Émile Louis Victor de Laveleye

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Émile Louis Victor de Laveleye
Émile Louis Victor de Laveleye (1822-1892).jpg
Émile Louis Victor de Laveleye
Born (1822-04-05)5 April 1822
Bruges, United Kingdom of the Netherlands
Died 3 January 1892(1892-01-03) (aged 69)
Havelange, Belgium
Education Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Occupation Professor, historian, economist

Émile Louis Victor de Laveleye (5 April 1822 – 3 January 1892) was a Belgian economist. He was one of the co-founders of the Institut de Droit International in 1873.


He was born in Bruges, and educated there and at the Collège Stanislas in Paris, a celebrated establishment in the hands of the Oratorians.

He continued his studies at the Catholic University of Louvain and afterwards at Ghent, where he came under the influence of François Huet the philosopher and Christian Socialist. In 1844 he won a prize with an essay on the language and literature of Provence. In 1847 he published L'Histoire des rois francs, and in 1861 a French version of the Nibelungenlied, but though he never lost his interest in literature and history, his most important work was in the domain of economics.

He was one of a group of young lawyers doctors and critics, all old pupils of Huet, who met once a week to discuss social and economic questions and thus was led to publish his views on these subjects. In 1859 some articles by him in the Revue des deux mondes laid the foundation of his reputation as an economist. In 1864 he was elected to the chair of political economy at the state University of Liège. Here he wrote his most important works:

  • La Russie et l'Autriche depuis Sadowa, 1870.
  • Essai sur les Formes de Gouvernement dans les Sociétés Modernes, 1872.
  • Des Causes Actuelles de Guerre en Europe et de l'Arbitrage, 1874.
  • De la Proprieté et de ses Formes Primitives, 1874 [dedicated to the memory of John Stuart Mill and François Huet].

He died at the castle of Doyon (in present-day Havelange), near Liége on the 3 January 1892.

Laveleye's name is particularly connected with bimetallism and primitive property, and he took a special interest in the revival and preservation of small nationalities. But his activity included the whole realm of political science, political economy, monetary questions, international law, foreign and Belgian politics, questions of education, religion and morality, travel and literature. He had the art of popularizing even the most technical subjects, owing to the clearness of his view and his firm grasp of the matter in hand. He was especially attracted to England, where he thought he saw many of his ideals of social, political and religious progress realized. He was a frequent contributor to the English newspapers and leading reviews. The most widely circulated of his works was a pamphlet on Le Parti clérical en Belgique, of which 2,000,000 copies were circulated in ten languages.

Works in English translation[edit]

Selected articles[edit]


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