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Government and Politics 
of France 

Government Handbooks is a senes of college textbooks in 
government prepared under the joint editorship of David 
Prescott Barrows, Ph.D., President of the University of 
California, and Thomas Harrison Reed, A.B., LL.B., 
Professor of Municipal Government in the University of 
California and formerly City Manager of San Jose, Cali- 

The series will provide a handbook for each of the European 
countries, and one on the Government of American De- 
pendencies, treating of the political and administrative 
organization. Each volume will have such maps and 
illustrations as are needed, and will contain an annotated 

The authors of the different volumes are men who combine 
a thorough knowledge of the subject and a personal ac- 
quaintance with the country and system described. 

The volumes now published are: Evolution of the Dominion 
OF Canada, by Edward Porritt, author of "The English- 
man at Home," "The Unreformed House of Commons," 
and "Sixty Years of Protection in Canada"; Govern- 
ment AND Politics of Switzerland, by Robert C. Brooks, 
Professor of Political Science, Swarthmore College; Gov- 
ernment and Politics of France, by Edward Mc- 
Chesney Sait, Ph.D., Professor of Political Science 
University of California; and Government and Politics 
OF the German Empire, by Fritz- Konrad Kriiger, Ph.D., 
formerly of the Department of Political Science, University 
of California. Some of the volumes in preparation are: 
Government and Politics of Great Britain and 
Ireland and Government of American Dependencies, 
by David Prescott Barrows ; The Slav States, by 
Ludwik Ehrlich; and volumes on the governments of 
Japan, Spain, Argentina, Chile, and Brazil. 

The publishers cordially invite correspondence with regard to 
the Series. 


Medallion by Louis BoUee 

Edited biQ-^AviD P. Barrows and Thomas H. Reed 

(Botttnmtnt ^antiboobis 

Government and Politics 
of France 







Established, 1905, by Caspar W. Hodgson 


2126 Prairie Avenue, Chicago 

The security of civilization depends very 
largely upon the relationships that are main- 
tained between the English-speaking nations 
and France. To assure a continued under- 
standing between these peoples nothing is 
more essential than a better insight on the 
part of each of them into the national in- 
stitutions of the others. Yet events have 
moved so rapidly that books on political 
science which a few years ago may have been 
helpful are now valuable chiefly from a 
historical standpoint. It therefore gives the 
publishers unusual satisfaction to bring out 
at this time an authoritative and up-to-the- 
minute account of French political institu- 
tions — a book that in a large and very 
literal way is designed to Apply the 
World's Knowledge to the World's Needs 

gh: sgpf-1 

Copyright, 1920, by World Book Company 
Copyright in Great Britain 
All rights reserved 


OF all the great powers engaged in the late war, 
the Republic of France had to sustain the 
heaviest burden. Her richest territories were 
occupied by the invader; unparalleled sacrifices 
were imposed upon the whole people. The 
government, though formerly much criticized by 
foreign observers and by Frenchmen themselves, 
passed through the ordeal triumphantly ; and 
students of government are manifesting a new 
interest in this parliamentary system, with its 
highly centralized administrative organization, 
which has proved so capable of adjusting itself 
to grave emergencies. 
This volume by Professor Sait is the only work 
in English that describes the structure and 
practical working of the French government of 
today; for the textbooks hitherto used in our 
colleges were published a quarter of a century 
ago and have not been adequately revised. Much 
has happened in that quarter of a century. 
In certain directions French institutions have 
been profoundly modified, even transformed. 
For example, the party system, with its annual 
delegate conventions and its hierarchy of com- 
mittees, has gradually taken form in the past 
fifteen or twenty years, 



Professor Sail has made full use of the extensive 
specialized literature which has appeared re- 
cently in France, In doing this he has not 
confined his attention to the constitutional and 
legal phases of the subject, A chapter on politi- 
cal developme^it reviews the events of half a 
century i laying particular emphasis upon those 
that have affected public opinion most deeply 
and given direction to party interests. This 
chapter comes down through the elections of igiQy 
the elevation of Paul Deschanel to the Presi- 
dency, and the appointment of the Millerand 
cabinet. The national parties, which furnish 
motive power to the government, hut which are 
all but ignored in French texts, receive adequate 
treatment; their history, platforms, and organi- 
zations are set forth in some detail. Prominence 
is given also to electoral activities — registration, 
nominations, campaigning, corrupt practices, 
the casting of the vote — both under the old 
arrangements and under the new arrangements 
set up by the laws of igij, 1914, and igig. 

The author has sought to express himself simply 
and directly, without going afield and without 
obtruding unnecessarily his personal views. 
Those who wish to understand the actual con- 
ditions under which the government of France 
operates, the functioning of the political and 
administrative machinery of the present day, 
will find in this volume full satisfaction. 

The Editors 


THE author wishes to acknowledge his 
indebtedness to those who have assisted 
him, by advice and criticism, in the preparation 
of this volume; to his former colleagues in the 
Department of Public Law at Columbia Univer- 
sity, Professors Munroe Smith, H. L. McBain, 
T. R. Powell, and Charles A. Beard, the last 
now director of the New York Bureau of 
Municipal Research; and to the editors of the 
series, President David P. Barrows and Pro- 
fessor T. H. Reed. 

Edward McChesney Sait 



FR the photograph of the medallion of 
"France," which appears as the frontispiece 
of this volume, the author and the publishers 
are under obligations to the American Numis- 
matic Society. Expressions of appreciation are 
due also to the editors of La France magazine, 
New York City, for the photographs of the 
Cabinet of Alexandre Millerand, in Chapter 
IV, and of the bust by Rodin of former 
Premier Clemenceau, in Chapter IX. 




Introduction. Functioning of the Parliamentary 

System in War-time n 


I. The Constitution of 1875 1 

II. The President of the Republic 31 

III. The Ministers: Their Political Role 68 

IV. The Ministers: Their Administrative Role . 100 
V. The Senate 123 

VI. The Chamber of Deputies: Its Composition. 144 

VII. The Chamber of Deputies: Procedure 186 

VIII. Local Government 243 

IX. Political Development 272 

X. Parties 327 

XI. Administrative Courts 380 

XII. The Ordinary Courts 398 


I. Bibliography 427 

II. Prime Ministers of France under the Con- 

stitution of 1875 447 

III. Act to Amend the Organic Laws on Election 

of Deputies and to Establish Scrutin 
de liste with proportional represen- 

Index 457 


France. Medallion by Louis Bottee Frontispiece 

The Departments of France Facing page i 

Paul Deschanel 32 

Cabinet of Alexandre Millerand 70 

Facade of the Palais Bourbon 114 

Senate Chamber during Trial of Joseph Caillaux . , . 140 

Distribution of Ballots 178 

The Envelope System of Voting 178 

An Interpellation Debate 238 

The Electoral Card 254 

Georges Clemenceau. Bust by Rodin 306 

Rene Viviani 375 

Aristide Briand 376 

Court of Assizes (Steinheil Trial) 418 




IN France, as in other countries, the way lies 
open to momentous readjustments during 
the next generation. There can be no question 
that the war has shaken the whole fabric of 
society, set men free to inquire into the basis 
of their creeds, and given play to visions of 
reconstruction which a few years ago would have 
seemed academic and beyond the range of the 
practical business of life. So far, however, the 
structure and processes of French government 
show no permanent effects of the war; they 
remain today substantially what they were in 
1914. The changes which are impending will 
come not so much as the result of the war, as of 
tendencies already set in motion before the war, 
held in suspension during its course, and now 
given a new impetus, an accelerated pace. 

The emergency of war did, of course, interrupt 
the normal functioning of democratic institutions 
for the time. Silent enim leges inter arma. Such 
a phenomenon should not occasion surprise or 
lead to the conclusion that the old order has 
passed away. After all, considering the des- 



peratc situation of France in the first years of the 
war, it seems remarkable that the parliamentary 
system was not more seriously deranged. The 
war-time modifications may be considered under 
three heads: (i) The subsidence of party an- 
tagonisms; (2) the invasion of the legislative 
field by the cabinet; and (3) the invasion of the 
executive field by Parliament. 

(i) In the supreme task of saving the nation 
domestic conflicts were forgotten. Party gov- 
ernment gave way to coalition government. 
Reorganizing his cabinet in the first months of 
the war, Viviani brought in moderates like 
Alexandre Ribot and Unified Socialists like 
Marcel Sembat and Jules Guesde. Aristide 
Briand, who became premier fourteen months 
later, not only retained these men, but secured 
the cooperation of Cochin (Right), de Freycinet 
(moderate Republican), Bourgeois (right wing of 
the Radical-Socialist party), and Combes (left 
wing of the Radical-Socialist party). The ob- 
literation of party lines was further shown by 
the votes of confidence in both chambers. This 
by no means foreshadowed the permanent dis- 
appearance of party divisions. Indeed, when 
the naval and military forces of the United 
States were cast into the balance and victory 
was assured, the old partisan quarrels began to 
obtrude themselves once more. Those who 
believe with Sir Henry Maine that political parties 
originate in the combative instincts of mankind 



and suspend activity when actual warfare gives 
vent to those instincts would have prophesied 
as much. 

(2) Durffig the first five months of the war the 
executive governed alone. It issued many decrees 
of a legislative character which it had no legal 
right to issue and which it afterwards asked 
parliament to sanction retroactively. This as- 
sufnption of authority, though well suited to the 
circumstances of theitime, met with widespread 
criticism; and*- in 191 5, instead of terminating 
the regular annual sessio^iiiof parliament, as the 
constitution allowed,, after the expiration of five 
•nfonths, Viviani announced that the government 
wQuld npt ex.dfcise Jjts right of j)rorogation while 
the war'lasted. Henceforth- »,pressing war meas-/ 
ures were subject to Ihe vexatious delays of par- 
liamentary procedure. Only with resp^p py a 
few specified subjects did the chambers delegate 
legislative power to the cabinet. Their atti- 
tude was so unmistakable that Briand with- 
drew, before debate had begun, a government 
bill which would have given the cabinet legislative 
competence in matters connected with national 
defense. In January, 1917, however, the Cham- 
ber of Deputies adopted a special rule of pro- 
cedure for emergency war measures, a rule 
reducing the time allowed for consideration in 
committee and severely restricting the freedom 
of debate. 

(3) From the beginning of the regular session 

C xiii ] 


of 191 !; the chambers showed a persistent desire 
to meddle in the details of administration. They 
were particularly bent upon discussing military 
and diplomatic questions in executive sittings. 
The government, while professing to welcome par- 
liamentary cooperation, at first refused to accept 
interpellations on matters which demanded 
secrecy. Finally, however, it yielded to insistent 
pressure on this point. Parliament then took 
another step forward. On June 22, 1916, after 
executive sittings which had extended over seven 
days, the Chamber of Deputies declared itself 
resolved to give, in collaboration with the gov- 
ernment, "a more and more vigorous impulse 
to national defense. It intends to see that . . . 
the preparation of offensive and defensive meas- 
ures, industrial as well as military, shall be 
pushed forward with a care, an activity, and a 
foresight commensurate with the heroism of the 
soldiers of the Republic." The Chamber would 
therefore appoint a body of delegates to exercise 
effective control over all military services "on 
the spot" (sur place). This proposed system of 
delegates, reminiscent of a sinister institution of 
Revolutionary times, was never set up. In- 
stead, the Chamber entrusted the task of con- 
trol to its permanent committees, which were 
to report the findings of their agents both to 
the government and to the Chamber at least 
once every three months. This was approxi- 
mately what the Senate had decided upon (July, 


1916): "The Senate counts on the government 
to take, in cooperation with the chambers and 
the parliamentary grand committees, whose per- 
manent control is indispensable, all measures of 
organization and action that will bring the hour 
of victory nearer." Thus, through the medium 
of its committees and of interpellations which 
were sometimes debated for days. Parliament 
kept closely in touch with administrative affairs 
and sometimes imposed particular measures upon 
the government. Such subordination of the 
ministers, aside from any question as to whether 
it is consonant with the principles of the par- 
liamentary system, places upon them a heavy 
burden. It consumes their time and distracts 
their attention. No one can conduct a business 
well if he is constantly being asked to explain 
and justify his methods. It is to be hoped that 
this war-time activity of the committees will 
not serve as a precedent in time of peace. Demo- 
cratic government has suffered enough already 
from the incompetence of representative as- 
semblies and from their perverse hostility to 
the growth of a stable authority in the executive. 




/ Ain 

2 Aisne 

3 Allier 

4 Alpes-Marittmes 

5 Ardeche 

6 Ardennes 

7 Ariege 

8 Aube 
Q Aiide 

10 Aveyron 

11 Bas R/iiit 

12 Basses A I pes 

I s Basses Pyrenees 

14 Beljort 

15 Bouches du Rhdne 

1 6 Calvados 
J7 Cantal 
l8 Charente 

IQ Charente Inferieure 

20 Cher 

21 Correze 

22 Corse (Corsica) 
33 Cote d'Or 

34 Cotes du Nord 

25 Creuse 

26 Deux Sevres 

27 Dordogne 

28 Doiibs 
2Q Drome 

30 Eure 

31 Eure et Loire 

32 finistire 

33 Card 

34 Gers 

35 Gironde 

36 Hautes Alpes 

37 Haule-Garonne 

38 Haute-Loire 
3Q Haute-Marne 

40 Hautes-Pyrinees 63 

41 Haut-Rhin 

42 Haute-Sadne 

43 Haute-Savoie 

44 Haute-Vienne 

45 Herauh 

46 Ille-et-Vilaine 


1 ndre-et-Loire 






Loire -I nferieure 





M aine-et-Loire 




M etirthe-et-M oselle 







70 Ome 

71 Pas-de-Calais 

72 Puy-de-Dome 

73 Pyrenees-Onentalei 

74 Rhone 

75 Saone-et-Loire 

76 Sarihe 

77 Savoie 

78 Seine 

79 Seine-lnfirieure 

80 Seine-et-M arnc 
Si Sei7ie-et-0ise 

82 Somme 

83 Tarn 

84 Tarn-et-Garonne 

85 Far 

86 Vaucluse 

87 Vendie 

88 Vienne 

89 Vosges 

90 Yonne 


Government and Politics 
of France 



IT used to be the fashion to speak of France Political 
as a country of revolution and unsettled ***^*^^" 
government; of the French people as vola- after the 
tile and unstable, deficient in political genius. 
The troubled course of French history during tion 
the eight decades which followed the meeting of 
the States-General in 1789 lent to this view a 
certain appearance of plausibility. It was a 
time of perturbation. Nothing seemed to en- 
dure. The First Republic, gradually assuming 
reactionary forms, merged in the Empire of 
Napoleon; the Bourbon monarchy, restored 
after Waterloo, gave place in 1830 to a new 
monarchy which recognized the sovereignty of 
the people and the tricolor flag of the Revolu- 
tion; the second republic of 1848 was over- 
thrown by its own president who maintained 
himself as Emperor until the military disasters 
of 1870. Friance had a dozen different constitu- 
tions. But too much emphasis has been laid upon 
this epidemic of revolutions. Such violent com- 



motions are by no means peculiar to modern 
France. Everywhere, though in varying degree, 
they have attended the evolution of new politi- 
cal systems. Even in England, where the con- 
stitution has "slowly broadened down from 
precedent to precedent,** the adjustments of the 
seventeenth century were reached through civil 
war and revolution; and in fact French observers 
of that time, looking with satisfaction upon the 
stability of their own government, were inclined 
to doubt the political capacity of English- 
Perdst- Nor should it be forgotten that the period of 
f^V^ disturbance and experiment, being concerned 
mental Very largely with questions of external form 
^J"" (republic or monarchy, universal or restricted 
suffrage), did not interrupt the continuous 
growth of institutions. The wonderful adminis- 
trative machinery of today was originated by 
Bourbon kings and perfected by Napoleon. 
Through its inherited institutions the Third 
Republic is firmly rooted in the past; and be- 
cause of that fact it has confounded dismal 
prophecies and, in the course of almost half a 
century, withstood shocks which with weaker 
foundations it could hardly have survived. Indeed 
the circumstances attending the establishment 
of the Republic were, contrary to superficial indi- 
cations, favorable to its development of perma- 
nence and vigor. Unlike the fragile governments 
which Napoleon and his nephew had swept aside, 



it was not based upon logical schemes or attrac- 
tive political theories. It was based upon expe- 
diency, upon compromise, upon a wise acceptance 
of facts which made an extreme or doctrinaire 
attitude impracticable. 

The Republic, though not definitely organized Third 
until 1875, had come into being on September 4, ^^^^^^* 
1870, immediately after the capture of Louis 
Napoleon and his army at Sedan. For the next 
five months a "government of national defense," 
practically self-constituted, offered desperate re- 
sistance to the German invasion. But with the 
fall of Paris it seemed altogether hopeless to con- 
tinue the struggle. On February 8, 1871, under 
the terms of an armistice, a National Assembly 
was elected by universal manhood suffrage and 
entrusted with the decision of peace or war. 
This Assembly not only made peace with Ger- 
many, but, going beyond the stated purpose for 
which it had been convoked, governed France 
for the next five years and, before dissolving, 
formulated the existing republican constitution 
of 1875. 

The elections had been held to determine, not Mon- 
the future form of government, but whether the *^*^?^!.* 

P ' , . majority 

war should be continued or ended. No political in 
issue was raised directly. It so happened, how- ^**^^°^ 
ever, that Leon Gambetta and other leaders of biy 
the Republican party opposed all thought of 
peace. "War to the bitter end, resistance to 
the last stage of exhaustion," they urged in an 



official circular. And because the masses of the 
people were tired of war and no longer enter- 
tained any hope of success, Republican candi- 
dates fared badly. There were 738 members in 
the Assembly.^ Although their distribution 
among the various parties cannot accurately be 
fixed,^ it has been estimated that some 30 were 
Imperialists, 200 Legitimists, 200 Orleanists, and 
200 Republicans, the rest of the members having 
no settled or declared party affiliations. That 
these figures did not represent the relative 
strength of parties in the country was demon- 
strated soon after the conclusion of peace; for 
in the by-elections of July, 1871, Republicans 
were chosen to fill 100 out of iii vacancies. 
Under the circumstances, seeing that they had 
a substantial majority in the Assembly and 
could count on no such good fortune in a fresh 
election, the monarchists naturally enough as- 
cribed to the assembly constituent pov/ers and 
wished to prolong its life until arrangements for 
a restoration of monarchy could be effected. 
Their difficulty was neatly indicated by Thiers. 
**There is only one throne," he said, "and there 
are three claimants for a seat on it." Only two 
of the three could be considered seriously at the 
time. The Legitimist claimant was the Count 

1 After the members from Alsace-Lorraine (ceded territory) 
had withdrawn. 

2 See Leon Jacques, Les Partis politiques (1913), pages 



of Chambord, grandson of Charles X, an honor- 
able, narrow-minded man, who clung obstinately 
to the doctrine of divine right; the Orleanist 
claimant was the Count of Paris, grandson of 
Louis Philippe. Independent action by either 
party gave little promise of success; positive 
results could be achieved only through a pooling 
of interests, a union of parliamentary forces. 
Bitter as had been the antagonism between the 
two branches of the royal house, reconciliation 
now seemed, in the face of such an opportunity, 
imperative. Since the Count of Chambord 
was childless and more than fifty years of 
age, the Orleanists might be satisfied with an 
agreement designating the Count of Paris as his 

Meanwhile the Republic existed as a provi- Provi- 
sional, working form of government. The Na- ^^°°^ 
tional Assembly, soon after its election, had zation 
chosen as **head of the executive power of the 
French Republic" Adolphe Thiers, the vener- 
able statesman who had been prime minister 
under Louis Philippe and who, because of his 
services in seeking European intervention and 
arranging the armistice, enjoyed a remarkable 
popularity.^ Six months later, under the Rivet 
law of August 31, 1871, he received the title of 
President; and it was provided that he as well 
as the ministers whom he appointed should be 
responsible to the Assembly and that all his 
^ He had been elected to the Assembly in 26 departments. 


of the 


acts should be countersigned by the ministers.^ 
Thiers, being a member of the Assembly and 
responsible to it, did not assume the place of a 
mere titular executive, notwithstanding the re- 
quirement that his acts must be countersigned. 
Mounting the tribune and advocating a personal 
policy, he actually absorbed the authority of 
the ministers; and this situation was not much 
altered when a subsequent law restricted his 
right of addressing the Assembly and required 
interpellations to be addressed to the ministers 
alone.^ The change accomplished by the Rivet 
law, while apparently conceding a more regular 
status to the Republic, was made under care- 
ful reservations. According to the preamble of 
the law, it was designed as a temporary arrange- 
ment "Until the establishment of the definitive 
institutions of the country . . . without in any 
degree altering the basis of things." Indeed the 
Rivet law somewhat embarrassed Republican 
deputies because, in making this constitutional 
change, the National Assembly had expressly 
declared that "it has the right to use the con- 
stituent power, an essential attribute of the 
sovereignty with which it is invested." If it 

^ Anderson, The Constitutions and Other Select Documents 
Illustrative of the History of France lySg-igoy (1908), page 604. 

' See law of March 13, 1873, in Anderson, op. cit., page 606. 
When MacMahon became President, being a soldier and not 
an orator, he communicated with the assembly by written 
messages alone. In this way ministerial responsibility, as 
understood in the parliamentary system, began to take shape. 



could set up a president, it could equally well 
set up a king, and the monarchists, possessing, 
when united, a decisive majority, had only to 
reach an agreement as to who should be the 
king. Their chief obstacle lay in the obstinacy 
of the Legitimist pretender. He would not sacri- 
fice the white flag of the Old Regime. "France 
will call me," he announced, "and I will come to 
her just as I am, with my principles and my flag. 
On the subject of that flag conditions have been 
mentioned to which I cannot submit." ^ Since 
the army and the nation were devoted to the 
tricolor, — "that beloved flag," as one of the 
Orleanist princes styled it, — Chambord's atti- 
tude placed his adherents in an awkward 
situation. It also converted Thiers to open 
acceptance of the Republic. 

