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Alexandre Millerand

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Alexandre Millerand, French statesman
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Alexandre Millerand, French statesman

Alexandre Millerand (February 10, 1859 - April 7, 1943 at Versailles, France) was a French socialist and politician. He was president of France from September 23, 1920 to June 11, 1924 and Prime Minister of France January 20 to September 23, 1920

Born in Paris, he was educated for the bar, and made his reputation by his defence, in company with Georges Laguerre, of Ernest Roche and Duc-Quercy, the instigators of the strike at Decazeville in 1883; he then took Laguerre's place on Georges Clemenceau's paper, La Justice. He was elected to the Chamber of Deputies for the Seine département in 1885 as a radical socialist. He was associated with MM. Clemenceau and Camille Pelletan as an arbitrator in the Carmaux strike (1892). He had long had the ear of the Chamber in matters of social legislation, and after the Panama scandals had discredited so many politicians his influence grew.

He was chief of the Socialist left, which then mustered sixty members, and edited until 1896 their organ in the press, La Petite République. His programme included the collective ownership of the means of production and the international association of labour, but when in June 1899 he entered Waldeck-Rousseau's cabinet of "republican defence" as minister of commerce he limited himself to practical reforms, devoting his attention to the improvement of the mercantile marine, to the development of trade, of technical education, of the postal system, and to the amelioration of the conditions of labour. Labour questions were entrusted to a separate department, the Direction du Travail, and the pension and insurance office was also raised to the status of a "direction."

The introduction of trades-union representatives on the Supreme Labour Council, the organization of local labour councils, and the instructions to factory inspectors to put themselves in communication with the councils of the trades-unions, were valuable concessions to labour, and he further secured the rigorous application of earlier laws devised for the protection of the working-classes. His name was especially associated with a project for the establishment of old age pensions, which became law in 1905. He became in 1898 editor of La Lanterne. His influence with the extreme Socialists had already declined, for it was said that his departure from the true Marxist tradition had disintegrated the party. He was expelled from the party in 1903. He continued to move to the right, and was appointed Prime Minister by the conservative President Paul Deschanel in 1920. When Deschanel had to resign later that year due to his insanity, Millerand emerged as a compromise candidate for President between the Bloc national and the remnants of the Bloc des gauches. He appointed Georges Leygues, a politician with a long career of ministerial office, but little ambition and few accomplishments, as Prime Minister and attempted to strengthen the executive powers of the Presidency. This move was resisted in the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, and Millerand was forced to appoint a stronger figure, Aristide Briand. Briand's appointment was welcomed by both left and right, although the Socialists and the left wing of the Radical Party did not join his government. However, Millerand dismissed Briand after just a year, and appoined the conservative republican Raymond Poincaré. Millerand was accused of favouring conservatives in spite of the traditional neutrality of French Presidents and the composition of the legislature. Millerand resigned in the face of growing conflict between the elected legislature and the office of the President, following the victory of the Cartel des gauches in 1924.

For his administration in the Waldeck-Rousseau cabinet see A Lavy, L'Œuvre de Millerand (1902); his speeches between 1899 and 1907 were published in 1907 as Travail et travailleurs.

Millerand's Ministry, 20 January - 24 September 1920


Preceded by:
Paul Delombre
Minister of Commerce, Industry, Posts, and Telegraphs
1899–1902
Succeeded by:
Georges Trouillot
Preceded by:
Louis Barthou
Minister of Public Works, Posts, and Telegraphs
1909–1910
Succeeded by:
Louis Puech
Preceded by:
Adolphe Messimy
Minister of War
1912–1913
Succeeded by:
Albert Lebrun
Preceded by:
Adolphe Messimy
Minister of War
1914–1915
Succeeded by:
Joseph Galliéni

Template:Succession box two to one

Preceded by:
Paul Deschanel
President of France
1920–1924
Succeeded by:
Gaston Doumergue

Template:End box


This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.de:Alexandre Millerand fr:Alexandre Millerand pl:Alexandre Millerand sv:Alexandre Millerand

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