
Sadi Carnot
Preceded by
Patrice de MacMahon
Co-Prince of Andorra
1879–1887
Succeeded by
Sadi Carnot