Thiers was not a Republican when he became Thiers 
"head of the executive power"; the Orleanists ****^<*<«" 

. . mon- 

regarded him as an indispensable leader of their archists 
party; the Left ^ distrusted him. Upon assum- 
ing oflfice, it is true, he promised to make a 
"loyal experiment" with the Republic and en- 
trusted the three most important cabinet posts 
to Republicans. But he represented himself to 
Legitimists and Orleanists as favorable to a 
restoration based upon the fusion of the two par- 

* Manifesto of July 5, 1871. Hanotaux, Contemporary 
Franccj Vol. I, page 121. 

» For the meaning of the terms " Right," "Left,* "Center" 
see Chapter VII. 



ties; and on March lo, 1871, he gave a definite 
undertaking, known as the Bordeaux Compact,^ 
that while the work of national reorganiza- 
tion proceeded under a Republican government, 
nothing would be done to prejudice the interests 
of the monarchical parties. It was the obvious 
failure of fusion which led him to advocate a 
permanent organization of the Republic — "the 
form of government," he said, "which divides us 
least." This he did in November, 1872. "The 
reason which determined me, who am an old 
partisan of the monarchy," he explained later,^ 
"is that today, for you, for me, practically, the 
monarchy is absolutely impossible." But Legiti- 
mists and Orleanists did not beheve it impossi- 
ble; they still entertained vague hopes; and on 
May 23, 1873, af^ter the personnel of the cabinet 
had been modified in a RepubHcan direction and 
a bill had been introduced providing for perma- 
nent Republican institutions,^ they carried a vote 
of want of confidence. Next day Thiers resigned. 
Failure The defection of Thiers, the slender majority 

°* w°t" ^^ ^^ (including a dozen Imperialists) which had 
schemes been mustered to overthrow him, and the impres- 
sive success of the Left in by-elections warned 
monarchist leaders that their opportunity was 
slipping away, that fusion must be consummated 

^ The assembly sat at Bordeaux for a few weeks, removing 
later to Versailles. 

2 Hanotaux, op. cit.y Vol. I, page 635. 

3 Anderson, op. cit., page 622. 



forthwith or not at all. They chose as the new 
President, Marshal MacMahon, a distinguished 
soldier who had served Charles X, Louis Philippe, 
and Louis Napoleon with equal fidelity and who, 
though actively identified with no party, was 
known to sympathize with the Legitimist cause. 
An Orleanist, de Broglie, became prime minister. 
He proceeded to discipline RepubHcan newspapers 
and to "purify'* the civil service. Final prepara- 
tions were made for the restoration. First the 
conflicting claims of the two pretenders were 
adjusted. The Count of Paris, visiting Chambord 
at Frohsdorf, recognized him as the legitimate 
king and promised that no member of the Orleans 
family would stand in his way. There still re- 
mained the question of the flag. But in October 
that too seemed to have been adjusted. Cham- 
bord was represented, though incorrectly, as 
being ready to make a compromise with the 
assembly; and the Royalists, knowing that some 
such concession was essential to their plans, 
believed or pretended to believe that the im- 
possible had actually happened. Everything was 
ready, even to the fleur-de-lis carpet for the royal 
carriage. At this critical moment, on October 
27, the pretender's sublime conceit and mistaken 
sense of honor interposed to wreck the whole 
scheme. As a phrase of the time expressed it, 
he threw his crown out of the window. He de- 
clared that he could not accept conditions and be- 
come "the legitimist king of the Revolution. . . . 



My person is nothing: my principle is every- 
thing. ... I am the necessary pilot, the only 
one capable of guiding the ship to port, be- 
cause I have the mission and authority for 
that." 1 
The Fusion had failed. It now remained to save 

Septen- vv^h^t could be saved for the future. To the 

Royalists the presidency of MacMahon was, as 

Broglie said, "the clay rampart" which might 
protect them from the rising flood of radicahsm. 
On November 19, therefore, the presidential 
office was entrusted to him for a period of seven 
years, the Septennate, and provision was made 
for the appointment of a committee of 30 mem- 
bers which should undertake the drafting of a 
new constitution. The immediate voting of the 
Septennate and the postponement of other con- 
stitutional arrangements suited the Orleanists 
especially, for they cherished the pious hope 
that Chambord*s death, in the interval, might 
leave the way clear for the Count of Paris; and 
it suited the Legitimists as well, they being 
equally anxious to reserve the future. But the 
policy of postponement had its limitations. Both 
parties must eventually face the alternative of 
accepting the Republic or appealing to the people 
for a decision. The moderate Right, regarding 
dissolution and Bonapartism as the two evils to 
be chiefly feared, gradually came to acquiesce in 
the estabHshment of a "conservative republic." 
* Anderson, op. cit., pages 627-630. 



The committee of thirty, after long delay, re- Adop- 
ported a constitutional measure which did not ^°^^ 
contemplate the Republic as a permanent system, Consti- 
but which simply organized the Septennate (a ^^^^ 
bicameral legislature taking the place of the 
assembly) and provided that at the end of 
MacMahon's term the chambers should unite 
and "decide upon the measures to be taken." ' 
To the first article an amendment was offered, 
the famous "Wallon amendment" of January 
30, 1875.2 M. Wallon, _who knew that the As- 
sembly was not yet prepared to endorse the 
principle of a Republic, resorted to strategy. His 
amendment, looking beyond Marshal MacMahon, 
fixed the method of electing the President and 
the term of office. Every one understood what 
it implied; Wallon was accused of proclaiming 
the Republic. "Gentlemen," he replied, "I 
proclaim nothing. I am simply taking things as 
they are. ... I do not ask you to make it final. 
What is final.? But do not call it provisional. 
Make a government which has within it the 
germs of life and preservation." ^ Wallon has been 
called the "father of the constitution"; for al- 
though his amendment carried by only one vote 
(353 to 352), it made a breach in the resistance 
of the moderate Royalists and enabled him to 
secure further modifications. The bill finally 

^ Anderson, op. cit.y page 632. 
* Anderson, of. cit.y page 633. 
 Hanotaux, op. cit.. Vol. Ill, page 154. 


passed, on February 25, by a majority which 
had grown to 171. It was not in any sense a 
comprehensive measure. The situation within 
the Assembly was so uncertain, the necessity of 
reducing controversy and friction was so impera- 
tive, that the bill did nothing more than formu- 
late the essential features of executive and 
legislative organization. Afterwards, omissions 
had to be supplied. Instead of amending the 
original law, however, the Assembly enacted, 
on July 16, a supplementary law regulating the 
relations of the public powers, i.e. the organs of 
government. These two laws, along with the 
law of February 24 which deals exclusively with 
the Senate, form the Constitution of 1875. 

These three "constitutional laws,'* as they are 
called, deserve careful examination. For rea- 
sons which will soon appear they differ radically 
from such a fundamental instrument as the 
Constitution of the United States, which fixes 
the respective spheres of central and local gov- 
ernment and depends, for its exact meaning, 
upon elaborate judicial interpretation. No one 
can hope to understand this difference or to 
realize the peculiar characteristics of the French 
system without some knowledge of the texts 
themselves.^ But it may be serviceable to in- 
clude here an abstract of their provisions. 

^ For the text of the constitutional laws see: Anderson, 
op. cit.'t Currier, Constitutional and Organic Laws of France 
in the Annals of the American Academy ^ March, 1893; Duguit 



The law of February 25 has nine articles. It Consa- 
lodges the legislative power in a Chamber of ^"**^ 
Deputies which shall be elected by universal suf- Febm- 
frage and a Senate whose composition and powers *^^^ 
shall be regulated by a special law (Art. i). It 
prescribes the method of choosing the Presi- 
dent, the two chambers meeting together for 
that purpose (Art. 2), briefly enumerates his 
powers, and requires that his every act must be 
countersigned by a minister (Art. 3). The minis- 
ters are responsible to the chambers, the Presi- 
dent is responsible only in case of high treason 
(Art. 6). When the presidential office becomes 
vacant through death or resignation, the cham- 
bers shall proceed immediately to the choice of 
a new President, the council of ministers mean- 
while exercising the executive power (Art. 7). 
The President may, with the consent of the 
Senate, dissolve the Chamber of Deputies (Art. 
5). To amend the constitution the chambers, 
having previously decided in favor of revision, 
shall meet in National Assembly; but during 
the term of Marshal MacMahon revision can 
take place only upon his initiative (Art. 8). The 
law also regulates the appointment and dis- 
missal of councilors of state ^ (Art. 4) and fixes 
the seat of government at Versailles (Art 9). 

et Monier, Les Constitutions et les principales lots politiques 
de la France depuis 178Q (1898; new edition, 1915); and 
Dodd, Modern Constitutions (1909), Vol. I. 
* See Chapters IV and XI. 



Consd- The law of February 24 ^ has eleven articles, 

httionai jj. describes how the 300 Senators shall be chosen 

law of 'f 

Fcbru- and the term for which they shall sit (Arts. 1-7 
"^** and 10). It gives the Senate a legislative au- 
thority coordinate with that of the Chamber 
of Deputies except in the case of money bills 
(Art. 8) and provides that the Senate may be 
constituted as a high court of justice to try the 
President, or the ministers, or persons accused of 
attacks upon the security of the state (Art. 9). 
Consti- The law of July 26 has 14 articles. It enters 

tutioiui jj^^Q some detail regarding the sessions of the 
juiyi$ chambers and the right of the President to ad- 
journ them (Arts, i, 2, 4, 5). It establishes the 
usual parliamentary privileges of freedom of 
speech and freedom from arrest, makes the 
chambers judge of the eligibility and election of 
their own members, and requires them to elect 
their bureaux of officials annually (Arts. lo-ii, 
13-14). The President may communicate with 
the chambers by means of messages; and the 
ministers, who have free access to both cham- 
bers, may speak at any time and, in the discus- 
sion of any bill, be represented by commissioners 
(Art. 6). The President is entrusted with a 
suspensive veto; that is, with the right of re- 
quiring the chambers to reconsider any bill 
which they have passed (Art. 7). Without the 
consent of the chambers he cannot declare war 

* Promulgated, in accordance with Article 11, after the 
law of Feb. 25. 



or ratify treaties which touch upon certain 
enumerated subjects (Arts. 8-9). Precautions 
are taken to ensure the prompt meeting of the 
chambers as the National Assembly to elect a 
new President (Art. 3). Further details are 
given regarding the procedure in the impeach- 
ment of President or ministers and in the trial 
of persons accused of making attacks upon the 
safety of the state (Art. 12). 

A cursory reading of the constitution reveals Pecu- 
its unsystematic, fragmentary character. The ^'f^** 
arrangement is disorderly; the area covered is consti- 
incomplete. It includes some matters which ^^^ 
are of quite minor importance; providing, for 
example, that the chambers shall meet in public 
except when, under their own rules, they decide 
to meet in secret and that they shall elect anew 
each year their presiding officers. It ignores, 
on the other hand, some matters which Ameri- 
cans might consider essential to any constitu- 
tional scheme. There is not a word about the 
judicial power, not a word about civil liberty, 
the private rights and immunities of the indi- 
vidual. "These are regrettable lacunae," says 
Raymond Poincare.^ They are all the more singu- 
lar because of the vogue which the Rights of 
Man and the doctrine of the separation of powers 
had in revolutionary days. The method of elect- 
ing the Chamber of Deputies, aside from the fact 
that it must be chosen by universal suffrage, is 

' Houf France is Governed (1913), page 162. 


not prescribed, nor is the length of its mandate; 
the duration of an existing chamber may be and 
has been extended by statute. In fact, without 
pursuing the subject further, it is obvious that 
the constitution, while attempting to do no 
more than indicate the bare framework of gov- 
ernment, does not by any means occupy the 
whole of its Hmited field. 
Consti- : The explanation of the peculiarities of the 
tutioa constitution has already been suggested. The 

based oa . 

com- National Assembly, elected to make peace, under- 
promise took to make a constitution. Under the pressure 
of circumstances, with faltering steps, it created 
first the Presidency, then the Septennate; and, 
when intending merely to organize the Septen- 
nate, it was persuaded to sanction a continuing 
Republican system. The majority, happening 
to be royalist because the Royalists had favored 
peace, wished to establish a monarchy and 
actually did establish a republic. They had 
been compelled to accept compromise, to agree 
upon a solution which would leave the future 
completely untrammeled and "let each man 
preserve his faith and his hopes." ^ The moder- 
ate Royalists and the moderate Republicans had 
effected a combination, the former abandoning 
their opposition to the Republic, the latter sup- 
porting a method of constitutional amendment 
which would facilitate a subsequent transition 

* Casimir de Ventavon in the National Assembly, Hanotaux, 
op. cit.y Vol. Ill, page 135. 



to monarchy. The constitution, therefore, re- 
sembles a treaty, a treaty of practical adjust- 
ment at the end of an inconclusive conflict; and 
the matters dealt with are those which were 
most discussed at the time and which it seemed 
most desirable to render plain. ^ The constitu- 
tion did not pretend to speak the final word, to 
secure the triumph of one party or the other. 
There lay its greatest merit; for it is idle to 
suppose that the terms of such a compact could 
arrest the social and economic forces which ulti- 
mately shape a nation's destinies. 

Indeed the constitution of a country does not impor- 
consist merely in a written instrument presumed *^"'^®°' 

. ^ prece- 

to be binding on the government which operates dentin 
under it. Great Britain possesses no such instru- **^® ^®^ 

I . . . . system 

ment; the written constitution of the United 
States is, as Mr. Wilson has said,^ "only the 
sap-center of a system of government vastly 
larger than the stock from which it has branched." 
A constitution may broadly be defined as the 
sum of laws and practices which regulate the 
fundamental concerns of government. Nowa- 
days we often speak of this or that political 
practice as being part of the "unwritten con- 
stitution"; and because we have found that law 
may be overlaid by custom and made to accom- 

* Esmein, Elements de droit constitutionnel (1914), page 628; 
Saleilles, *^The Development of the Presefit Constitution of 
France/' Annals of the American Academy, July, 1895, page 12. 

* Congressional Government (1885), page 7. 



plish ends quite contrary to its intention, written 
constitutions no longer exercise, as they did in 
the eighteenth century, a magic spell. That the 
constitutional laws of 1875 embody only a part 
of the French constitution, considered in the 
broad sense, may be gathered from the fact that 
such important subjects as justice, administra- 
tion, and local government lie altogether outside 
their purview. The larger part must be sought 
in the legislation of an earlier as well as of a later 
time and in a mass of precedents; for notwith- 
standing the rather tumultuous course of political 
development since the Revolution, it is an ac- 
cepted principle of French public law that the 
legislative acts of a de facto government, however 
irregular its origin and however short its dura- 
tion, remain in force until they have been form- 
ally repealed. French publicists constantly 
support their contentions by precedents drawn 
from an earlier period, even from the Old Re- 
gime. Thus Duguit maintains ^ that, in spite of 
the silence of the constitutional laws, revenue 
and supply must be voted annually, the principle 
of annual taxes having been consecrated in the 
Constitution of 1848 and the principle of annual 
supply in the Constitution of 1791. If govern- 
ment is an organic thing constantly changing in 
response to its environment, then the most vigor- 
ous government, like the most vigorous plant or 
animal, is the one that can most easily adjust 
* Traite de droit constitutionnel (191 1), Vol. II, page 381. 



itself to varying conditions. The French govern- 
ment, because of the freedom with which it 
develops outside the domain of written law, 
has shown itself capable of a healthy, spontaneous 
growth. **It is undeniable," said an acute 
critic,^ "that by placing the French constitution 
in the midst of the organic elements of the coun- 
try and depriving it of the character of a written 
constitution, which the least revolution has 
proved sufficient to overthrow, the convention 
of 1875 has assured, contrary, it is true, to its 
aims and secret wishes, the existence of the or- 
ganization which it has founded. It has restored, 
in fact, the French constitution to the domain 
of historical evolution. This alone, in view of 
the inextricable complications which are con- 
stantly occurring, can place the political organi- 
zation of the country upon a solid basis capable 
of resisting all internal shocks." 

One striking illustration may be given of the is the 
way in which the constitution maintains its ^^<^^*J*- 
contact with the past. The constitutional laws Rights 
of 1875 contain no bill of rights, create no sphere ^^ 
of civil liberty which the government must tive? 
respect; and in this they differ from all pre- 
ceding constitutions, even those of the Napole- 
onic period. But such an omission does not 
necessarily imply that the Declaration of the 
Rights of Man, which was placed at the head of 
the Constitution of 1791, has lost all binding 
1 Saleilles, op. cit.j page 15. 



force. It survives in parliamentary debates and 
in political arguments very much as Magna 
Carta survives in England; and when, in the 
discussion of some controversial measure, more 
practical grounds of criticism fail, its opponents 
are quite likely to urge that it is unconstitutional 
as violating the principle of liberty or the prin- 
ciple of equality or some other principle of the 
Declaration. Do laws which restrict the freedom 
of contract between employer and employee vio- 
late the principle of liberty? Is the principle of 
equality violated by a law which forbids the 
members of unauthorized religious orders to 
teach in the schools.'' Professor Duguit goes 
so far as to maintain that the Declaration, formu- 
lating the contract of a new society set up by the 
Revolution, has a permanent character and is 
superior to constitutions themselves.^ It **has 
preserved, even in our time, all its positive legal 
force. We believe that, if today the legislator 
made a law violating one of the principles formu- 
lated in the Declaration of Rights of 1789, that 
law would be unconstitutional. We even believe 
that the Declaration of Rights of 1789 is binding 
not only upon the ordinary lawmaker, but also 
upon the constituent lawmaker." In other words 
a constitutional amendment, though adopted in 
strict conformity with the prescribed procedure, 
would not be valid if it encroached upon the 
provisions of the Declaration. This is, of course, 

1 Op. cit.y Vol. II, page 13. 


an extreme position shared by few authoritative 
writers. Esmein maintains that the Declara- 
tion has no legal force today, that it never pos- 
sessed more than a dogmatic value, and that 
"the legal situation is very much the same 
whether it exists or does not exist." ^ 

But even if Professor Duguit is right, it must be No judi- 
held in mind that the term "unconstitutional" ^^f^^- 

trol in 

does not mean to a Frenchman what it means to France 
an American. In the United States an "unconsti- 
tutional act is one which, conflicting with the 
express or implied provisions of the constitution, 
the courts will not recognize as law. In France, 
on the other hand, the obstructive tactics of the 
courts before 1789 irritated the friends of reform 
and led the National Assembly, in a law of 1790 
and in the Constitution of 1791, to prohibit their 
interfering directly or indirectly with the exer- 
cise of legislative power. These prohibitions still 
prevail as a part of French public law. The 
highest court of the land has on more than one 
occasion refused to inquire into the constitu- 
tionality of a law. The leading case is that of 
the proprietors and publishers of the newspaper 
National who were tried without jury under a 
law of 1830 and who appealed on the ground 
that their constitutional rights, as fixed in the 
Charter of 1830, had been denied. The Court of 
Cassation held that a law "deliberated and pro- 
mulgated according to the constitutional forms 

* Op. cit.f page 564. 



prescribed by the Charter" could not be attacked 
as unconstitutional.^ There has been until 
recently no disposition to criticize this decision 
or to invest the courts with control over the 
discretion of the legislature. When in the Con- 
stitutions of 1799 and 1852 machinery was de- 
vised to prevent legislative encroachments, the 
necessary powers were conferred not upon the 
courts, but upon the Senate, this body becoming, 
under both the Napoleons, little more than a 
docile instrument. 
Why The question of judicial control is a question 

***"^ of expediency. All political institutions must 
Is op- ultimately be judged, as Bismarck contended, 
^^^ not by the test of theory, but by the test of 
practical results. In France, according to the 
dominant opinion, the American system would 
be unnecessary, if not anomalous, because in the 
first place the government is unitary — there is 
no balance to maintain between central and local 
authorities; and because in the second place 
there are no limitations upon Parliament in favor 
of personal and property rights. If, notwith- 
standing these facts, the courts were permitted 
to determine the validity of statutes, they might 
very well attribute constitutional force to the 
vague principles of the Declaration of Rights and 
thereby exert a vexatious restraint upon Parlia- 
ment; in fact those who propose to invest them 

* Sirey, Recueil (1833), Vol. I, page 357. See also Dugult, 
op. cit.y Vol. I, page 158. 



with this power propose at the same time to 
include in the constitution guarantees of civil 
liberty.^ Such are the practical considerations. 
But French jurists, who prefer to deal with ab- 
stract principles and who are therefore not 
always safe guides to an understanding of politi- 
cal questions, do not ask how judicial control 
would work. They argue instead that it would 
violate the doctrine of the separation of powers 
as well as the doctrine that law is an expression 
of the sovereign will. Those who favor judicial 
control aptly answer that law is nothing more 
than the expression of Parliament's will and 
that the separation of powers would not be 
violated by a court which refused to recognize 
an unconstitutional act as law; for if the judicial 
power must be bound by an unconstitutional 
law, then it is inferior to the legislative power 
and the separation of powers is violated. 

There is a considerable, and apparently a Tend- 
growing, body of opinion favorable to the estab- T^^^ 
lishment of judicial control. Two conservative its es- 
parties, the Liberal Action and the Progressists, 
have included it in their platforms.^ A number 
of eminent publicists, such as Maurice Hauriou 
and Gaston Jeze, have expressed themselves 
strongly in its favor.^ Some contend that the 

^ Desfougeres, Le Controle judiciaire de la constitutionnaliti 
des lots (191 3), page 116. 

2 Jacques, op. cit., pages 486, 489. 

' Gamer, Political Science Review, Vol. IX, page 661. 




courts should, as in the United States, assert 
the prerogative without formal authorization; ^ 
others urge the necessity of constitutional amend- 
ments.^ The most interesting point of view is 
developed by Professor Duguit who formerly 
believed "that there would be no advantage in 
importing the American system into France and 
that it might even provoke conflicts, create a 
new cause of agitation and division." ^ Accord- 
ing to his later opinion, continental countries are 
tending to accept the doctrine of judicial control, 
this appearing in the attitude of German pub- 
licists and in the actual assumption of power by 
the courts of Norway (1904) and Roumania 
(1912). "In the near future," he says, "French 
jurisprudence will be led by the force of things 
to find the same solution." ^ The Council of 
State (the highest administrative court) ^ has 
since 1907 assumed the right to determine the 
constitutionality of ordinances which have been 
issued by virtue of a delegation of legislative 
power to the executive.^ Now if there is delega- 
tion of legislative power, such ordinances must 

* For instance Jeze in Revue generate d' administration, 1895, 
Vol. II, page 411. 

2 Such as offered in 1894, 1903, 1904, 1907, 1909. Des- 
fougeres, op. cit., pages 127 et seq. 
« Op. cit., Vol. II, page 159. 

* Les Transformations du droit public (1913), page 102. 
' See Chapter XI. 

* Revue du droit public, Vol. XXV, page 51; Political 
Science Review, Vol. IX, page 649. 



logically be regarded as acts of Parliament, 
because the term "delegation" implies a transfer 
of competence or it has no meaning at all. Will 
not the Council of State as a next step be com- 
pelled to receive complaints against the validity 
of formal laws? "The distance is short and will 
be traveled easily." 

This anxiety to restrict the competence of PubUc 
Parliament — or, in other words, the free play °^^^°^ 

» •' as a saie- 

of public opinion expressing itself through Parlia- gmid 
ment — is regarded with suspicion by the parties 
on the Left. To them it seems to rest partly upon 
the dissatisfaction of conservative and clerical 
Interests with the prevailing sentiments of the 
electorate and partly upon the preoccupation 
of the writers with theories rather than facts. 
Theorists are dissatisfied with the imperfections 
of the existing constitution from the standpoint 
of logic and political philosophy, forgetting that 
its practical character has given it a permanence 
which the philosophical constitutions of the Abbe 
Sieyes did not achieve. If it could be shown 
that Parliament had abused its unrestricted 
power, that it had shown little respect for the 
rights of property and person, the argument for 
judicial control would at least have a plausible 
basis. But Parliament has manifested no such 
inclinations. Public opinion is alert In France and 
constitutes the best guarantee a people can have. 
It is so in England; as Esmein observes,^ there is 
1 Op. cit.y page 564. 


no country in the world where private rights are 
better assured than in England and where the 
freedom of the legislature is at the same time 
more absolute. And even if the agitation for 
judicial control should succeed, public opinion 
could assert itself against the courts by securing 
amendments to the constitutional laws. 
Method The process of amendment, as described in 
°' Article 8 of the law of February 25, is exceed- 

ing the ingly simple.^ "The chambers shall have the 
consti- right, by separate resolutions, taken in each by 
an absolute majority of votes, either upon their 
own initiative or upon the request of the Presi- 
dent of the Republic, to declare a revision of the 
constitutional laws necessary. After each of the 
two chambers shall have come to this decision, 
they shall meet together in National Assembly 
to proceed with the revision. The acts effecting 
revision of the constitutional laws, in whole or 
in part, shall be passed by an absolute majority 
of the members composing the National Assem- 
bly." By an amendment of 1884 "the Republi- 
can form of government shall not be made the 
subject of a proposed revision." The machinery, 
therefore, is set in motion by the two chambers, 
which adopt resolutions upon the Initiative either 
of private members or of the cabinet (which acts 
in the name of the President), these resolutions 
being theoretically distinct and actually identical. 

1 See Jean Auffray, &tude sur la facility de la revision de 
notre constitution (1908). 



The National Assembly ^ then meets of full 
right. Although similar in name and composi- 
tion to the National Assembly which elects the 
President, it is legally a different body. Nor 
can it be regarded simply as a combination of 
the two chambers. It is an entirely new assembly 
consisting of all the senators and all the deputies; 
and hence the President cannot, by an adjourn- 
ment of both chambers or by a dissolution of the 
Chamber of Deputies, prevent or postpone its 
meeting.^ Under a law of 1879 it is required to 
sit at Versailles, the purpose being not only to 
secure a hall of adequate size, but also to avoid 
the possible dangers of Paris. Decisions must 
be taken "by an absolute majority of the mem- 
bers composing the National Assembly,'* which 
means, according to textbooks and the interpre- 
tation adopted in 1884 by the assembly itself, 
half plus one of the legal number of members 
without deducting vacancies caused by resigna- 
tion, death, or otherwise.^ 

The powers of the National Assembly, when National 
once it has convened, are not made altogether ^*^I 
plain by the constitution. Is it subject to any outumi- 
limitations? In 1884 it apparently imposed upon ***^°°s 
itself a limitation! by providing that the Re- 
publican form of government could not be made 
the subject of a proposed amendment. Esmein 

* Popularly known as the " Congress." 

* Duguit, Traite de droit constiiutionnel. Vol. II, page 527. 

* Jd.f page 528; Esmein, op. cit.y page 1072. 



holds that this is binding upon the National 
Assembly;^ so does Raymond Poincare. "Any 
revision which would have as its object the sub- 
stitution of a monarchical system for the Repub- 
lic," says the latter,^ "would be illegal and 
revolutionary. The head of the state would 
have the right, as it would be his duty, to refuse 
to promulgate such a law if voted." It is mani- 
fest, however, that the President can legally 
exercise no discretion in promulgating constitu- 
tional amendments and that he cannot even use 
the suspensive veto which he possesses in the 
case of ordinary legislation.^ The sound view 
seems to be that what the National Assembly 
has enacted it may at a later time repeal; * 
and this view was taken by the prime minister, 
Jules Ferry, when he proposed the amendment 
in question, "We would not be worthy of pre- 
siding over the government of this great coun- 
try," he said, "or of enjoying the confidence of 
Parliament, if we labored under the illusion that 
a clause in a constitution can make that consti- 
tution eternal. What we ask of you is to declare 
that the Republic is the definitive form of 
government." A further question arises as to 

* Op. cit., page 1074. 

* Op. cit., page 163. 

* Esmein, op. cit.y page 1081; Duguit, op. cit.., Vol. II, 
page 532. 

* Duguit, op. cit.y Vol. II, page 530; Burgess, Political 
Science and Comparative Constitutional Law (1890), Vol. I, 
page 172. 



whether the National Assembly is limited by 
the specific proposals contained in the resolutions 
of the chambers. If the chambers have proposed 
the amendment of a particular article of the con- 
stitution, perhaps in a particular sense, can the 
National Assembly proceed to amend other 
articles or to revise the whole constitution? 
"We do not hesitate to reply," says Professor 
Duguit,^ ''that the assembly is not at all bound 
by the resolutions of the chambers." If it is 
constituent, it remains so even when the resolu- 
tions cover only specific points. Practice sus- 
tains this view; for in 1884, going beyond the 
scope of the resolutions, the assembly provided 
that "members of families which have reigned in 
France are ineligible to the Presidency." The 
argument on the other side can hardly be taken 
seriously. It maintains that since the consent 
of the chambers is necessary for a meeting of 
the National Assembly, that consent may be 
given conditionally, that is, for certain limited 
purposes alone.^ But this deduction, besides 
finding no support in precedent or in the language 
of the constitution, is logically unsound. 

The constitution has been amended by the Changes 
National Assembly on two occasions: Tune IQ, ^^^^^^ 


1879, when Article 9 of the Constitutional Law tution 
of February 2C, which fixed the seat of the ex- ^'"*^® 


ecutive power and of the two chambers at Ver- 

* Op. cit. Vol. II, page 531. 

* Esmein, op. cit.t page 1074. 



sailles, was repealed; and August 13, 1884, when 
four amendments were adopted. The first pro- 
vided that after a dissolution of the Chamber of 
Deputies a new election should be held within 
two months; the second, that the Republican 
form of government could not be made the sub- 
ject of a proposed revision and that the mem- 
bers of families which had reigned in France 
should be ineligible to the presidency; the third, 
that the first seven articles of the law of Febru- 
ary 24 on the organization of the Senate should 
no longer have a constitutional character; and 
the fourth repealed Paragraph 3, Article i, of 
the law of July 16 which had required public 
prayers on the Sunday after the opening of the 
parliamentary session. 




THE French President occupies the position The 
of a constitutional king. He is a titular ^^^^^^ 
executive, nominally endowed with large powers like a 
and really restrained from employing them by ^^*"" 
the action of a responsible parliamentary cabinet, king 
That his tenure is elective and not hereditary, 
temporary and not permanent, does not essen- 
tially change his legal status. He is, as Professor 
Duguit describes him, "a constitutional king for 
seven years.'* ^ If reelected for successive terms, 
he might hold office longer than Napoleon or 
Louis XVIII or any post-revolutionary ruler of 
France. Naturally he does not enjoy the social 
prestige of an hereditary king; but if he possesses 
political experience, sound judgment, and force 
of character, he can exercise an important in- 
fluence upon his ministers and upon public 
opinion.2 He lives in almost regal state. ParHa- 
ment appropriates each year $240,000, half for 
salary and half for household and traveling ex- 
penses. The nation has placed at his disposal 
two official residences: the Palace of the filysee 

^ Traite de droit consiituiionnel, Vol. I, page 406. 
* See Munroe Smith in Review of Reviews (American), 
Vol. XXXIII (1906), page 165. 



which dates from the beginning of the eighteenth 
century and the Chateau of Rambouillet which 
has a splendid park and forest, the scene of many 
official hunting parties. In the filysee the Presi- 
dent entertains on a lavish scale, giving dinners 
and receptions, garden parties and dances. He 
presides on the occasion of any national ceremony. 
The elaborate civil and military honors which are 
accorded him as he travels through the country 
contribute not a little to the dignity of his position. 
Election The President is elected by the Senate and 
^ Chamber of Deputies united in National Assembly 

Assembly and sitting at Versailles.^ Normally the election 
takes place one month before the expiration of a 
presidential term or, in case the government has 
failed in its duty of convoking the Assembly, 
fifteen days before, the chambers then meeting of 
full right and without a formal summons.^ But, 
as a matter of fact, only four Presidents have 
served a full term: Jules Grevy (first term 1879- 
1886); Emile Loubet (i 899-1 906); Armand 
Fallieres (1906-1913); and Raymond Poincare 
(1913-1920). Five times the National Assembly 
has been convoked to fill a vacancy. Three Presi- 
dents resigned: MacMahon in 1879, Grevy in 
1887 (second term), and Casimir-Perier in 1895. 
Two died in office: Sadi Carnot in 1894 and Felix 
Faure in 1899. The constitution expressly con- 

* Constitutional law of Feb. 25, Art. 2; and law of 1879. 

* Constitutional law of July 16, Art. 3; Duguit, op. cit.^ 
Vol. II, page 419. 




templates vacancies occurring because of death 
or resignation and provides, by way of precaution, 
for vacancies which may occur "for any other 
reason." ^ It does not provide, as in the United 
States, that another officer shall complete the 
unexpired term; there is no vice president. 
Since the method of election is so simple and 
expeditious, the constitution merely requires the 
National Assembly to convene at once and pro- 
ceed to the election of a new President.^ During 
this brief interregnum, a period of two or three 
days at the most, the cabinet is invested with the 
executive power.^ Curiously no provision has 
been made for cases in which the President, 
through severe illness or absence from the country 
or other cause, is unable to discharge the duties 
of his office. Nothing in the laws or the constitu- 
tion prevents the President from traveling abroad; 
and the precedent established by Faure's visit to 
Russia in 1897 has been followed by all his 
successors. The absence of the President might, 
in time of crisis, prove embarrassing. Many im- 
portant acts of state require his signature. Presi- 
dent Poincare and his prime minister, Rene 
Viviani, found themselves under the necessity of 

1 Constitutional laws of July 16, Art. 3, and Feb. 25, Art. 7. 

' Constitutional laws of Feb. 25, Art. 7, and July 16, Art. 3. 
If the Chamber of Deputies is dissolved at the time, new 
elections shall be held forthwith. Constitutional law of July 
16, Art. 3. 

' Constitutional law of Feb. 25, Art. 7. 



of the 

returning to France somewhat precipitately in the 
summer of 1914. 

Any Frenchman who enjoys full civil and 
political rights ^ and who does not belong to the 
royal or imperial houses ^ may be elected to the 
presidency. The National Assembly exercises a 
complete freedom of choice; it is limited by no 
formal nominating machinery. But nevertheless, 
by a practice which will recall to Americans the 
Congressional caucus of the early nineteenth 
century, the Republican parties have always at- 
tempted to unite upon a candidate.^ In 1879, 
when MacMahon had resigned and the future of 
the Republic still seemed uncertain, Gambetta 
urged the various groups of the Left to endorse 
Grevy as the most worthy and the most Re- 
publican. This they did, first in separate meet- 
ings, then in a general caucus which included the 
Republicans of both Senate and Chamber. Two 
hours later Grevy became President. Only on 
three occasions since that time, in 1899, 1906, and 
1920,* has the caucus succeeded in imposing its 
candidate upon the National Assembly. In 1887, 

^ Duguit, op. cit., Vol. II, page 418. 

* Constitutional amendment, 1884. 

' Leyret, Le President de la Repuhlique (1913), page 209 
et seq. 

* The caucus of 1920, attended not by the parties of the 
Left alone, but by almost ninety per cent of all the deputies 
and senators, gave Deschanel 408 votes, Clemenceau 389^ 
Poincare 16, Jonnart 4, Bourgeois 3, Foch i. Clemenceau 
then withdrew, asking his friends to support Poincare. 



for instance, although it met three times on the 
very day of the election and nominated Jules 
Ferry on each occasion, the radicals finally refused 
to be bound by the decision. In the caucus of 
1913 the Radical-Socialists put forward M. Pams, 
the minister of agriculture, who received on the 
third ballot 323 votes as against 309 for Raymond 
Poincare, the prime minister. But the latter, 
declaring that the issue between himself and Pams 
was personal rather than political, refused to 
withdraw and, supported in the National Assem- 
bly by the Catholic Right, succeeded in bearing 
off the prize.^ There is, of course, no presiden- No 

tial campaign in the American sense. A candi- e^^^^t^o^ 
. , campaign 

date who tried to force the hands of the National 
Assembly by making a popular appeal would 
damage his chances irreparably; France has good 
reason to suspect the arts of the demagogue. Yet 
quietly and unobtrusively something may be 
accomplished. The aspirant may show himself 
frequently at public functions. Traveling in the 
provinces, he may praise the civic enterprise of a 
community, subscribe to the funds of the local 
hospital, kiss a few babies, and make himself 
generally agreeable.^ If he delivers speeches, 
they must be innocent and colorless, divorced as 

* Great pressure was brought upon Poincare to secure the 
withdrawal of his candidacy. See Gaston Jeze, "La Presi- 
de-nce de la Republique" Revue du droit publicy Vol. XXX 
(1913), note pages 1 19-122. 

^ Andre Tridon, Review of Reviews (American), Vol. XLVI 
(1912), page 693. 



far as possible from current political controversies;^ 
\ for the presidency, like the constitutional mon- 
\ archy, is supposed to be above politics. 
Proce- Under the constitution the president of the 

National Senate acts as president of the National As- 
Assembly sembly; ^ and this must be so even when, as in 
the case of Loubet (1899) and Fallieres (1906), 
he happens to be the most prominent candidate. 
The National Assembly which elects the President, 
however much it may resemble the National 
Assembly which amends the constitution, is re- 
garded as a distinct body. It is an electoral 
college, regulated as such by a decree of 1852.* 
No debate is permitted. In 1894 when a member 
proposed a constitutional amendment to abolish 
the presidency, he was declared out of order; 
indeed guards have sometimes been stationed at 
the approaches to the tribune. There can be no 
nominating speeches. The members vote in 
silence as their names are called and continue to 
vote until some one candidate has received the 
"absolute majority*' required by the constitution. 
This absolute majority is different from the one 
required for constitutional amendments; it is 
reckoned not on the basis of the legal membership, 
but on the basis of votes actually cast for candi- 
dates (blank or void ballots not being counted). 
Except in 1886, 1895, and 191 3, no second ballot 

* Constitutional law of July 16, Art. Ii. 
' The decree of February 2, 1852, still forms the basis of 
French electoral law. Duguit, op. cit.y Vol. II, page 417. 




has been necessary.^ The President-elect is in- 
augurated at the Elysee where his predecessor, 
surrounded by the cabinet ministers and the 
members of ParHament, transmits to him the 
powers of office. It is a dignified and impressive 
ceremony. If the executive powers have been 
exercised by the cabinet because of a vacancy in 
the presidential office, the inauguration takes 
place at Versailles immediately after the election, 
the cabinet and the bureau of each chamber 
being present. According to the constitution the 
President may be reelected an indefinite number 
of times. But as in the United States, where a 
third term has never been accorded, custom has 
intervened and, resting apparently upon popular 
prejudice, limited the President to a single term. 
The reelection of Jules Grevy in 1886 — he then smgie- 
having reached the advanced age of 79 — proved ^*'^™ 
unfortunate; for when political scandals occurred 
in the Elysee and the President refused to believe 
in the guilt of his son-in-law. Parliament felt 
obliged to demand his resignation. The next 
President, Carnot, was assassinated (1894); Casi- 
mir-Perier, finding the limitations of his position 
irksome, resigned after six months (1895); Faure 
died in office (1899). Thus in a negative way and 
by reason of accidental circumstances a single- 
term doctrine began to develop; and when Presi- 

* In 1913 the vote on the first ballot was: Poincare 429, 
Pams 327, Vaillant 63, Deschanel 18, Ribot 16, scattering 13; 
on the second ballot: Poincare 483, Pams 296, Vaillant 69. 



cians not 

dents Loubet and Fallieres successively announced v 
that they would not accept a second term/ a 
precedent was created which may prove no less 
effective than a constitutional amendment. 

What kind of men are chosen as Presidents of 
the Republic? Critics complain that the most 
prominent figures in political life — the aggressive 
party leaders, the Gambettas and Ferrys and 
Waldeck-Rousseaus — have been overlooked; that 
men of mediocre attainments, lacking in character 
and personal force, have been preferred. After 
the election Frenchmen are supposed to ask who 
this obscure man is. Clemenceau, according to 
his own confession, wished to make Carnot 
President because of his ** perfect insignificance." 
All of this has a famihar sound to Americans who 
remember how frequently "available" men and 
"dark horses" have made their way to the White 
House. But supposing the criticism to be equally 
true of France and of the United States, its 
significance in the two countries would neverthe- 
less be quite different; for the French President 
does not control the executive powers of the 
government; the ministers do. A vigorous and 
partisan President would be as much out of place 
at the Elysee as Sir Edward Carson or Ramsay 
Macdonald would be at Buckingham Palace. A 
titular executive cannot be an active party leader; 
he should have the reputation of giving sound 

* Poincare is reported to have made a similar announce- 
ment towards the end of his term. 



and impartial advice to which ministers of any 
political faith could listen with respect and profit. 

If the National Assembly has not always acted But ex- 
with perfect wisdom, it has at least been animated *^^^® 
by two fundamental considerations: first that experience 
the President's loyalty to the doctrine of legis- ^^^^^ 
lative supremacy should be beyond question, and 
second that his political experience should have 
been wide enough to give him some influence over 
the ministers. All the Presidents since MacMahon 
have had a parliamentary career which, if it did 
not bring them quite to the front rank among 
party leaders, at least demonstrated their fitness 
for high oflBce. Jules Grevy served as president 
of the National Assembly and as president of the 
Chamber of Deputies; Sadi Carnot, grandson of 
the famous "organizer of victory," as under- 
secretary, minister of public works, and minister 
of finance; Casimir-Perier as undersecretary, 
president of the Chamber, and prime minister; 
Felix Faure as undersecretary in three cabinets, 
vice president of the Chamber, and minister of 
marine; Emile Loubet as minister of public 
works, minister of the interior, prime minister, 
and president of the Senate; Armand Fallieres as 
undersecretary, minister in six cabinets, prime 
minister, and president of the Senate; Raymond 
Poincare as vice president of the Chamber three 
times, minister four times, and prime minister; 
Paul Deschanel as president of the Chamber of 
Deputies fifteen times. The fact that almost all 



of these achieved success in public life without 
provoking antagonisms may suggest a certain 
neutrahty of character, perhaps a lack of firm- 
ness and decision; Casimir-Perier and Poincare 
may be regarded as exceptions.^ But it should 
not be forgotten that in the earlier days of the 
Republic, when dangers threatened on every side, 
the election of an ambitious and energetic man 
would have seemed a tempting of providence. 
Execn- The powers of the President, as described in the 

**^® constitution, are both executive and legislative 

powers , . , '^^ 

of the in character. In his executive capacity the 
Presi- President supervises and secures the execution 
of the laws;^ appoints and, by implication, re- 
moves all civil and miHtary officers;^ grants par- 
dons;* disposes of the armed forces;* presides 
over public ceremonies; ' receives the diplomatic 
agents of foreign powers;^ negotiates and ratifies 
treaties;^ constitutes the Senate as a high court 
of justice to try persons accused of attempts upon 
the safety of the state; ® and with the consent of 

* The former was chosen because the anarchist outrages 
indicated the necessity of a more vigorous government; the 
latter, because a patriotic feehng had been evoked by the 
imminent danger of war with Germany. 

' Constitutional law of Feb. 25, 1875, Art. 3. 

• Id. and Esmein, Pigments de droit constitutionneU page 694. 

* Constitutional law of Feb. 25, Art. 3. 
^ Id. • Id. 

^ Id. 

' Constitutional law of July 16, Art. 8. 

• Constitutional law of July 16, Art. 12. 


the two chambers declares war.^ Although war 
may be declared only when the President asks 
and the chambers give their consent, a provision 
of this kind can hardly be more than formal. If 
France is attacked, she must defend herself; and 
otherwise the executive, conducting the diplomatic 
relations with other countries and controlling the 
armed forces, might consult the chambers only 
after creating a situation which affected the 
honor and safety of the state. Between 1871 and 
1914 France was involved in a number of small 
wars and military enterprises — the conquest of 
Tonkin in 1884, the Dahomey expedition of 1892, 
the subjugation of Madagascar in 1 895, and the 
suppression of the Boxer uprising in 1900. In 
none of these cases was war declared or a direct 
application made to Parliament for authority. 
Regarding appointments something will be said 
in another place. It may be noted here that, 
notwithstanding the explicit language of the 
constitution (**he appoints to all civil and mili- 
tary positions"), many appointments, as regulated 
in various laws and ordinances, are made not by 
the President, but by subordinate officers and 
under the restrictions of a competitive merit sys- 
tem. The councilors of state are the only officials 
whose appointment cannot be lodged with sub- 
ordinate officials.* Apparently Parliament might 

* Constitutional law of July 16, Art. 9. 

* Constitutional law of Feb. 25, Art. 4; Esmein, op. cit., 
page 691; Duguit, op. cit., Vol. II, page 439. 




even substitute the elective for the appointive 
principle, as has been proposed in the case of 
Treaty- judges.^ In the matter of removals it may impose 
™^^^ whatever conditions it pleases, even to the extent 
of establishing permanent tenure.^ The Presi- 
dent's power in the making of treaties is subject 
to important limitations. In negotiating them, 
it is true, he has a free hand.^ Gambetta, when 
president of the Chamber in 1880, would not 
permit the introduction of an amendment to the 
tariff bill which sought to restrict this freedom. 
"I cannot," he said, "allow the right of the 
government to treat in the full liberty of its 
powers to be brought under discussion." * The 
committee which drafted the tariff law of 1892 
admitted that the minimum rate provisions might 
be modified by commercial treaties. According 
to Eugene Pierre, the leading authority on parlia- 
mentary law, any proposal tending to limit the 
government's right of negotiation would be un- 
constitutional.^ For the ratification of treaties, 
on the other hand, the consent of Parliament is 
usually required. Under the terms of the consti- 
tution ^ treaties of peace and commerce, treaties 

1 Esmein, op. cit., page 691. 
« Id.y page 695. 

* Duguit, op. cit.y Vol. II, page 475; Esmein, op. ctt., 
page 767. 

* Pierre, Traits de droit politique, Hectoraly et parlementaire 
(1908), Sec. 550. 

^ Id. 

* Constitutional law of July 16, Art. 8. 



which involve the finances of the state or the 
persons and property of Frenchmen residing 
abroad must be submitted to the chambers for 
approval; and no cession or exchange or annexa- 
tion of territory can take place except by virtue 
of a law. These requirements, while covering a 
wide range, do not render the President's inde- 
pendent right of ratification altogether illusory. 
They do not include general treaties of peace 
made at the close of a war in which France did 
not participate (Treaty of Berlin, 1878), treaties 
which establish a French protectorate, and treaties 
of alliance such as the treaty with Russia. The 
chambers were not consulted with regard to the 
Franco-German convention of 191 1 which fixed 
the political status of Morocco and bound the 
French government to concede equal commercial 
rights; or in regard to the agreement of 1889 
which delimited the boundaries of French and 
English possessions on the west coast of Africa. 
In such cases the President must inform Parlia- 
ment "as soon as the interests and safety of the 
state permit "; ^ but he and not Parliament 
determines whether secrecy is desirable.^ 

In his legislative capacity the President may Legisia- 
convene a special session of Parliament at any ^^^ 

'^ . . -^ powers 

time and must do so when an absolute majority of the 
of the members of each chamber request it.^ He ^®!*" 

* Constitutional law of July 16, Art. 8. 

2 Duguit, op. cit., Vol. II, page 477. 

' Constitutional law of July 16, Arts. 1-2. 

[43 ] 


may adjourn Parliament, but not more than twice 
during the regular annual session or for a longer 
period than one month in each case.^ He may 
prorogue Parliament, but only after its session 
has lasted for five months.^ With the consent of 
the Senate he may dissolve the Chamber of 
Deputies, but new elections must be held wuthin 
two months and the Chamber convened ten days 
later.' He may initiate legislation,* and appoint 
commissioners to assist the ministers in the dis- 
cussion of any bill.^ He may communicate with 
the chambers by messages w^hich shall be read 
from the tribune by a minister.^ He must pro- 
mulgate laws within one month or, if Parliament 
has declared promulgation urgent, within three 
days; and within the period thus fixed he may, 
by a message with reasons assigned, request a 
new consideration of the bill, which cannot be 
refused.^ He may propose to the chambers that 
they unite in National Assembly for the amend- 
ment of the constitution.^ Promulgation takes 
place when the President signs a law, affirming 
that it has been regularly passed by both chambers 

* Constitutional law of July i6, Art. 2; Duguit, op. cit. 
Vol. II, page 298. 

* Constitutional law of July 16, Art. I. 

* Constitutional law of Feb. 25, Art. 5; amendment of 1884. 

* Constitutional law of Feb. 25, Art. 3. 
' Constitutional law of July 16, Art. 6. 

* Constitutional law of July 16, Art. 6. 
' Id., Art. 7. 

» Constitutional law of Feb, 25, Art. 8. 




and that it will be executed as a law of the state.^ 
If the legislative procedure has been irregular; 
if, for instance, the Senate has voted the law in 
two articles while the Chamber has voted it in 
one, he should refuse to promulgate it, even 
though the two texts are otherwise identical.^ If 
there has been no irregularity, however, his re- 
fusal would clearly be unconstitutional and would 
involve him in a conflict with the cabinet and 
Parliament.^ The date of a law is the date 
of its promulgation; but it does not go into 
effect until it has been published in the Journal 

The President possesses an extensive ordinance His ordi- 
power. In part this power is conveyed to him 
by the constitution itself; for most of his consti- 
tutional rights and duties, including the general 
duty of supervising and securing the execution of 
the laws, are accomplished by means of decrees. 
The validity of such decrees may be questioned 
in both the ordinary and the administrative 
courts. The former may, in any particular case, 
refuse to apply an illegal decree; the latter may 
actually annul any decree which the President 
was legally incompetent to issue. ^ The President 
exercises the most important part of his ordinance 

^ Pierre, op. ciL, Sec. 506; Dugult, op. cit.., Vol. II, page 443. 

* Pierre, op. cit., supplement 1914, Sec. 506. 

* Id., Sec. 505, 

* Pierre, op. cit.y Sec. 509; Duguit, op. cit., Vol. II, page 445. 

* See infra. Chapter XL 



power, however, not under the constitution, but 
under specific laws. The French Parliament, like 
all modern legislative bodies, finds its burden 
greater than it can bear and seeks relief by dele- 
gating authority to the executive. It frames 
legislation in general terms without the minute 
and confusing details which are so characteristic 
of English and American statutes, deciding upon 
a policy and entrusting the detailed enforcement 
of that policy to capable and experienced hands. 
Almost all the notable statutes of recent times 
provide that "an ordinance of public administra- 
tion shall determine the measures proper for 
securing the execution of the present law." Such 
ordinances are described as "completing" the 
law. Parliament, going still further, frequently 
empowers the President to issue ordinances of 
public administration on particular subjects 
which as yet have not been regulated by law. 
Thus the finance act of 1906 requires him to fix 
the conditions under which judges shall be ap- 
pointed and promoted; the public health act of 
1902 requires him, in certain cases, to determine 
the measures necessary to prevent the spread of 
an epidemic; he has even been given authority 
to establish new taxes. ^ 
CouncU These ordinances of public administration differ 

of state from other ordinances: they are issued by virtue 
ordi- of a Specific statutory grant of power and only 
after the government has consulted the Council 
1 Duguit, op. cit.y Vol. II, page 457. 




of State in general assembly and received its 
advice. They resemble acts of Parliament in the 
fact that they proceed from a delegation of legis- 
lative power; ^ and since no court can question 
the competence of Parliament, the Council of 
State long refused to entertain any question as 
to their validity. But in 1907 a new and momen- 
tous doctrine was evolved. The Council of 
State then held that since under the law of 1872 
the acts of all administrative authorities may be 
attacked on the ground of excess of power and 
since the President is an administrative authority, 
therefore, although ordinances of public adminis- 
tration are issued by virtue of a delegation of 
legislative power, their validity may be attacked.^ 
Similar decisions were rendered in 1908 and 191 1. 
They rest upon two presumptions which may or 
may not be sound: first that the act of a delegated 
authority differs from a similar act performed by 
the delegating authority; and second that the 
President is not, as the constitution would seem 
to imply by investing him with the executive 
power, a representative of national sovereignty, 
but a mere administrative agent subordinate to 
the chambers which elect him. The only presi- 
dential decrees which now remain beyond the 
jurisdiction of the administrative courts are 
those which relate to foreign affairs (treaties, 
annexations of territory, etc.) and to the action 

* According to the doctrine of the Council of State. 

* Revue du droit public^ 1908, page 38. 



of the President upon Parliament (adjournment, ^ 
dissolution, etc.). 
Presi- Now, however imposing the presidential powers 

dentiai ^^^ ^^^ ^^^ Constitution makes it perfectly clear 
controUed that they cannot be exercised by the President 
by minis- himself. Every act of the President must be 
countersigned by a minister.^ An "act" of the 
President is a written act, a message or decree; 
for no minister could countersign his public dis- 
courses or his conversations with foreign diplo- 
mats, even though these may have an important 
political effect.^ As the countersign involves 
responsibility on the part of the minister, he will 
not affix it to any document which he disapproves; 
he determines that the presidential powers shall 
not be exercised in this or that way. Further, as 
he holds office by the will of Parliament and not 
by the will of the President, he is in a position to 
determine affirmatively what acts the President 
shall submit to be countersigned. In actual fact 
decrees are formulated by a minister and signed 
by the President as a matter of routine. Every 
one familiar with the mysteries of English govern- 
ment knows that the powers of the Crown do not 
belong to the king; the Crown is not a person; 
it is simply a convenient working hypothesis, a 

* Constitutional law of Feb. 25, Art. 3; J. Laferriere, "2> 
Contreseing ministiriely* Revue generate d' administration, April 
and May, 1908, 

' But, as in England, the ministers are responsible in such 
Esmein, op. cit., page 814. 




name employed to designate an aggregate of 
powers which the ministers exercise. The powers 
of the French President resemble the powers of 
the Crown. They function through a responsible 
parliamentary executive. To make the situation 
still more definite the constitution provides that 
the titular executive shall be responsible only 
in case of high treason ^ and that he shall be tried 
only before the Senate on charges preferred by 
the Chamber of Deputies.^ This does not mean 
that the President is above the civil and criminal 
law; he may be prosecuted like an ordinary 
citizen except that in criminal cases the Senate 
alone can assert jurisdiction.^ It means that the 
President, unlike the ministers, is politically ir- 
responsible, that he cannot be removed from 
office unless, in the exercise of his functions, he 
has been guilty of high treason. Although the 
crime of high treason has not been defined by law, 
the Senate might adopt a definition of its own 
and, without imposing any other penalties, re- 
move the convicted President.* The constitution 
obviously intends that high treason should be 
regarded in the political rather than in the strictly 

* Constitutional law of Feb. 25, Art. 6. 

* Constitutional law of July 16, Art. 12. 

' Esmein, op. cit.y page 786; Duguit, op. cit.. Vol. II, page 


* Esmein, op. cit.y page 787; but in the contrary sense 
Duguit, op. cit., Vol. II, page 408. See also J. Barthelemy, 
La mise en accusation du President de la Republique et 
des ministres (l9l9)> 



criminal sense. What is the effect of this irre- 
sponsibility upon the position of the President? 
It makes his tenure of office independent of parlia- 
mentary majorities. But if he cannot be voted 
out of office as Thiers was in 1873, ^^ cannot 
exercise, like Thiers, a substantial control over 
his ministers. He becomes, as Professor Duguit 
says,^ **the prisoner of the ministry and of Par- 
liament. In monarchical countries the king 
represents a social force and, in spite of his irre- 
sponsibility, he may, by resting upon this social 
force, play an active part in the aflPairs of the 
country. A President of the Republic, elected 
by the chambers and irresponsible, represents no 
social force and can play no active part unless 
he possesses a considerable personal authority, a 
situation which will arise very seldom and perhaps 
never at all." 

Appoint- Is the President a captive of the ministry? 

™®?* What are the relations between these two execu- 

of the 

prime tive otgans? While the constitution says nothing 
directly about the appointment and dismissal of 
ministers, it empowers the President to appoint 
all civil and military officers.^ But as the ministers 
are responsible to Parliament,^ the President is 
necessarily circumscribed in his choice. Marshal 
MacMahon discovered this in the crisis of 1877. 
On May 16 he practically forced the resignation 

> Op. cit.j Vol. II, page 481. 

' Constitutional law of Feb. 25, Art. 3. 

3 Id., Art. 6. 




of Jules Simon, who was supported by a majority 
of two to one in the Chamber of Deputies, and 
appointed in his stead the Duke de Broglie, a 
monarchist. With the consent of the Senate he 
dissolved the Chamber of Deputies. But, the 
elections having resulted favorably to the Re- 
publicans, de Broglie resigned; and his successor, 
Rochebouet, finding it impossible to procure a 
vote of supplies, soon followed suit. MacMahon 
at last gave way and summoned the Republican 
leader Dufaure to form a cabinet. That ex- 
perience proved decisive: the President must 
choose as prime minister a man who has the 
confidence of the majority in the Chamber. This 
does not imply that the President is altogether 
without discretion. In view of the fact that 
there are so many political groups in the Chamber 
and that a majority may be formed by several 
different combinations among them, he is not 
always Hmited to one particular politician. In 
England, when a cabinet resigns, the king sends 
for the leader of the opposition; he has no al- 
ternative. But in France any one of half a 
dozen men, some of them perhaps members of 
the outgoing cabinet, might succeed in winning 
the support of the majority; and within that 
small circle the President is free to choose. Not 
that the choice is final. It must be ratified by a 
vote of confidence. Thus on June 3, 1914, fol- 
lowing the resignation of the Doumergue cabinet, 
President Poincare invited Rene Viviani to take 



office; and when Viviani, after negotiation witb 
the various groups, dedined, Poincare applied 
successively and with the same result to Des- 
chanel, Delcasse, Dupuy, and Peytral. Ribot 
accepted. But on June 12, when the Chamber 
refused a vote of confidence, he had to resign. | 
Next day Viviani succeeded in forming a cabinet 
which could count on having a majority behind 
it. In practice the President does not designate 
a new prime minister until he has carefully 
analyzed the political situation with the assistance 
of the presidents of both chambers. He does not 
consult them as a matter of courtesy, but because 
they are better situated than any one else to 
indicate the will of the chambers. Latterly, 
indeed, the custom has been to consult with the 
party leaders as well. On the occasion of a 
ministerial crisis they flock to the Elysee, promis- 
ing to support the future combination provided 
that they or their friends are included in it. The 
President chooses only the prime minister, not 
the other members of the cabinet. In 1877 
Dufaure refused to take office until Marshal 
MacM-ahon, who first had insisted on naming the 
ministers of war, marine, and foreign affairs 
himself, gave him a free hand; and the precedent 
thus established has never been questioned since.^ 
At the same time the advice of the President 
may have great influence. 

Can the President dismiss his ministers? Presi- 
^ Duguit, of. cit.y Vol. II, page 488. 



dent MacMahon practically dismissed Jules Dis- 

Simon; that is, he sent Simon a hostile letter ^^^^^ 
1-1 111- • • • • ofmmls- 

which provoked his resignation, as it was m- ters 
tended to do.^ But the outcome of that crisis 
has certainly not encouraged any of his successors 
to imitate MacMahon. The dismissal of a 
minister who enjoys the confidence of the lower 
house is as unlikely to happen in France as in 
England. The legal right remains. Supposing a 
disagreement between the two chambers, the 
President might dismiss the prime minister, ap- 
point another having the support of the Senate, 
and, with the consent of that body, dissolve the 
Chamber of Deputies. But to do this he must 
obtain the countersign of the dismissed minister 
for the appointment of his successor.^ Jules 
Simon countersigned the appointment of Broglie. 
An outgoing minister has never definitely refused 
to give his signature. But he might refuse. 
Casimir-Perier resigned as President in 1895 
partly because he was placed in a ridiculous sit- 
uation by the outgoing minister, Charles Dupuy, 
who withheld for several days the necessary 
countersign.* When a new President is inaugu- 
rated, the ministers all tender their resignations 

* Anderson, Constitutions and Documents, page 641. 

' Duguit, op. cit.y Vol. II, page 488. But Esmein maintains 
that the new minister might countersign his own appointment. 
Op. cit.y page 813. 

' Andre Tridon, Review of Reviews (American), Vol. XL VI 
(1912), page 694. 



as a matter of form. That they are invariably 
reappointed serves as a further illustration of the 
small part that the personal indinations of the 
President are allowed to play.^ 
Subordi- Twice a week the President attends a meeting 
"Ji*® - of the cabinet which is then technically known as 
Presi- the council or mmisters. Tor certam purposes 
^^°^ his presence is required. It is by decrees "issued 
in the council of ministers" that the President 
constitutes the Senate as a high court of justice 
and appoints or removes councilors of state; ^ 
and statutes sometimes prescribe that the decrees 
authorized therein shall be issued in the same 
way.* Moreover, the practice of parliamentary 
government as developed in France requires the 
participation of the President when the general 
policy of the government is discussed. The Presi- 
dent acts as presiding officer; but he has no 
vote * and at least until very recently appears to 
have taken no active part in the deliberations 
and exercised no important political influence. 
When Fallieres presided for the first time in the 

* J. Barthelemy, Lf Role du pouvoir executif dans les 
republiques modernes (1906), page 707. The earlier practice 
was conflicting, "but it seems that, in these last years, the 
theory tends to become established that the President must 
refuse to accept the resignation oflfered by a cabinet simply 
because of a change in the presidency." 

* Constitutional laws of July 16, Art. 12, and Feb. 25, 
Art. 4. 

* Esmein, op. cit.y page 802. 

* Id.t page 807. 



council of ministers, he said: * "I shall always 
tell you my opinion very frankly, even should it 
displease you. You will find me a sincere ad- 
viser, a sure friend, and occasionally a critic; 
but the very plainness of this attitude will guaran- 
tee that, no more under my presidency than 
under that of my predecessor, will there be, over 
against the government, a policy of the Elysee/* 
Henri Leyret pictures one of these meetings.^ 
Under the indifferent eye of the President the 
ministers inquire who can be the author of an 
abusive newspaper article, or they seek for some 
means of minimizing the effect of an impending 
interpellation, or they consider how to apportion 
patronage among their impatient followers. This, 
he says, is not as it ought to be. The President 
should call them to order. "It is a great error 
to suppose that he should preside purely as a 
matter of form. He has the right to speak, to 
discuss, to convert the ministers to his personal 
ideas. On the decisions which are to be taken . . . 
he gives his opinion and, if need be, interposes a 
definite refusal." ^ In fact Leyret believes that 
the President may and should bend the ministers 
to his own point of view. If his tact and his 
experience do not prevail, he has a means of 
defense and compulsion which the constitution 
has given him.* Decrees must bear his signature 

* Leyret, Le President de la Repiiblique, page 37. 

* Id.f page 69. 

* Id.y page 71. * Id., page 116. 



as well as the signature of a minister; and by - 
withholding it he can force compliance with his 
wishes. This theory has, apparently, no basis in 
existing practice. President Loubet was much 
opposed to the pardoning of Dreyfus; but when 
the ministers insisted and one of them threatened 
to resign, he finally gave his consent.^ 
Prcsi- The dependence of the President upon his 

dentiai ministers will appear more clearly from a con- 
sages sideration of some of his nominal powers. The 
constitution gives him the right to communicate 
with the chambers by means of written messages.^ 
These must not be confounded with the ministerial 
declarations in which the cabinets announce their 
policy to the chambers. The message is sent on 
the initiative of the President and presumably 
embodies his own opinions. But at the same 
time, since it must be countersigned and since 
the cabinet thus becomes responsible for it, the 
President can say only what he is allowed to say. 
Even in the case of MacMahon, who sought to 
control the executive and impose a personal 
policy, the character of the messages changed 
with every change of ministry. MacMahon sent 
numerous messages, three in a single fortnight; 
but since his time no president has exercised this 
right except to thank the chambers for electing 

* Esmein, op. cit.y page 721. But Loubet once remarked: 
"Whatever may be said, I do not sign everything." See J. 
Barthelemy, op. cit.y page 709. 

' Constitutional law of July 16, Art. 6. 



him or to offer his resignation. "Shameful re- 
nouncement!'* says Leyret.^ "How can the 
President of the Republic pretend to any in- 
fluence whatever in the state if he does not use 
means of action which publicly attest his vigi- 
lance?" The inaugural messages are all colorless; 
they have a family air, almost as if the same hand 
had written them. Perhaps Poincare's message 
may be regarded as an exception. He declared 
that the authority of the head of the state should 
be preserved intact under the control of the 
chambers.^ "It is his function to be a guide and 
adviser for public opinion in times of crisis, to 
seek to make a rational choice among conflicting 
interests, to distinguish the general from the 
particular, the permanent from the accidental, to 
strive to disentangle in each new idea the still- 
born portion from that part which may be kept 
for the future as living and productive." But 
surely in such vague language no one could find 
any indication of a personal policy. 

The messages of resignation show less reserve; Letters 
for by a benevolent custom no obstacle is placed ^^q^*^" 
in the President's way, no countersign is required 
for this final act of self-effacement. Strictly 
speaking the President does not announce his 
resignation in a message, but in a personal letter 
to the presidents of the two chambers, this ap- 
parently explaining the absence of the counter- 

^ Op. cit.y page 146. 

2 Annual Register, 191 3, page 280. 



sign.^ MacMahon resigned in 1879 rather than 
consent to certain changes in the high command 
of the army, which seemed to be poHtical rather 
than military in their object.^ Jules Grevy re- 
signed in 1887, two years after his reelection, 
because of a scandal involving his disreputable 
son-in-law, Daniel Wilson, in the sale of decora- 
tions. The chambers forced him out. When he 
refused to expel Wilson from the Elysee, they 
overthrew the cabinet, prevented the formation 
of a new one, and adopted a resolution inviting 
him to resign. In his message Grevy declared 
that he gave way because, in the disturbed 
political condition of the time, a conflict between 
executive and Parliament would be perilous. 
Casimir-Perier resigned in 1895, having found 
his situation intolerable. He had read in the 
Journal officiel decrees, purporting to be his own, 
which he had never seen before and which he did 
not approve;^ he had obtained information re- 
garding the diplomatic correspondence with Ger- 
many, not from his foreign minister Hanotaux, 
but from the German ambassador.* His letter of 
resignation took the form of a dignified and 

* Esmein, op. cit.y note on page 655. 

' Vizetelly, Republican France, page 225. 
' Andre Tridon, Review of Reviews (American), Vol. XL VI 
(19 1 2), page 694. 

* Vizetelly, op. cit.y page 413. In the same way the foreign 
minister kept President Fallieres in ignorance of a secret 
treaty with Spain in regard to Morocco. Revue du droit 
public. Vol. XXIX (1912), page 316. 



spirited protest.* It is interesting to recall that 
one of the offending ministers was Raymond 
Poincare, who as President seemed to take a 
different view of the presidential powers, and 
that Casimir-Perier himself, when prime minister, 
asserted in definite language the doctrine of 
ministerial control of the executive power.^ 

The constitution entrusts the President with a Veto 
suspensive veto. Within the period fixed for ^^®' 
promulgation he may require the chambers to 
reconsider any bill they have passed.^ This veto 
power has never been employed. The reason is 
obvious. If the prime minister has approved the 
passage of the bill, the President can hardly ask 
him to countersign a veto message. If it has 
been carried against the wishes of the prime 
minister, he will resign; and how can the new 
minister, who approves the bill, be asked to veto 
it.? * Duguit maintains, however, that these con- 
siderations are not valid. When a bill is carried 
against the ministers, he says,^ the President may 
ask them to remain in office and send a veto 
message; when the ministers accept an objection- 
able bill, he may remove them and send a veto 
message countersigned by a new minister. "The 
President has only to require it. But hitherto he 

^ For the text see Leyret, op. cit., page 248. 

* Id., page 34. ' Constitutional law of July 16, Art. 7. 

* Esmein, op. cit., page 674; Bompard, Le Veto du President 
(1906), page 273. 

' Duguit, op. cit.. Vol. II, page 449. 



has not required it and he probably will not as 
long as he is elected by the chambers. Only a 
President having in the country a strong personal 
position, due to his name, his prestige, eminent 
services rendered to the country could, in spite 
of the method of presidential election, exercise 
the right of veto and the right of dissolution." 
Dissoiu- The President may, with the consent of the 
**°° Senate, dissolve the Chamber of Deputies.^ That 

Chamber this provision requiring the consent of the Senate 
is inconsistent with the proper functioning of the 
parliamentary system will be demonstrated later 
on; 2 it deprives the ministers of the right to 
appeal against transient majorities and against 
the obstructive tactics of the upper house. The 
immediate question is whether the President may 
exercise this constitutional power. A position 
must be assumed in w^hich the President and the 
Senate wish to overthrow a cabinet in which the 
Chamber has confidence. The President might 
then dismiss the prime minister, appoint a new 
one enjoying the support of the Senate, and dis- 
solve the Chamber. Such was the course which 
MacMahon followed in 1877. It would involve 
difficulties which have already been indicated; 
for the President must first dismiss a minister 
who enjoys the confidence of the Chamber 

1 Constitutional law of Feb. 25, Art. 5. See P. Matret, 
" Histoire du droit de dissolution en France" Annates de 
Vecole libre des sciences politiques, 1898, pages 220-248, 374- 
401. * See Chapter III. 



and therefore, apparently, the confidence of the 
electorate, then persuade him to acquiesce in his 
own deposition by countersigning the appoint- 
ment of his successor, and finally invite the 
electorate to justify a course of action which 
suggests personal policy on the part of the titular 
executive. There has been no dissolution since 
1877 and, considering the unfortunate experience 
of MacMahon, there is not likely to be another. 

The peculiar position which the President must Reaiu^c- 
occupy under a parliamentary government is not '"^j^^^ 
thoroughly understood. "It is probable," said Presi- 
Casimir-Perier,^ "that many Frenchmen do not ^^^^^ 
understand it at all." One would gather from the 
language of some writers that the constitution 
had intended the President to possess a large inde- 
pendent authority and that somehow the usurp- 
ing ministers had deprived him of it. The con- 
stitution intended nothing of the kind. The 
powers of the President are simply the executive 
powers, placed in the hands of responsible minis- 
ters. When Gambetta described "the executive 
power" as the strongest which had ever been 
constituted in a democracy, he was not thinking 
of the President, as Leyret assumes, but of the 
ministers. "The President can do nothing by 
himself," said Casimir-Perier; ^ "he can In due 
form place his signature beside another, if he is 
asked to do so; but otherwise, except in the case 

* Leyret, op. cit., page 257. 

* Jd.y page 255. 

[61 ] 


of resignation, his signature would only serve 
the purpose of an autograph collection. . . . 
Among all the powers which seem to be attributed 
to him, there is only one which the President of 
the Republic can exercise freely and personally — 
the presidency of national ceremonies." This 
being the case, why have a President.? Why not 
do away with this "pompous, expensive, and 
perfectly useless officer," as Radicals and Social- 
ists have at times proposed? In the early years 
of Victorians reign Englishmen were asking a 
similar question. But it has now become toler- 
ably clear that a titular executive fills an im- 
portant place in the parliamentary system. He 
relieves the ministers from harassing social 
obligations. He has, as Bagehot said of the con- 
stitutional sovereign in England, the right to en- 
courage his ministers and to warn them. If he 
is a man of character and force and if he comes 
into office with a ripe political experience, his 
advice will always be received with respectful 
attention. While cabinets come and go, he 
remains in office, accumulating a knowledge 
of the practical working of the machinery of 
government which ministers cannot afford to 

"Our political customs have deprived the Presi- 
dent of the Republic of effective authority," says 
Joseph Barthelemy; "but they do not deny him 
a moral authority and a power of persuasion 
which he is admirably situated to exercise. He 



retains, in his relations with the ministers, a 
highly useful mission: unoccupied with the details 
of departmental administration, with a task which 
is particularly burdensome, he has the necessary 
leisure to consider broadly problems which the 
ministers are inclined to view from one side only. 
He sees things which cannot be seen too close at 
hand. When different branches of the govern- 
ment disagree, he is in a favorable position to 
suggest the basis of an understanding. He has 
time to fix his attention on general policy, both 
internal and external. If he has an inquiring and 
alert mind, he may follow, as he has good op- 
portunity to do, the questions which interest the 
country. In this way, having superior advan- 
tages, he creates a domain of his own in which 
he easily becomes preeminent. If he works and 
if he remains long enough in office, he will finally 
acquire an exceptional authority on important 
questions and be a valuable guide for the minis- 
ters. Without any effort to impose his will, his 
opinions will necessarily receive attention, and 
thus he will be able to render himself very useful 
to his country." ^ 

It is difficult to measure such influence. But should 
certainly most of the Presidents have possessed ?.® 
it. Jules Grevy, who is sometimes represented dent 
as bavins: established a tradition of inertia and ^^^^^ 

. . . . . .. more 

passivity, took an effective part m shaping public authority? 

* Barthelemy, Le Role du pouvoir executif dans les repw 
bliques modernesy page 708. 



policy.^ He helped to adjust party quarrels. 
When in 1882 de Freycinet was outvoted in the 
Chamber of Deputies, Grevy persuaded him to 
withdraw his resignation and to ask once more 
for a vote of confidence. Sadi Carnot exerted such 
influence in two cabinet crises that he was accused 
of intriguing for reelection. Although it is the 
fundamental principle of the constitution that ''the 
President should hunt rabbits and not govern," ^ 
yet he is by no means a superfluous ornament. 

Conservative Republicans propose that the 
President should assume a more energetic role. 
They are not satisfied with the functioning of 
parliamentary government. In the vicissitudes of 
French cabinets, in their uneasy and uncertain life, 
in the maneuvers which are necessary to secure 
the support of this or that party group, they 
profess to see the need of a steadying hand, of 
a leader who will be above petty politics and 
devoted to the general public interest. "The 
country would like to have a President elected 
because of merit and ascendancy," says Leyret,^ 
"a chief having the special competence character- 
ized by Thiers in these precise terms: political 
experience and business habits. This does not 

* Barthelemy, op. city pages 710-71 1. 

* Leyret, op. cit,, page 12, quoting J. J. Weiss. Barthelemy, 
op. cit., page 672, says: "The presidency is an honorable retreat 
for a veteran who is tired of political struggles and whose 
advice is asked without any intention of following it." 

^ Leyret, op. cit., page 226. 



mean that he should either engage in a sys- 
tematic struggle with Parliament or play an 
ambitious part; it means that he should restore 
to the functions of the head of the state, before 
the eyes of attentive France, the influence and 
the credit of his office." In spite of this innocuous 
statement, Leyret shows, in specific arguments, 
that he really desires a diversion of power from 
the responsible ministers to the irresponsible 
President. The latter may refuse his signature; 
he may dismiss his ministers. Obviously such 
conduct would precipitate a struggle with Parlia- 
ment; and, aside from this peril, the executive 
power would simply be dissipated, not strength- 
ened. If the ministers are too dependent upon 
the individual parliamentary groups, a remedy 
must be found by modifying their relations with 
the chambers rather than their relations with the 

The election of Raymond Polncare portended Poincarg 
no fundamental change in the position of the ^^^^^^^ 
President. It is true that he was elected with nei 
the help of the Center and Catholic Right ^ and 
that his triumph over the Radical-Socialist candi- 
date was regarded as an important success for the 
conservative parties. Newspapers like Lf Gaulois 
and Le Figaro were naturally delighted. The 

* Charles Dawbarn, Makers of New France (1915), page 15. 
When the result of the election was announced to the National 
Assembly there were cries of "A has la dictature!" "A bas 
I'elu de la droite!" 



Radical-Socialists were perturbed. When their 
convention assembled at Pau in October, 191 3, it 
passed a resolution which denounced "the aspira- 
tions of personal policy" as tending to diminish 
the authority of Parliament and to encourage the 
return of every kind of reaction.^ But Poincare 
was a tried and loyal Republican and, as his civil 
marriage indicated, unfavorable to the pretensions 
of the clergy. His motives were beyond any 
suspicion. With the exception of Casimir-Perier 
he was the youngest and most gifted of the Presi- 
dents; and his conspicuous force of character, 
his sound judgment, his remarkable popularity, 
enabled him to restore somewhat "the influence 
and credit" of the presidency without trenching 
in any way upon the prerogatives of the cabinet. 
Indeed his acquiescence in the retirement of the 
Briand and Barthou cabinets in 1913 and the 
tone of his public addresses grievously disap- 
pointed those who looked for vigorous action. 
"In any case," Professor Dimnet wrote in 1914,* 
"he will never be again, unless he should make 
a coup (Tetaty the representative of the generous 
spirit which uplifted France and gathered every 
energy round him while he was prime minister." 
Paul Deschanel, who succeeded him in 1920, 
belongs to the same political party, represents 
the same ideal of national solidarity. For the 
seven years preceding his election he had served 

1 Annual Register y 1913, page 291. 

2 Dimnet, France Herself Again, page 344. 



as president of the Chamber of Deputies, refusing 
more than once to assume the office of premier 
and to take part again in the sharp conflict of 
parties. That he received in the National As- 
sembly 734 of the 889 votes cast indicates once 
more the decline of the Radical-Sociahst party as 
well as the general conviction that the duties of 
the presidency require a man of broad sympathies 
and judicial temperament. To many Frenchmen 
it would have seemed more fitting to bestow the 
office upon the aged war premier, Georges Clemen- 
ceau; but the very qualities which enabled the 
Radical-Socialist statesman to become the savior 
of France — his courage, his daring, his impetuous 
fighting spirit — were unsuited to the rarified 
atmosphere of the Elysee. 


THE ministers: their political 


R6ie ^ I ^HE French cabinet tends to become, like 
of the X the English cabin et, the center of gravity 

in the parhamentary system. It serves as a 
coordinating agency among the different organs 
of government. Associated with the President, 
the cabinet ministers perform manifold legislative 
and executive duties In his name and are re- 
sponsible for all his acts. Associated with the 
permanent civil service, they superintend the 
processes of administration, directing an elaborate 
mechanism which, because France Is so highly 
centralized, extends Its operations even through- 
out the field of local government and which, 
because state socialism has advanced so rapidly, 
touches the Interests of the Individual at countless 
points. Finally, associated with Parliament, they 
take the initiative in shaping all Important legisla- 
tion and at the same time explain and justify 
their conduct as administrative officers. Parlia- 
ment can turn them out; but while they are in, 
it must accept their leadership whether that 
leadership be strong or weak. The constitution, 
though referring to the ministers In half a dozen 


clauses,^ implies rather than defines their position. 
By providing that they shall be responsible to 
Parliament, individually and collectively, and 
that they shall countersign every act of the Presi- 
dent, the obvious intention was to perpetuate the 
arrangements which had become familiar under 
Thiers and MacMahon; and as the principles of 
this parliamentary system were well understood, 
it naturally left them to be regulated by precedent. 

The ministers are usually members of the Ministers 
Chamber of Deputies or the Senate, cabinet office "^"^y 

. . . . . members 

bemg legally compatible with the legislative man- of pariia- 
date. In France, as in England, experience has °^®"* 
demonstrated the necessity of connecting the 
cabinet as closely as possible with Parliament, in 
order to ensure, for Parliament and cabinet alike, 
effective means of control. The prime minister, 
in selecting his colleagues, must think less of 
their administrative efficiency than of their 
political strength, the votes which they can con- 
tribute to swell the common fund. Men who 
have displayed qualities of leadership under the 
exacting conditions of parliamentary life are 
potentially dangerous critics or valuable allies. 
Not only are they familiar with the intricacies of 
procedure and the tactics of debate, not only can 
they speak with authority in the name of the 
Chamber itself, but as a matter of course their 
adherents become the adherents of the cabinet 

^ Law of February 25, 1875, Arts. 3, 4, 6, and 7; law of 
July 16, 187s, Arts. 6 and 12, 



and help to maintain it in power. Practice de- 
pends, then, upon considerations of this kind and 
not upon any legal requirements. The constitu- 
tion expressly provides that the ministers may 
appear in either house and be heard whenever 
they request it.^ Legally the ministers might all 
be taken from outside parliament, as happened in 
the case of the Rochebouet cabinet of 1877; - and 
even now the ministers of war and marine are 
frequently professional men quite innocent of the 
game of politics.^ These two executive depart- 
ments occupy a peculiar position, it is said, be- 
cause they are technical services. But in reality 
an exceptional arrangement can be justified only 
on the ground that the army and navy should be 
freed as far as possible from political influences. 
Other services are equally technical. If the min- 
ister of marine should be an admiral, then the 
minister of public works should be an engineer. 
As a matter of fact he is not an engineer but a 
politician; for his business is not to run railroad 
trains or to build bridges, but to see that the 
policies formulated by Parliament in regard to 
railroads or highways are enforced by appropriate 

1 Law of July 16, 1875, Art. 6. 

' In the Millerand ministry of January, 1920, three 
ministers and one undersecretary were without seats in 

' De Freycinet, minister of war for five years (1888-1892), 
was the first civilian to hold that post since 1848. His 
conspicuous success seemed to justify the departure from 



administrative action. He serves as a medium of 
communication between Parliament and the 
permanent technical officers; he consults these 
officers in preparing any measure for submission 
to Parliament, secures from them the information 
necessary to support it in debate, and finally 
supervises their enforcement of it as a law of the 
land. In parliamentary debates the minister need 
not rely altogether upon his own superficial and 
secondhand knowledge of a difficult subject. By 
presidential decree commissioners may be ap- 
pointed to assist him in the discussion of any 
particular bill,^ such commissioners being almost 
invariably high officials of the civil service. They 
act simply as assistants of the minister, without 
initiative and without responsibility. Although 
the constitution authorizes these appointments 
only "for the discussion of a particular bill," 
a decree of 1880 designated the governor-general 
of Algeria to assist the minister of the interior 
"in all debates and interpellations" relative to 
that colony; and commissioners, speaking to 
interpellations in the Chamber, have actually 
sought to justify acts which they performed under 
the responsibility of the minister.^ "In the end," 
remarks Charles Benoist, "we shall see officials 
defending their chiefs before the chambers." 

The constitution does not create or provide for 
the creation of the executive departments — the 

^ Constitutional law of July 16, Art. 6. 
* Rgvu^ du droit public, 1905, page 200. 



Size of ministries, as they are always styled in France. 
cabinet j^^ ^j^^ ^f ^j^jg silcnce is the executive competent 
mined by to act, or the legislature? By a somewhat dubious 
tiv^act construction of the presidential powers the execu- 
tive has asserted its competence. It is contended 
that since the President has the right to fill all 
civil and military offices/ he has also the right to 
create the offices themselves; since he has the 
right to appoint ministers, he has the right to 
create ministries.^ The cabinet, therefore, by 
means of presidential decrees, determines at any 
given time the number of ministers and the 
distribution of functions among them. When 
Aristide Briand became prime minister in October, 
191 5, he brought into the cabinet a general 
secretary of the ministry of foreign affairs, a 
minister of state, and four ministers without port- 
folio. But this power does not rest exclusively 
with the cabinet. Not only may Parliament 
interfere in a negative way by refusing the neces- 
sary supplies, but it may estabHsh a new ministry 
and regulate its duties. This it has done on only 
one occasion. The ministry of colonies was es- 
tablished by a law of 1894. There were, before the 
war, twelve executive departments ranking in this 
order: justice; foreign affairs; interior; finances; 
war; marine; public instruction and fine arts; 

1 Constitutional law of February 25, 1875, Art. 3. 

* Pierre, Traitr dg droit politique, Supplement of 19 14, Sec. 
ICX5; Noell, U Administration de la France: Les Ministeresy etc. 
(191 1), page 56. 



public works, posts, and telegraphs; commerce and 
industry; agriculture; colonies; labor and public 
welfare, the last established in 1906 by decree. 
In the Millerand cabinet, appointed in January, 
1920, three additional departments were included: 
public health, pensions, and liberated regions; 
and the service of public welfare was transferred 
to the new department of public health. All 
ministers aHke receive a salary of $12,000. They 
also are entitled to occupy official residences 
which the state provides with furniture, light, 
and heat.^ If a minister takes advantage of this 
privilege, however, it is usually because his wife 
and daughters, alive to their social opportunities, 
bring pressure to bear upon him. So short, so 
uncertain is the minister's career that he may be 
evicted from his official home before he has really 
managed to move in. The civil and military 
honors which are paid to the minister as he enters 
a provincial town remain very much what they 
were in the days of the First Empire.^ He is met 
by the prefect, the under-prefect, the mayor, and 
the mayor's deputies; troops line the streets; 
bugles sound, bands play the national anthem, 
officers salute, and a squadron of cavalry is as- 
signed as a guard of honor. Although he no 
longer appears in a distinctive uniform, pubHc 

* See decree of March 11, 191 1. 

* The famous decree Messidor has been replaced by the 
decree of June 16, 1907; see also Pierre, op. cit., Supplement, 
Sec. 1 144. 



attention is attracted by the tricolor cockade 
worn by his coachman or chauffeur, emblematic 
of Republican authority like the fasces of ancient 
Rome. On ceremonial occasions the ministers 
take rank after the presidents of the two cham- 
bers; ^ among themselves they follow the prime 
minister in the order indicated above, the minister 
of justice coming first, the minister of labor last. 
The The English ministers, having access to only 

"°^*'' one branch of the legislature and needing repre- 

sccrc— ••11 •«! 

taries sentatives m the other,^ are assisted by under- 
secretaries; but in France, where the ministers 
participate freely in the debates of both chambers, 
a different practice prevails. Undersecretaries are 
assigned, not to all executive departments, but to 
those in which the ministers find themselves over- 
burdened with work.* Thus the prime minister, 
whatever portfolio he may hold, can hardly dis- 
charge his complex duties without relying, in less 
important matters, upon the services of an 
assistant. Before the war there were usually four 
undersecretaries.* One assisted the prime minister; 
another was undersecretary of fine arts; a third 

' Decree of June i6, 1907. 

* Sec Lowell, GovernmerU of England, Vol. I, page 73. 

* Regarding the undersecretaries see Pierre, op. cit., Sup- 
plement, Sec. 109; Esmein, Elements de droit constUutionnel 
(1914), page 795 ft seq.; Duguit, Traite de droit constitu- 
tionnel (191 1), Vol. II, page 491 rt seq. 

* In 1915, owing to the exigencies of the war, Briand 
appointed eight undersecretaries, four connected with the 
ministry of war, one with the ministry of marine. 



usually supervised the postal and telegraphic serv- 
ices; the fourth was attached to this or that 
ministry according to the exigencies of the time. 
In view of the heavy burden falling upon the 
government in the work of reconstruction, Mille- 
rand included in his post-war ministry (1920) ten 
undersecretaries.* A presidential decree defines, in 
some detail, the duties of each one. While the 
undersecretaries go in and out of office with the 
cabinet, they are not ministers in the constitu- 
tional sense of the term. They have no authority 
to countersign the acts of the President. Legally 
the ministers should be ready to assume, before 
Parliament, full responsibiHty for their conduct as 
for the conduct of any other subordinate. But 
in practice the undersecretaries seem to have be- 
come directly responsible, two of them at least 
having retired in consequence of votes in the 
Chamber of Deputies. If this practice finds no 
warrant in the constitution, it is none the less 
effective on that account. Another anomalous 
practice was introduced in 1906 when the under- 
secretaries began to attend meetings of the council 
of ministers, a body which performs certain specific 
constitutional duties and which was presumably 
intended to include the President, the ministers, 

* These were attached to the following departments: foreign 
affairs (premier), interior, finances, agriculture, public in^ 
struction, commerce (undersecretary for revictu ailing), and 
public works (posts and telegraphs, ports and merchant 
marine, water power, aeronautics). 



and no one else. The undersecretaries are almost 
invariably members of Parliament. In fact the 
offices exist not only to relieve overburdened 
ministers, but also to provide means for satisfying 
ambitious young deputies whom it would be unwise 
to overlook. Doubtless the prime minister would 
find Parliament easier to control if he had, like 
his English prototype, some sixty or seventy offices 
to distribute instead of twenty-five; ^ for the 
deputy who gets an office or whose friend gets 
an office has a definite interest in the fortunes 
of the cabinet. The undersecretaries may speak 
in both houses; they are entitled to the same civil 
and military honors as the ministers; but their 
salaries are considerably lower, varying from 
$5,000 to $7,000. 
Reia- The prime minister — or president of the 

*f°tt council of ministers, to use his official designa- 

premier tion — is appointed as such by decree of the 
with his President of the Republic. He does not wield 

col- . *^ . . 

leagues over his colleagues an autocratic authority. He 
appoints them, it is true, and may remove them; 
he has, apparently, the power of life and death. 
But owing to his dependence upon a coalition of 
parliamentary groups — the necessity of consult- 
ing and harmonizing their wishes, the perpetual 
haunting fear of secession in this quarter or that — 
he is more often engaged in soothing ruffled feel- 
^^^ings than in devising measures of discipHne. It 

1 In the Millerand ministry (1920) there were fifteen 
ministers and ten undersecretaries. 



Is significant that he usually elects to preside 
over the ministry of the interior. He should 
possess, as Louis Barthou has said/ "the means 
of action which the ministry of the interior alone 
confers." It gives him control of the police, the 
prefects, the subprefects, the prefectoral councils, 
the municipal councils, and the electoral ma- 
chinery; and if he does not exercise this control, 
some other minister does. "Such powers have 
awakened in a colleague's mind" — M. Barthou 
is apparently alluding to the case of M. Clemen- 
ceau, who as minister of the interior dominated 
the Sarrien cabinet (1906) and in a few months 
actually became premier — "the ambitions of an 
heir." Unfortunately no single man is adequate 
to the double task of superintending the general 
conduct of the government and directing a great 
executive department; parliamentary life is too 
intense. A prime minister of dominant personal- 
ity — another Waldeck-Rousseau — might main- 
tain his ascendancy in the cabinet without 
holding a portfolio; Rene Viviani in the war 
cabinet of 1914 and Georges Clemenceau in the 
war cabinet of 19 17 held no portfolio; ^ but under 
normal circumstances the prime minister would be 
heavily handicapped, controlling without means 

* Revue hebdomadaire, Vol. IV (191 1), page 608. 

^ In the other war cabinets Briand (1915) and Ribot 
(1917) chose the ministry of foreign affairs; Painleve (1917), 
the ministry of war. In view of the circumstances of the 
time these departments were of the first importance. 



of control and acting without means of action. 
On the other hand, the Enghsh prime minister, 
having an assured position, almost always occupies 
a titular office. 
Cabinet The existence of the cabinet, so long ingeniously 
meetings (Jigguised in English law, is expressly recognized 
in the French Constitution of 1875. Not only 
does the constitution make the ministers "col- 
lectively" responsible to the chambers, but it 
provides that certain acts must be performed 
"in the council of ministers" and that during a 
presidential interregnum "the council of minis- 
ters" shall be invested with the executive power. 
Likewise many important laws authorize the 
issuing of decrees in the council of ministers — for 
instance, the law of 1884 which permits the dis- 
solution of municipal councils by decree. By 
virtue of an unbroken tradition which extends 
back to the days of the monarchy, the President 
presides in the council of ministers; but the 
ministers have the privilege of meeting by them- 
selves, of holding what are called cabinet councils, 
as frequently as they please. Latterly it has 
been the custom to hold a council of ministers 
at the £lysee twice each week from nine to twelve 
in the morning; and to hold one cabinet council 
at the offices of the prime minister.^ Presumably 
all questions of general policy are laid before the 
council of ministers. The proceedings of both 

^ Poincare, How France is Governed, page 197; Esmein, 
op. cit., page 806. 



bodies are secret. There is no secretary, no 
record. The brief summary which the prime 
minister frequently gives to the newspapers con- 
tains no reference to serious discussions or to 
conflicts of opinion.^ 

The constitution provides ^ that the ministers Minis- 
shall be collectively responsible to the chambers *®^^ 
for the general policy of the government and biuty 
individually for their personal acts. In other 
words they can remain in office only so long as 
their direction of aflFairs meets with parliamentary 
approval. Corporate responsibility insures con- 
tinuous cooperation, continuous harmony be- 
tween the cabinet and Parliament. It does not 
imply that the cabinet should seek to discover 
and follow the will of Parliament. "The govern- 
ment," as Raymond Poincare said in 1906,' 
"must in no way abandon its role of leadership; 
... in a word it must claim decisively the honor 
and the responsibility of governing." But when- 
ever Parliament refuses to accept such leader- 
ship, the cabinet should resign; and this refusd 
usually takes the form of a vote of want of con- 
fidence. Individual responsibility hardly seems 
consistent with the character of parliamentary 
government; it suggests divided counsel, con- 
flicting views within the cabinet; it enables 
deputies to interfere in technical administrative 

* Esmein, op. city page 807. 

* Law of Feb. 25, Art. 6. 

* Le Temps, May 30, 1906. 



matters which they are hardly competent to 
judge. Although individual ministers have some- 
times been forced to retire (for instance General 
Andre in 1904 and Admiral Thomson in 1908), 
the acquiescence of the cabinet, its failure to 
intervene and protect the minister by demanding 
a vote of confidence, is regarded as a confession 
of weakness. Beyond question the tendency now 
I is to substitute corporate for individual responsi- 
bility. This agrees with the English doctrine. 
When official misconduct has involved the com- 
mission of criminal offenses, Parliament may feel 
that enforced resignation is an inadequate remedy. 
It may then resort to impeachment proceedings, 
the Chamber formulating charges, the Senate 
assuming jurisdiction; ^ but whether offenses of a 
political nature, not defmed in the criminal code, 
can properly be taken as the basis of action 
remains in dispute.^ In the only impeachment 
trial, that of Louis J. Malvy, minister of the 
interior 19 14-19 17, the Senate did not base its 
decision on the criminal code. It found him 
guilty of acts falling short of treason and sen- 
tenced him to banishment for five years.^ Esmein 

1 Constitutional law of July 16, 1875, Art. 12. 

* Esmein, op. cit., page 843; Duguit, op. cit.y Vol. II, 
page 507; A. Bel, "La Responsabilite des ministresy' Grande 
Rnugy Feb., 1900, page 431. 

' See Revue politique et parlementaire^ Vol. XCVI, pages 
306-9; Vol. XCVII, pages 266-280; and Aug. 10, 1919, 
pages 137-148. In convicting Malvy of an act not contem- 
plated by the code, observes Duguit, in imposing upon him 

[80] , 


maintains that the ministers may be tried in the 
ordinary courts for any breach of the criminal 
law.^ It seems to be doubtful whether they can, 
without previous action on the part of the legis- 
lature, be held liable in the civil or administrative 
courts for damages which their official acts have 

It is to "the chambers," according to the Are the 
constitution, that the ministers are politically ^^^^^^^ 
responsible. Is this language to be taken in its siWe to 
literal sense? Has the Senate the same power as ^^^^_ 
the Chamber of Deputies to make and unmake bers? 
cabinets? Both chambers may exercise control 
over the cabinet by means of questions and in- 
terpellations, amendments to money bills, and 
parliamentary inquiries; both may vote orders 
of the day deliberately announcing lack of con- 
fidence in the cabinet; and since the constitution 
speaks of responsibility "to the chambers" with- 
out making any exception in favor of one or the 
other, some eminent autho rities contend that the 
ministers are dependent upon the Senate and 
Chamber of Deputies in precisely the same way.^ 

a penalty prescribed by no law, the Senate violated article 
8 of the Declaration of Rights of 1789 and article 4 of the 
criminal code. See also J. Barthelemy, La Mise en accusa- 
tion du President de la Repuhlique et des ministres (19 19). 
^ Op. cit.y page 844. 

* Esmein, op. cit.y page 850; Duguit, op. cit.y Vol, II, 
page 597. 

* Duguit, op. cit.y Vol. II, page 504, citing other writers 
in his support. 



The validity of this argument, however, is open 
to question. The phrase employed in the consti- 
tution was current in the reign of Louis Philippe 
when the ministers were responsible to the lower 
house alone; and neither the debates in the 
National Assembly nor the political literature of 
the time indicate any intention to give it a dif- 
^ ferent meaning.^ Whatever the intentions of the 
National Assembly may have been, the actual 
working of the constitution is infinitely more im- 
portant. In practice the Chamber of Deputies 
has established its ascendancy. During the first 
twenty years cabinets were never directly at- 
tacked by the Senate, nor did they feel called 
upon to resign because of its rejection of govern- 
ment bills.^ Thus in 1882, when an article of the 
education bill was rejected, de Freycinet, remain- 
ing in office, accomplished the object which he 
had in view by issuing a presidential decree; and 
the propriety of his course was not questioned.^ 
Resigna- But in 1 896 the Senate for once took an aggressive 
^^ attitude and boldly insisted on its right to force 
geois, the Bourgeois cabinet out.* Five times, between 
*••• February 11 and April 21, it voted want of con- 
fidence by large majorities. Bourgeois, sustained 

* Esmein, op. cit.y pages 828 et seq. 

* In 1890 the Tirard cabinet retired when the Senate 
refused to ratify a treaty with Greece, this being the only 
exception to the general practice. 

* De Lanessan, La Crise de la Repuhlique (1914), page 313. 

* For the details see Esmein, op, cit., pages 830-833. 



by the Chamber, held his ground. Finally, how- 
ever, when the Senate refused to appropriate 
supplies for the Madagascar expedition "until it 
shall have before it a constitutional ministry 
possessing the confidence of the two chambers," 
he felt that the national safety was endangered 
and, with that explanation, resigned. Meline, 
who succeeded him, described accurately enough 
both the strength and the weakness of the 
Chamber's position. "The Chamber of Deputies, 
issue of universal suffrage, exercises a preponder- 
ant influence upon general policy; but although 
it possesses, because of its origin and because of 
the constitution, incontestable rights, it cannot 
legislate without the cooperation of the Senate. 
There we have a situation which dominates 
theoretical discussions and renders them useless. 
Reciprocal good will has hitherto sufficed to settle 
all difficulties; to that we again appeal." 

The incident of 1896 stands alone. Frequently Briand 
the prime minister has informed the Senate that ^^^® 
I he would regard the adoption of a particular wis 
measure as a matter of confidence, thus forc- 
ing it to choose between accepting his leader- 
ship or acquiescing in his retirement.* This 
does not imply any recognition of the claims 
that were put forward in 1896; it is simply a 
means, voluntarily adopted, of compelling favor- 

* For instance, Dupuy on February 28, 1899; Waldeck- 
Rousseau on June 2, 1900; Rouvier on November 9, 1905; 
Clemenceau on June 26, 1908. 



able action. Today there can be no serious 
doubt that the ministers are responsible to the 
Chamber of Deputies alone. Since 1896 only one 
cabinet, that of Aristide Briand, has retired before 
a hostile vote of the Senate. But unfortunately, 
since the ministers cannot dissolve the Chamber 
and appeal to the country for support against the 
Senate, they are not in a position effectively to 
prevent their measures being mutilated. One 
thing they can do — make the passage of govern- 
ment bills a matter of confidence. In March, 
1913, Briand did this in the case of the propor- 
tional representation bill which had already 
passed the Chamber, for he believed that a 
cabinet should never hesitate to employ its last 
resource in the effort to make the will of the 
Chamber prevail.^ He sacrificed oflBce to principle. 
A year later, when the income tax bill was de- 
feated, he reproached Doumergue for having 
neglected to put the question of confidence. 

Conflicts with the Senate, such as occurred in 

1896 and 1913, might, of course, be settled by an 

appeal to the electorate, the premier requesting 

^Ji,?«!l (^" ^^^ name of the President) and the Senate 

^ consenting to a dissolution of the Chamber of 

Deputies. According to the principles of the 


solution ff 

* Briand has been criticized for resigning. He should have 
secured a new vote of confidence from the Chamber, says 
de Lanessan {La Crise de la Republique, page 314), and then 
either carried the bill through the Chamber again or asked 
the President at once for the dissolution of the Chamber. 



parliamentary system both sides would accept 
the result of the election as conclusive. But why 
should the Senate consent? Why should it sur- 
render, for the uncertainties of a popular verdict, 
the advantages of a known situation in which it 
can with impunity block the whole legislative 
program of the government? The very fact that 
the government desired to consult the people 
would suggest that it expected a favorable result. 
In England, where the ministers enjoy the inde- 
pendent right of dissolving the House of Com- 
mons, a general election has been the normal 
method of forcing compliance on the part of the 
upper house.^ The absence of such a right in 
France has been productive of continual em- 
barrassment. Not only are the ministers power- 
less in the face of deadlock between the chambers, 
but they can take no appeal against the action 
of artificial and evanescent majorities in the 
Chamber of Deputies itself. They may be over- 
thrown by intrigues, by combinations hastily 
effected in the lobbies. Fully appreciating the 
insecurity of their position, they are sometimes 
driven to assume an almost servile attitude, like 
the revolutionary agitator who, hearing the 
tumult of a passing mob, exclaimed: *'I am their 
leader; I must follow them!" Effective leader- 
ship is necessary. The ministers would be in a 
better position to exercise it if, when the Chamber 

^ The Parliament Act of 191 1 seems to have rendered 
dissolution unnecessary. 



withdrew its confidence, they could ask the 
country to decide between them and their ad- 
versaries. The wrecking of cabinets, now under- 
taken with so light a heart, would become a 
dangerous employment; it would involve the 
deputy in election expenses and perhaps in the 
loss of his seat. That the House of Commons 
in England or Canada lacks the power to 
overthrow cabinets, that it can only criticize 
and, as a final resort, ask the electors to over- 
throw them has made leadership on the one 
hand and popular control on the other all the 
more efl^ective. 
Cabinet But the weakness of French cabinets, while em- 
cnton*" phasized by the absence of the right of dissolu- 
coaMtion tion, is mainly due to certain peculiarities of the 
party system. In the Chamber there were, after 
the elections of 19 14, ten parties or "groups," 
the strongest of which included little more than 
a quarter of the deputies, and a considerable 
number of free lances who would not sacrifice 
their independence by affiliating with any group, 
however slack its organization and discipline 
might be; in the present Chamber there are 
seven groups and about the former number (50) 
of independents. In forming his cabinet the prime 
minister must distribute the portfolios in such a 
way as to combine several groups into a working 
i majority. The difficulties of such a task are 
obvious. Each group is inclined to make inordi- 
nate demands both as to the portfolios which shall 





be conceded to it and the policies which shall be 
embodied in the government program. "During 
the exciting days of a ministerial crisis," says Pro- 
fessor Garner/ **the Parisian journals give detailed 
accounts of the hurried visits of the newly ap- 
pointed premier to the houses of prominent politi- 
cians, of his interviews, pourparlers, overtures, 
solicitations and possible combinations, and each 
day there is a summary of his failures and his 
successes. Sometimes his demarches are prolonged 
through a period of several weeks before the 
cabinet is finally completed; not infrequently at 
the last moment, after the list has been sent to 
the Journal oficiel for publication, the combination 
is upset by withdrawals.*' The cabinet, when 
formed, includes more or less discordant elements; 
it is, as Burke said of the Chatham cabinet, a 
diversified mosaic; and if the prime minister 
experienced difliculty in putting it together, his 
resources are equally strained in the effort to 
keep it from falling apart. If the coalition of 
groups dissolves, so does the cabinet, for it loses 
its majority in the Chamber. It is a curious fact 
that while the general elections always result 
favorably to the government, in the interval of 
four years between elections the Chamber may 
overturn half a dozen cabinets, sometimes on 
most trivial grounds. /* Every effort of the 
/parties in the chambers (where they are much 

^ " Cabinet Government in France" Political Science Review, 
Vol. VIII (1914), page 366. 



divided)," wrote Professor Esmein,^ "is con- 
centrated in a struggle for the conquest of power, 
that is, of the ministry. Hence the incessant 
intrigues and surprises of each day, abnormal 
coaHtions, uncertainty, the unforeseen." The 
overthrow of cabinets is frequently due, not to 
any consideration of policy, but to the insatiable 
thirst for office. Thus when a cabinet was over- 
thrown ostensibly because of its refusal to abolish 
the sub-prefects, its successor ignored altogether 
the question which had precipitated the crisis.* 
The extreme Left and the extreme Right, having 
nothing else in common, may yet combine mo- 
mentarily for the purpose of overthrowing a 
Unfortu- ' What are the consequences of this situation? 
natere- "The ministers," says Leon Duguit,^ "never sure 
this de- of the morrow, always absorbed by the fear of an 
pendence interpellation and a possible fall, think only of 
recruiting friends in parliament by distributing 
the government favors which they control." As 
a result "the Chamber of Deputies tends more 
and more to interfere in all branches of the ad- 
ministration; it seeks to make its action felt 
in all the details of daily administrative Hfe; 
there is no minor incident of local police, there 
is no appointment of the lowest official, which is 

* Elements de droit constitutionnel, page 1046. 

' De Lanessan, La Crise de la Repuhlique (1914), page 285. 

* " Le Fonctionnement du regime parlementairey" Revue 
politique et parlementairey Vol. XXV (1900), page 367. 



not made the subject of an interpellation. . . , 
This is not the parliamentary system, but a 
caricature." The Chamber has not been willing * 
to trust and follow its chosen leaders. ''Instead 
of limiting itself to cooperation with the ex- 
ecutive power in developing general rules of 
policy," says Joseph Barthelemy,^ "it has sought 
to impose its own ideas. ... It does not ad- 
vise, it orders; it is the supreme guide of the 
administration. . . . The deputy who intervenes 
in the administration is defending his own in- 
terest, the minister who resists him is defending 
only the public interest: the deputy is necessarily 
the stronger. Servants of their constituents, the ^- 
deputies are obliged to bring to the head of the 
State men who will obey them; the ministers are 
so highly placed only that they may obey the 
better. Authority starts at the bottom. The 
government does not govern; it executes." Ac- 
cording to Emile Faguet^ France is governed 
eight months of the year by Parliament, four 
months by the ministers. Individually the 
deputies exert such pressure upon the ministers 
that Camille Sabatier has coined the word "depu- 
tantism" to describe the existing form of govern- 
ment.^ This critical attitude is so general among 

^ Li Role du pouvoir executif dans les republiques modernes 
(1906), pages 681, 683. 

' Problimes politiques (1903), page 8. 

' Revue politique et parlemeniairey Vol. LXX (191 1), page 



leading politicians and publicists that it cannot 
be ascribed to partisan interest or to superficial 
observation. Indeed the prevalence of criticism, 
the belief that reform is imperative, has already 
led to important changes in parliamentary pro- 
cedure. These are discussed in Chapter VII. 
Here it may be noted that the deputies have con- 
sented to a modest curtailment of their right to 
amend money bills; that the exaggerated use of 
the interpellation, by which the minority endeavor 
to discredit the ministers and carry a vote of want 
of confidence, has been somewhat restrained; and 
that the committees, now chosen by a method 
of proportional representation, reflect exactly the 
strength of the various groups and accept govern- 
ment policies more readily than they used to do 
when chosen practically by lot. But these 
changes, after all, while they improve the position 
of the ministers, leave untouched the primary 
cause of their weakness. French writers unite 
in condemning the group system, the multiplicity 
of parties in the Chamber, as inconsistent with the 
proper functioning of parliamentary government; ^ 
and the groups have diminished little in number. 
The alliance of four groups of the Left, which 
gave the ministers a fairly coherent and reliable 
majority during the first years of the century, 
did not prove a permanent solution. Notwith- 
standing the elimination of the monarchists as a 

* Gamer, op. city pages 363-364 and notes; and especially 
de Lanessan, La Crise de la Repiiblique (1914), passim. 



serious political force and the tendency to develop 
a strong Republican Center, France still seems 
far from realizing the ideal of President Poincare 
— **a single central party, very strong, but still 
homogeneous, which . . . would strive to estab- 
lish a practical harmony between those two cor- 
relative notions'* of conservatism and socialism.^ 

The cabinets, like the majorities on which they short 
depend, are ephemeral. ^ Their average life under d|^*^o^ 
the present Constitution has scarcely exceeded inets 
ten months. Only six presidents of the council 
of ministers, have held office continuously for 
more than two years: Jules Ferry (1883-5), Jules 
Meline (1896-8), Waldeck-Rousseau (1899-1902), 
6mile Combes (1902-5), and Georges Clemenceau 
twice (1906-1909 and 19 17-1920), the average 
period for the six being about two years and a 
half. Three retired before the end of a month: 
Rochebouet (1877), Armand Fallieres (1883), and 
Ribot (19 14, four days). With the fall of a 
cabinet, even though some of its members con- 
tinue in office under the new premier, each min- 
istry commonly passes into the hands of a new 
man. There have been exceptional cases; Charles 
de Freycinet as minister of war and Theophile 
Delcasse as minister of foreign affairs retained 

* Revue de Paris, Vol. II (1898), page 649. 

* Leon Muel, GouvernementSy ministeres et constitutions de 
la France de lySg a i8g^ and Histoire politique de la septieme 
legislature {1808-1902); Garner, op. cit.f pages 368-369; and 
list of cabinets given in Appendix Two. 



their portfolios in five successive cabinets, the 
former for five years (1888-92), the latter for 
seven (1898-1905); and continuity in the control 
of departments is now perhaps more common than 
it used to be. Malvy was minister of the interior 
for more than three years (19 14-19 17); Clementel 
minister of commerce for more than four years 
(1915-1920). That there was little precedent for 
the long tenure of Delcasse may be gathered from 
the complaint of the Czar Alexander III. "Dur- 
ing the last sixteen years," he said, "the French 
minister of foreign affairs has been changed fifteen 
times, so that one never knows if one can rely on 
any real continuity in French foreign policy." ^ 
One interesting consequence of cabinet instability 
is the presence in both chambers of a large num- 
ber of men who have at some time achieved the 
dignity of minister. In 1913, according to Joseph 
Barthelemy,^ there were some thirty in the Cham- 
ber, forty in the Senate, and thirty outside 
Parliament. These politicians, having won their 
way to office, perhaps more than once, and thus 
established a kind of claim to future considera- 
tion, are known as ministrables; and Charles de 
Freycinet, prime minister in four cabinets and 
minister in nine others, may be taken as the 
archetype. The newspapers, somewhat face- 
tiously, represent the ministrables as perpetually 
consumed by a thirst for oflice and interested in 

* Vizetelly, Republican France, page 432. 

' Revue du droit public^ Vol. XXX (191 3), page 394. 



nothing so much as the fall of a cabinet. The 
multiplication of groups has been largely due to 
the ambition of politicians to gain entrance to the 
cabinet; by forming and heading separate factions 
they are able to insist upon recognition. That 
ministerial crises should occur with such frequency 
cannot be regarded as inevitable or even normal 
under the parliamentary system. Since 1867, 
when the Canadian provinces federated, the 
Dominion has been governed mainly by three 
men: Sir John A. Macdonald 1 867-1 874 and 
1878-1891, Sir Wilfrid Laurier 1896-1911, and Sir 
Robert Borden from 191 1. Canadians are so well 
satisfied with the working of the two-party system, 
the existence in the House of Commons of a 
government and an alternative government or 
"opposition," that they have made the leader of 
the opposition a state official, paying him a salary 
of $8,000 a year and expecting him not only to 
expose the mistakes of the cabinet but to formu- 
late a positive policy of his own. The contrast 
with English practice is equally striking. In the 
first thirteen years of the century France had 
ten prime ministers; England had only ten in 
the fifty-five years preceding the war. Since 
1875 France has had more than fifty cabinets, 
England only a dozen. 

It must not be taken for granted that the it does 
instability of cabinets involves equal instability ^f*«°*^ 

r • J 1 • • • T T^ 1 discon- 

m policies and administration. In England a tinuity of 
new cabinet brings in a new set of men and, to ^^^^ 



some extent, a new set of measures. But in 
France, where the new cabinet depends on very 
much the same majority as the old and must 
therefore include representatives of very much 
the same groups, the personnel seldom undergoes 
a complete change. Five times out of six (this 
is almost exactly the average) some of the minis- 
ters hold over. Thus Poincare in 191 2 retained 
five members of the outgoing cabinet; Briand 
in 1913, six; Barthou in the same year, five. 
Years ago, when Clemenceau was reproved for 
concerting the downfall of so many cabinets, he 
said: "I fought only one; they are all the same." 
It is no less significant that the chiefs of more 
than one third of the cabinets have held office 
under their immediate predecessors. Latterly 
this proportion has been much higher; since the 
retirement of Sarrien in 1906 eleven of the sixteen 
prime ministers have been taken from the out- 
going cabinet. This continuity in personnel im- 
plies continuity in policy — a result which is all 
the more likely to follow in view of the fact that 
cabinets are driven from office not by the voters 
on some question of general policy, but by the 
Chamber of Deputies usually on some issue of 
relative insignificance. "It thus happens," says 
Professor Garner,^ "that the French chamber will 
overthrow a ministry one day and the next day 
acclaim with enthusiasm and give its confidence 
to a new ministry, a majority of whose members ^ 
» Op. cit.t page 373. I 



belonged to the one condemned the day before 
and who were responsible wholly or in part for 
the policy which caused its downfall." Some 
American writers profess to see positive ad- 
vantages in the weakness of the cabinet. "The^ 
change of cabinets in France," says Professor 
Shotwell,^ "has not the significance it would have 
in England. It does not mean a reversal of 
pohcy. Generally it means more efficiency in 
carrying out the same pohcy. The new cabinet 
takes up the burden where the last one lays it 
down. Behind them all stands Parhament, abso- 
lute master of the whole situation, ready to dis- 
miss the new ministers as soon as they show 
weakness or commit a blunder. The passing of 
French ministers is rather a sign of stable policy 
than of variability, as would be the case in Eng- 
land. . . . There is no senseless swinging of the 
pendulum from extreme conservatism to extreme 
radicahsm. ... It has not been a choice between 
opposite poles, but between more or less of the 
same thing. ... A country which seems a 
paradise of anarchy when one reads of its shifting 
ministries exhibits upon examination a surprising 
degree of regularity, where year by year the 
scope of reforms is enlarged, the democratic bases 
of the Republic are strengthened, and its enemies 
in army or church suppressed." 
Nevertheless the fickleness of the parliamentary 

* " The Political Capacity of the French" Political Science 
Quarterly y Vol. XXIV (1908), pages 119-120. 



But It groups and the vicissitudes of the ministers entail 
af dis- some serious practical disadvantages. In the 
sipate first place there is a dissipation of responsibility, 
responsi- -pj^^ ministers are not in office long enough to 
develop a program and bring it to fruition; the 
task is dropped when half complete and taken up 
by new men who may give it a different character 
or abandon it altogether. M. Ribot, in a caustic 
mood, once remarked that the short life of cabinets 
was an excellent thing, since ministers could 
not, under the circumstances, be criticized for 
failing to keep their promises. And while the 
ministers remain in office they are so beset and 
subjected by the chambers that the voters can 
never tell where the praise or blame should rest; 
in England, on the other hand, where the minis- 
ters dominate parliament, they can be held 
accountable for the whole work of a parliamentary 
session, for the things done and for the things 
(1) hamper Undone. In the second place legislation suffers, 
lejs- Yt is true that the chambers have some notable 


achievements to their credit, that they have 
accomplished in recent years some striking re- 
forms. But when Esmein alludes to "the dis- 
organization of legislative work" and to the fact 
that "the time lost in these struggles and these 
skirmishes prevents the chambers from applying 
themselves to serious and sufficient legislative 
work," ^ he is voicing an opinion that is very 
general among French writers. Parliament must 
* Op. cit.t page 1046. 



be judged by what it has failed to do as well as 
by what it has done; and its sins of omission are 
not all venial. Why, for instance, has France no 
general law regulating the status of civil servants? 
The government employees have demanded it; 
the Chamber has shown itself favorably disposed; 
Clemenceau and other ministers have introduced 
government bills.^ Ten years ago legislation 
seemed imminent; ever since that time ministers 
and committees have been tinkering with bills; 
but new ministers and new committees, interven- 
ing from time to time, have prevented any final 
action being taken. Down to 1914 eight different 
income-tax bills were shaped in committee and 
debated by the Chamber without being enacted 
into law. Over revenue and supply bills the min- 
isters have no adequate control; and the abuses 
which naturally develop under such circum- 
stances have been condemned by all authorita- 
tive writers on public finance. The deplorable 
condition of the finances was revealed in the 
Senate debates on the budget of 1914. The 
reporter demonstrated that instead of a surplus 
of 420,000 francs there would be a deficit of 
465,000,000 francs; this being disguised by de- 
ceptive statements. He attributed the situation 
to the absence of cabinet leadership — to the 
pressure successfully exerted by irresponsible 
members of Parliament. "We have no budget 

* See A. Lefas, U&tat et Us fonctionnaires (1913), page 
257 and 300 rt seq. 



because we have no government/* says de Lanes- 

san/ "and we have no government because our' 

parliamentary system lacks the great parties in- 

and (S) dispensable to its proper functioning." In the 

^^ , third place administration suffers. This results 

the busl- *^ 

nessof partly from the fact that Parliament, having 
adminis- subordinated the ministers, insists upon ad- 
ministering itself. But still more serious is the 
lack of supervision over the executive depart- 
ments. However perfect a bureaucratic organiza- 
tion may be, it always tends to develop certain 
faults. It adheres too closely to precedent; it 
becomes wedded to routine. The business of the 
political chief is not only to determine what 
policy shall be pursued, but also to discover and 
correct abuses which the permanent official may 
hardly be conscious of; and unless he has time 
to familiarize himself with the working of the 
administrative machine, he is not in a position 
either to appreciate the need of reforms or to 
inaugurate them. That the French civil service 
has felt the absence of such control can hardly be 
a matter of dispute. Henri Chardon has shown, 
in several of his writings, what absurd delays 
official red tape imposes.^ In recent years public 
criticism has grown more and more insistent, 
more and more impatient, over the deficiencies of 
the postal service, the telephone service, the rail- 

^ La Crise de la R^publiqm (1914), page 235. 
' See, for instance, Lrs Travaux publics (1904), page 126 
et seq. and 310. 



road service. In fact, says Georges Cahen/ after 
describing some of the conditions which have 
been most generally attacked, "there is not a 
single service which has escaped criticism, not a 
single one which citizens have not had to com- 
plain of." But, as he points out, the root of the 
trouble is not any incapacity on the part of 
permanent officials. The ministers are responsW 
ble, and yet, holding office for a few brief months, 
have no means of discharging their responsibility. 
"When ministers come and go with such rapidity," 
says Percy Ashley,^ "it is certain that each new- 
comer — anticipating but a short stay — will be 
disinclined (unless he be a man of exceptional 
force) to attempt to inaugurate any considerable 
changes, that he will be ready to let matters go 
on in the old departmental way." 

^ Les Fonctionnaires: leur action corporative (191 1), page 51. 
' Local and Central Government (1906), page 72, 



ters as 

THE ministers: their 


THE ministers are, of course, something more 
than parliamentary leaders. They are 
heads of executive departments, directing the 
various branches of administration, deciding in- 
numerable matters which touch private interests, 
and commanding a great force of civil servants 
now hardly less than half a million strong.^ It 
is in this executive capacity that their power is 
most notably displayed. In shaping national 
policies and formulating them as law the ministers 
are, for reasons which have been indicated, rela- 
tively weak; they do not dominate Parliament 
as English and Canadian ministers do; few 
premiers have remained in office long enough to 
impress their personalities upon the country or 
to establish any effective political ascendancy. 
But as heads of departments they possess a wide 
range of power. This is due partly to the rapid 
growth of state activities, of public ownership 

^ For the number of government employees see A. Lefas, 
L'J^tat et les jonctionnalres (1913), pages 25-40. The figure 
given above does not include laborers, the army and navy, 
or the officials of departments and communes. 


and public regulation. But it is due still more to 
the fact that France is a unitary state, subject in 
matters of both local and national concern to /- 
the ^^^ll of Parliament, and at the same time 
highly centralized. The field of local autonomy 
which Parliament has marked out for the sub- 
ordinate divisions of the country — for the 
departments and communes — is somewhat re- 
stricted; and even where competent to act, the 
local authorities are in many ways subject to 
supervision and control. 

This centralization is well exemplified by the French 
position of the prefect. Appointed by the minister ^^^] 
of the interior and subject to removal on purely (d cen- 
political grounds, he is at once the representative *^*^®** 
of the national government and the chief execu- 
tive officer of the department. In the latter role 
he executes the resolutions of a local assembly, 
the general council; but because his tenure of 
office is independent of its will and because on 
his advice its resolutions may be annulled by the 
minister, he is far from being a mere agent of 
the council; he usually quite overshadows it. As 
the representative of the national government he 
carries out the instructions of the ministers and 
supervises the conduct of national business within 
the department. His duties cover an astonishing 
range. They relate to such diverse subjects as 
elections, agriculture, police, sanitation, public 
lands, highways, education, communal affairs, 
and recruiting for the army. He is, for instance, 



chairman of the departmental council of primary 
instruction and appoints teachers in the primary 
schools. The main highways, even where they 
pass through the confines of a large city, come 
under his jurisdiction as agent of the minister of 
public works. He exercises a large measure of 
control over the communes. "In fact," says 
Paul Deschanel,^ "most of the communes are 
administered by the bureaux of the prefectures 
and subprefectures." 
(2) con- But administrative power is not only central- 
centrated j^ed — the national government supervising and 
restricting the action of local government; it is 
also concentrated. Little initiative or discretion 
^ is left in the hands of the agents of the central 
ministries. Supervision has been pushed to an 
extreme which often results in absurd delays and 
impairs administrative efficiency. According to 
Noell,^ not a franc can be spent, not a chair or a 
towel purchased without authority from Paris. 
On one occasion an official had to wait two years 
for permission to buy a box of pins, the request 
passing successively through the hands of twenty- 
five or thirty higher officials. With improvements 
in the means of intercourse the tendency towards 
concentration has been accentuated. "A minister 
who can talk familiarly from his cabinet with the 
prefect of Pau or Lille," says the Marquis d*Ave- 

* Revuf hehdomadairey April, 1910, page 44. 

* V Administration de la France: les ministrres, etc, (191 1), 
page 209. 



nel,^ "evidently possesses an authority more ex- 
tensive than his predecessors of sixty years ago. 
A prefect who can be scolded from the cabinet is 
no more than a bureau chief." These circum- 
stances explain the widespread and growing senti- 
ment in favor of ''deconcentration," of entrusting 
to local agents a larger power of decision. Such 
a reform would not deprive the minister of 
effective control. He would still exert pressure 
as he does now by means of periodic inspection. 
The inspectors (who are attached to all the execu- 
tive departments except those of justice and 
foreign affairs) are appointed by presidential 
decree, sometimes after competitive examination. 
They make tours of inspection during the summer 
months and, after rendering their reports, re- 
main in Paris to advise the minister on matters 
relating to the exterior services. 

Whatever minor divergencies may exist, the Theoiy 
same general plan of organization prevails in ^^ 
each of the fifteen mmistries.^ The mmister of minis- 
rules, as over a principality, with almost despotic 
sway. He controls the personnel; he renders all 
final decisions; he is responsible for everything. 
Such is the theory. In practice limitations con- 
front him at every turn. In appointing and re- 
moving subordinates he is subject to restraints 
which have gone far towards the elimination of 
patronage and spoils. Physical facts circum- 

* Id.f page 208. 

* On this subject see H. Noell, op. cit. 

C 103 ] 



scribe his power of decision. The mass of 
administrative business is so formidable that, 
considering the many demands upon his time, 
he cannot hope to be famihar with anything but 
its broader aspects. He spends the morning in 
consultation with the other ministers or with 
politicians who, for themselves or their friends, 
press him for favors and concessions; the more 
extensive his patronage, the more numerous and 
insistent are his visitors. In the afternoon he is 
occupied with parliamentary duties, committee 
meetings, the preparation of a speech, or some 
other political interest. Towards six o'clock, 
according to the lively description of Henri 
Chardon,^ letters and documents of all kinds, 
representing the labors of the departmental 
bureaux for the day or for several days, are 
hurried to his private office to be signed. The 
officials wait impatiently and anxiously in the 
antechamber. If he does not sign, the whole 
business of the department will be suspended. 
Where is he.? What is he doing? "At last the 
minister takes his courage in both hands; he 
signs; he signs with all his might, thus accepting 
responsibility for a mass of documents with 
which he has not time to acquire the most super- 
ficial acquaintance. No elaborate ruse would be 
needed to obtain his signature for some matter 
which would raise the greatest objections. What 

* V Administration de la France: les jonctionnaires (1908), 
page no. 

C 104] 


errors, what stupidities and iniquities the most 
intelligent and upright man might authorize!'* 
The official says to the minister, not in words, 
but in his very attitude: "Here is an order which 
you have not given; it refers to^ matters which, 
according to all appearances, you know nothing 
about. We conceived it before your advent; 
we will execute it after your departure. But we 
need your signature and, without it, can do 
nothing." ^ 

The legal situation is evidently anomalous. Proposed 
The minister must sign everything and assume ^°°^^ **' 
the responsibility. Yet he does not know what ments by 
he is signing; for it would take hours to master *^® 
the contents or a smgle important paper. He nent of- 
regulates the personnel. Yet in a few brief ^*^**^^- 
months of office, before he has even familiarized 
himself with the business of the department, 
how can he decide wisely upon administrative 
reforms or upon questions affecting the personnel 
under him? There is an unmistakable movement 
in France to reduce the minister's authority or 
at least to bring the theory of his position into 
closer relation with actualities. ^ He has neither 
the time nor the knowledge to administer directly. 
Parliament, the organ which formulates the public 

^ Robert de Jouvenal quoted in de Lanessan, La Crise de 
la Rgpublique, page 288. 

^ Hauriou, Principes de droit public (1910), page 489, and 
Precis de droit administratif (1914), page 145; Duguit, op. cit.. 
Vol. I, page 460 et seg. 

[ 105 ] 


policies, put him in office, not to execute those 
policies, but to supervise their execution; to 
watch the working of the administrative machine, 
to remove its defects, and to keep it always at a 
high level of efficiency. He should be, says 
Chardon, not one twelfth of a king or emperor, 
but a mere controller-general. Indeed the syndi- 
calists actually propose to suppress the minister 
entirely and to substitute collective management 
by the permanent officials. This proposal, 
though in a modified form, has found support 
among publicists of sound judgment and eminent 
standing who believe that with the decay of the 
conception of sovereignty and with the steady 
growth of technical public services it is bound to 
be accepted. It seems, says Leon Duguit,^ "to 
furnish the altogether natural solution of one of 
the gravest problems which our modern societies 
face and which may be formulated thus: how to 
harmonize the constant and necessary increase 
in the number of public services with the protec- 
tion of the individual against the omnipotence 
of his rulers and with the free development of 
individual energies. ... If the rulers exploited 
all these services directly or by agents abso- 
lutely dependent upon themselves, their power 
would become formidable. Economic forces 
would crush the individual." 

What is this syndicalist system which would 
supplant the minister.? It would apply to the 
» Op. cit.y Vol. I, page 465. 



technical services (education, posts, railroads, How 
etc.), not to those which provide for internal ^^^j 
security and protection from foreign dangers, operate 
Control by the government would be fully guaran- 
teed and maintained. The government would be 
able to intervene to insure the proper functioning 
of the service and due respect for the law. It 
would have the right to approve or disapprove, 
the right to annul any act which violated the law; 
and while the corporate group of permanent 
civil servants would conduct the service, acting 
in obedience to chiefs elected by themselves and 
profiting in some degree from the results of care- 
ful management, they would be Hable individually 
and collectively for mistakes and derelictions. 
The first tentative steps have been taken. Repre- 
sentatives of the permanent officials already have 
a voice in questions of promotion and discipline. 
But whatever the future has in store, no con- 
siderable breach has yet been made in the existing 

The minister, occupied with political duties as Depart- 
a parliamentary leader and with executive duties ™ganiza- 
as head of a ministry, cannot carry his burden tion: 
alone. Nor can he depend altogether upon the cabinet 
permanent officials, because that would mean 
confiding control to those who are to be controlled. 
He must have as lieutenants men who enjoy his 
absolute confidence and share his ideas. The 
undersecretaries do not meet these requirements. 
Aside from the fact that they exist only by way 



of exception (being attached to the four or five 
busiest departments), they are not intended to 
act as general assistants to the ministers. They 
are rather ministers of a second grade, assigned 
in any given department to some particular 
branch of administration which separates itself 
naturally from the rest. The men who assist 
and advise the minister, who act as the indis- 
pensable intermediaries between him and the 
permanent staff, form what is known as the 
cabinet. The cabinet always includes a chief, 
an assistant chief, a secretary, and several at- 
taches. The minister, in making these appoint- 
ments, is subject to no limiting civil service rules; 
in view of his confidential relationship with the 
cabinet, restrictions of any kind would be out of 
place. Sometimes the minister chooses the cabinet 
chief from his own family: the future President 
Casimir-Perier entered public life in that way 
when his father was minister of the interior. 
More often, because mature experience and tested 
judgment are required, his choice falls upon 
some permanent official of high rank. The at- 
taches are young men who, having just taken 
their law degree or completed their studies at 
the ^cole des sciences politiqueSy are anxious to 
make a government career. It is not the salary 
that attracts them; for there is usually no 
salary. They like the position because of the 
prestige which it confers, the future possibilities 
it holds in store. There is the liveliest competition 


for appointment. In no other way can an inex- 
perienced young man suddenly assume importance 
and bear a part, however humble it may be, in 
shapin^c:; the destinies of the country. He ac- 
companies the minister on special trains; he 
drives to the unveiling of a monument or the 
opening of an exposition, surrounded by military 
pomp and display. The cabinet incarnates the 
authority of the minister. It lives his life, it 
shares his fortunes: an unstable situation, but a 
privileged one. And before the minister descends 
from office he makes it a point to find for the 
members of his cabinet desirable places in the 
permanent service, places which are opened to 
them by his personal intervention, by special 
decrees (if necessary) suspending the ordinary 
rules that govern appointments. The cabinet 
has been much criticized in recent years, partly 
because inexperienced attaches show a meddle- 
some disposition which the permanent officials 
resent, partly because the minister, responding 
to pressure, appoints an excessive number of 
attaches and later procures for them civil service 
posts that they are not qualified to fill. 

The minister and his cabinet are political (2) the 
officers. Their tenure is dependent upon the will ^f''^*^- 

- * ..^ tions 

of Parliament, the policy-determmmg organ; and orserv- 
they give effect to the will of Parliament by **^®^ 
issuing orders to the permanent staff. The 
highest rank in the permanent staff is held by 
the directors, the chiefs of the four or five direc^ 



iions or services into which each ministry is 
divided. In view of the recurring ministerial 
crises and the consequent difficulty of maintain- 
ing continuity and tradition, it seems unfortunate 
that the different services are no longer correlated, 
as they used to be, under a single permanent 
chief; ^ but the directors meet together occasion- 
ally as a " council of directors," with the minister 
as chairman, to consider the general business of the 
department. They sit on many of the advisory 
commissions which cooperate in administrative 
work.2 When the departmental budget is before 
Parliament, the minister appoints them to assist 
in the debates as "government commissioners." 
They sit in the Council of State as councilors in 
(S) the special service.^ But their energies are chiefly 
given to supervising the labors of the four or five 
bureaux which compose each direction. The 
director, when any question is referred to him by 

^ Note the opinion of Jules Meline in Rgvuf hebdomadaiUf 
Vol. Ill (191 1), page 18 ft seq. 

' These commissions are an excellent feature of French 
administration; they bring together political, administrative, 
and lay elements in useful cooperation. They are for the 
most part technical bodies to which matters are referred for 
advice, some being appointed by decree or ministerial order 
and some (like the superior council of public instruction) 
being elected. The number connected with each ministry 
varies from five to forty-three. See the full list in the Ah 
manach national. 

' Not all the directors, but an aggregate of twenty-one 
drawn from the different ministries. For the Council of State 
see Chapter XI. 




the minister's cabinet, examines it and transmits 
it, with instructions, to the competent bureau 
chief. The bureau is the fundamental unit in 
the administrative machine. Everything passes 
through its hands; and while the minister is pre- 
sumed to make the decisions, he does so on the 
basis of information furnished by the bureau or in 
conformity with the specific solutions it suggests. 
Being so much occupied with political duties and 
so unfamiliar with the details of departmental 
business, he finds himself at a disadvantage in 
dealing with the experts. Sometimes they quite 
escape from his control. Camille Pelletan, minis- 
ter of marine under Combes, complained that the 
bureaux blocked his projects of reform. "In the 
place of a parliament which makes the ministers, 
they in turn regulating the action of the bureaux," 
he declared, "we have bureaux which regulate 
the action of the ministers and through them give 
impetus to parliament." ^ 

The minister cannot interfere arbitrarily with civa- 
the organization and personnel of the bureaux. ^^^^ 
The rules that govern such matters as appoint- the 
ment, promotion, discipline, and salary are es- ger^ces 
tablished not by simple ministerial orders (arreies), 
but by ordinances of public administration which 
are issued in the council of ministers and sub- 
mitted to the Council of State for its opinion. 
In other words, the minister can alter these rules 
or suspend them only by a special procedure en- 
* Noell, op. cU., page ii2. 



tailing delay, publicity, and possible criticism. 
Patronage exists, but in a restricted, attenuated 
form. The employees are grouped into grades 
and classified within the grades according to the 
salaries they receive. For the most part appoint- 
ments are made by competitive examination, but 
in the lower grades, under a law of 1905, places 
are reserved for non-commissioned officers who 
have served ten years in the army and have been 
recommended by a special committee in the 
ministry of war.^ In promoting from grade to 
grade and from class to class the minister is 
limited to the names appearing on the annual 
promotion list, a list prepared by the council of 
directors ^ in conformity with conditions laid 
down by decree. Thus an official can normally 
pass into a higher grade only after a minimum 
service of five years.^ Measures of discipline may 
take the form of reprimand, removal from the 
promotion list, reduction in class or grade, or 
dismissal. In every case the accused official may 
demand a statement of the charges against him; 
and, if the charges are serious, he has the right to 
appear before the council of directors (including, 
for this purpose, two officials of his own grade) 
and to present testimony to controvert the 
charges.^ For various reasons places in the 

1 Id.y page 147. 

* That is, by the heads of the several directions or services 
in the department acting in concert. 

' Id.y page 160 et seq. * Id.f page 165. 



ministries are highly valued. They carry with 
them residence in Paris, something of a social 
position, security of tenure, and ultimately a 
pension. Nor are the hours of labor oppressive — 
six or seven a day, with a vacation of two or four 
weeks on full pay. These circumstances help to 
explain the smallness of the salaries. The directors 
get from ^2400 to ^4000; the bureau chiefs, 
$1200 to $2400; employees in the two lowest 
grades (who usually draw in addition a small army 
pension) ^420 to ^960.^ 

It should be held in mind that state officials, Pensions 
whether in the central services at Paris or in the 
exterior services, have enjoyed since 1853 the 
advantages of a generous pension system.^ The 
cost is partly defrayed by an annual assessment 
of live per cent on salaries and partly by a charge 
on the national budget. The law distinguishes 
between sedentary and active employment; of- 
ficials retire in the first case at sixty after thirty 
years of service, in the second case at fifty after 
twenty-five years of service. These provisions 
are not rigidly applied. The Council of State, 
in adjusting individual claims, has developed a 
humane and liberal system of law. It has au- 
thorized the payment of pensions where an 
official had served the required period without 
reaching the age limit and where an official, 

* Noell, page 155. 

^ On this subject see Haurlou, Precis de droit administratif 
(1914), page 652 et seq. 



being seriously injured in the discharge of his 
duties, lacked both age and service requirements. 
The amount of the pension is based on the average 
salary received in the last six years; the claimant 
receives one-sixtieth of this average for each year 
of service with a possible maximum of three 
fourths of the average. Certain officials, because 
of the instability of their positions, may claim 
pensions without making any contributions, the 
prefects being included in this class. Laborers 
come under the workingmen's pension law of 
1910. No one questions the advisability of grant- 
ing pensions; even in private employment it is 
becoming the rule. If the system were abolished, 
the state would have to increase salaries; fqr 
officials consider the pension in reckoning the 
size of their salaries. The supreme advantage is 
that men who have passed the age of usefulness 
can be retired without being reduced to penury 
and that young men can consequently look 
forward to more rapid promotion, 
cwi- The central services include only a small frac- 

ruies^ tion of the government employees, a few thou- 
the ex- sands of clerks as compared with the hundreds of 
thousands engaged in the exterior services. The 
laws of 1882 and 1900 which, to a limited extent, 
protect officials of the central services from 
arbitrary treatment do not apply to the exterior 
services. Only in the case of the army and navy, 
the judiciary (which is considered in the last 
chapter), and university professors have laws 












been enacted to establish security of tenure and 
freedom from political influence. Professors can- 
not be suspended or removed unless the decision 
of the local university council is confirmed by a 
two thirds vote of the superior council of public 
instruction.^ But the absence of legal regulation 
does not imply absolute dependence upon the 
caprice of the politicians. By decrees or minis- 
terial orders a fairly coherent merit system has 
begun to take shape. While in theory the minister 
continues to wield a despotic authority, he is 
checked at every turn by decrees which he has 
the power to suspend or supersede, but which 
he hesitates to touch unless the political necessity 
is great. Thus appointments are normally made 
under a system of competitive examinations. 
Promotions are made partly by seniority, partly 
by choice. As with the central services, the 
minister must confine his choice to the names 
appearing on the annual promotion list compiled 
by a council which (in some services) includes 
members elected by the officials themselves.^ 
Similar councils have been established to deal 
with questions of discipline.^ They have de- 
veloped forms of procedure which invest them 
with the dignity of administrative courts. While 

^ Hauriou, op. aV., page 642 et seq.; Duguit, Trait^y Vol. I, 
page 497 et seq. 

^ Georges Cahen, Les Fonctionnaires: Uur action corporative 
(191 1), pages 227 and 251. 

* Id., pages 231-235; Duguit, op. cit., Vol. I, page 505. 



the minister is not legally bound by their findings, 
he usually accepts them without modification. In 
the postal service the accused official may have 
access to the record of the charges against him 
at least three days before the council meets and 
may be defended by an attorney or by another 
official of the same grade. The minister cannot 
impose a higher penalty than the council fixes. 
These are substantial rights; but the postal em- 
ployees demand still more. They demand that 
the elective members of the council should equal 
in number the appointed members, that the pro- 
ceedings should be public, and that the reasons 
for the decision should be given. The most 
severe disciplinary measure is removal, which 
carries with it the loss of pension rights. Under 
the decisions of the Council of State an employee 
can be removed only by the authority which 
made the appointment and in the same form. If 
no formal irregularity exists, the act of removal 
cannot be annulled; but where the official 
has been removed unjustly or abruptly and 
for no fault of his own, the Council of State 
has in recent years (since 1903) conceded an 

It appears, then, that under the normal func- 
tioning of the civil service the official has a fairly 
Their secure and independent position. But abuses 
exist; and they attract all the more attention 
because they stand out as exceptions to an ideal 
which has been so nearly achieved. The minister 




who wishes to find places for his adherents is 
confronted by no statutory obstacles. Should he 
deliberately override the rules, his appointments 
may be attacked before the Council of State and 
annulled as in excess of power; and this would 
be possible even if the rules were of his own mak- 
ing. But the course he usually pursues is open 
to no legal objection. The decrees and orders 
which regulate the civil service may be suspended 
by other decrees and orders. In one ministry 
the rules were thus set aside ten times in four 
years to make room for cabinet attaches. In- 
stances of favoritism are numerous.^ "Most of 
the high places in the administration/* M. Steeg 
declared in ParHament,^ "and always those which 
are the least onerous and the best paid, are filled, 
now as formerly, neither by the senior officials 
nor by those who have demonstrated their in- 
telligence, activity, and competence. They go 
to the young attaches who, after having elegantly 
decorated the minister's anteroom, are established 
in the best posts." While favoritism is the chief 
subject of complaint, it is by no means the only 
one. The salaries are too low. "A large number 
of minor officials do not get three francs a day," 
says Georges Cahen.^ "A teacher with a family 

* Lefas, op. cit.t pages 62-68; Georges Cahen, op. cit., 
page 20 ft seq.; Noell, op. cit.y note, pages 50-51; Chardon, 
op. cit.y pages 147-148. 

* Quoted in Lefas, page 64. 

* Op. cit.y page 17. 



must live on 1200 francs.'* Pierre Baudin, who 
has served as minister of marine and minister of 
public works, wrote in 1912: ^ "The French state 
has too many underpaid officials. Few servants, 
but servants who work and who are well paid — 
such should be the rule of conduct for the modern 
state. Unhappily we are far from that ideal. 
We maintain a multitude of employees who do 
too little work and receive too little pay. Our 
public workshops, such as those of the marine, 
are overcrowded with workmen whose salaries 
are insufficient and whose mechanical equipment 
is mediocre." 
Agitation The officials demand a higher scale of salaries; 
ItrtJk ^"^ ^^^y ^^^ ^^^^^ more insistent in pressing for 
Bervice complete emancipation from the interference of 
^ politicians, for a stable condition which will 

definitely fix their rights and duties. They urge 
the government to enact a civil-service law; and 
they expect that law to provide for appointment 
by competitive examination, automatic promotion 
by seniority, and discipline administered under 
settled rules by a council which should contain, 
besides high officials, a judicial element and 
representatives elected by the lower grades.^ The 
ministers have been reluctant to grant these 
demands. They cling jealously to the patronage 
that remains in their hands and with respect 
to salaries content themselves with replying that 

* Quoted in Lefas, page 53. 

* See the detailed discussion in Lefas, op. cit.y pages 95-136. 



even a small increase would in the aggregate lay 
a heavy burden upon the national budget. On 
the other hand the officials are so numerous and 
so well organized that their political action cannot 
be taken lightly by the government. At the 
opening of the century they formed professional 
associations which at the time of their federation 
in 1905 had a membership of some two hundred 
thousand.^ They sought by every legal means 
to safeguard the interests of their members. They 
succeeded in having improper appointments 
annulled by the Council of State. In no uncer- 
tain tones they formulated demands for legisla- 
tion. The failure of the government to meet 
these demands set loose a new and menacing 

Syndicalism had spread from private industry Syndicai- 
to public industry before the close of the nine- ^ 
teenth century. First the workmen engaged in pubUc 
the manufacture of tobacco and matches (state ^®^^®* 
monopolies) organized; then the postal em- 
ployees. The formation of syndicates was at 
that time illegal and, according to the leading 
authorities,^ remained so (for government em- 

^ Georges Cahen, op. cit.y pages 109-110; Lefas, op. cit.y 
pages 150-159. According to the latter there were over six 
hundred associations in 1913 with about four hundred thou- 
sand members. 

* Hauriou, op. cit., pages 647-648; Duguit, Traitey Vol. I, 
page 514. The latter says in another place {Le Droit social^ 
131); "No officials of any kind can form a syndicate. . . . 
This is beyond question." 




ployees) after the passage of the Associations 
Law of 1 901. Their avowed purpose, which is to 
regulate the government services by resorting 
to the strike, conflicts with certain provisions of 
the penal code. But while the ministers checked 
the movement in some cases (the school teachers 
in 1887, the railroad employees in 1894), they 
acquiesced in others. In 1902 Camille Pelletan, 
the minister of marine, allowed the arsenal workers 
to organize. Three or four years later the pro- 
fessional associations, exasperated over the dilatory 
tactics of the government, began to transform 
themselves into syndicates and enter into alliance 
with the General Federation of Labor. The 
school teachers held a great syndicalist congress 
in Paris early in 1906. The first practical mani- 
festation of the new spirit occurred in 1904 when 
the arsenal workers struck. Pelletan announced 
that those who did not return to work would lose 
their places. His threats had no effect; and 
finally the men succeeded in obtaining substantial 
concessions, the eight-hour day included.^ Two 
strikes of postal employees followed in 1906 and 
1909: the first, confined to Paris, was broken by 
the use of soldiers in distributing the mail; the 
second, affecting the whol^ postal service, was 
'Successful. Finally, in the autumn of 1910, came 
the railroad strike which, by interrupting the 
transportation of foodstuffs, affected the interests 

1 For the strikes of 1906-1910 and the legal and practical 
questions involved see Lefas, op. cit.j pages 175-210. 



of the whole community. There was some rioting 
and destruction of property. But the prime 
minister, Aristide Briand, braving the anger of 
the Socialist party, called the strikers into military 
service and thus averted the crisis. 

Briand's resolute attitude had a far-reaching Attitude 
effect. It not only ended the railroad strike, but J^s^j^g 
it also discouraged the malcontents in other Briajid 
public services. For the moment syndicalism 
faltered. The original impulse seemed to be 
spent. But if the government had at last come 
to the point of opposing force to force, the dis- 
orders of the past few years had shown the 
necessity of administrative reform. Briand him- 
self fully appreciated the situation. "Why be 
astonished at the growing discontent of the 
officials?" he had asked in 1906. "In their 
discouragement they are turning toward the 
workingmen; they perceive that, by uniting in , 
syndicates, the workingmen have been able to de- 
fend their interests against their more powerful 
employers. . . . The remedy lies neither in men- 
ace nor in persecution." * He believed that the 
grievances of the officials should be satisfied by 
legislation. Since that time various bills have 
been before the Chamber of Deputies.^ But 
final action has been delayed by the disagreements 
between the ministers and the legislative com- 
mittees, by the recurring cabinet crises with conse- 

^ Quoted in Georges Cahen, op. cit., page 124. 
^ For the details see Lefas, op. cit., pages 298-379. 




quent shifts in policy, and by the emergence of 
other important questions, such as electoral re- 
form and military service. From the outbreak 
of the war the energies of the government were 
completely absorbed by new problems. 






ROM the Standpoint of its powers the French The 
Parliament enjoys a much freer range of ^5^.° 
action than the American Congress. True, it is mentary 
limited by a written constitution. But that con- ^^®^ 
stitution, which does Httle more than describe 
the framework of government, diverts no au- 
thority from the central organs in the interests of 
local areas or of personal or property rights; and 
since the courts may not question the validity of 
a statute, even a statute manifestly in conflict 
with the constitution. Parliament, after all, de- 
termines finally the extent of its own powers. It 
may also, by a very simple process, amend the 

Parliament is a bicameral body, with a Cham- Senate a 
ber of Deputies sitting in the Palais Bourbon and ^^hist 
a Senate sitting in the Luxembourg. This bi- institu- 
cameral system does not accord with Republican 
traditions, for the First and Second Republics, 
like the Third Republic down to 1876, were 
governed by single chambers. But to the mon- 
archists in the National Assembly an upper house, 
sheltered from the direct play of universal suf- 
frage, seemed essential as a barrier to democracy 
and as a means of safeguarding their future in- 

accept It 


terests. They refused to settle anything, even 
the continuing form of government, until the 
existence of a conservative Senate had been 
assured. It is significant that the constitutional 
law of February 24, adopted before any other 
part of the constitution, dealt exclusively with 
the upper house and determined matters of detail 
which, in the case of the Chamber of Deputies, 
were left to statutory regulation. "The Consti- 
tution of 1875," as M. de Belcastel said,^ **is 
first of all a Senate." 
RadicaLi That the Republicans gave way before this 
insistence illustrates the spirit of compromise 
which animated the assembly. The Right and 
Left Centers, it will be remembered, arranged 
something in the nature of a treaty involving 
sacrifices on both sides; and the Left, following 
the advice of Gambetta, made the Republic pos- 
sible by accepting a second chamber.^ The Radi- 
cals alone held aloof. For the next quarter of a 
century they demanded the abolition of the 
Senate. That the party has experienced a change 
of heart in recent years, however, is seen in the 
silence of its national platforms on this point and 
in the tone of deference which its newspapers 

* J. Barthelemy, " Les Resistances du Senat" Revue du 
droit publiquey Vol. XXX (1913), page 373. 

* Gambetta, who had earlier led the Republican opposition 
to a second chamber, accepted it in 1875 on the ground of 
expediency and justified it in 1882 as a necessary feature of 
democratic government. See Barthelemy, op. cit.y page 375. 

[ 124 ] 


employ when alluding to the Senate. The Radi- 
cals like the Senate because they control it. In 
1914 more than half the members (167 of 300) 
belonged to their group/ these including such 
prominent leaders as Leon Bourgeois (who fought 
the Senate when premier in 1896), Clemenceau, 
Pelletan, Peytral, Combes, Doumergue, Pams, 
Sarrien, and Steeg. The elections of 1920 re- 
duced their numbers but slightly. Antonin Du- 
bost, who once wrote a book against the Senate, 
was for years its president; Leon Bourgeois suc- 
ceeded him in 1920. Nowadays the Senate is 
hardly less radical than the Chamber and meets 
with constant criticism in such moderate news- 
papers as the Temps and Debats. 

But the monarchists of 1875 intended the 
Senate to serve as a bulwark of conservatism and 
to impose restraints upon the rashness and radi- 
calism of the other house. This purpose found 
expression in various ways. To ensure delibera- 
tive calm the membership was fixed at 300 (it 
has now been fixed at 314)^ or approximately 
half that of the Chamber of Deputies: a wise 
arrangement and one which has contributed to 

was in- 
tended to 

^ Samuel et Bonet-Maury, Les Parlementaires franfais 
(1914). See table of senate groups at end of the volume. 
The Radicals form the Democratic Left of the Senate. 

2 The law of October 19, 1919, which divided Alsace- 
Lorraine into the departments of the Upper Rhine, the Lower 
Rhine, and the Moselle, assigned to these departments re* 
spectively four, five, and five seats in the Senate. 



the decorum of procedure. But it places the 
Senate at a disadvantage when the two chambers 
unite in national assembly to choose a President; 
and this inferiority encourages a spirit of revenge. 
Thus, in 1913, when Raymond Poincare was elected 
in the face of bitter opposition from a majority 
of the Senate, the Radical-Socialists retaliated 
almost immediately by rejecting Briand's electoral 
reform bill which the Chamber had adopted. 
Several days before the vote the announcement 
was made that 162 senators had pledged them- 
selves to this course. Afterwards Briand*s elo- 
quence and his demand for a vote of confidence 
fell on deaf ears, 
itsorif- The constitution originally divided the mem- 
bers of the Senate into two categories. A quarter 
of them, chosen by the National Assembly, were 
to sit for life, the Senate itself filling vacancies 
due to death, resignation, or other cause. "The 
majority was anxious," says Esmein,^ "to assure 
the executive power of a permanent support in 
the Senate, which would not depend upon the 
shifting currents of public opinion: the seventy- 
five were to be this unshakable rock." If the 
monarchists had worked together, they could 
hav^ secured every one of the seventy-five; but 
a cleavage in their ranks enabled the Republicans, 
with the help of Legitimist votes, to secure more 
than two thirds of them and thus defeat the pur- 
pose for which the life senatorships had been 
* Slements de droit constiiutionnel (1914), page 917. j 





established. The other seats, 225 in number, 
were distributed among the departments and 
colonies with some regard to population, the 
maximum quota being five (for the Seine and 
Nord) and the minimum one. The colonies re- 
ceived seven seats.* The National Assembly had 
some difficulty in deciding on the system of elec- 
tion. At one time monarchist dissensions made 
it possible for the Assembly to adopt, by a nar- 
row majority, direct universal suffrage; but 
Marshal MacMahon demanded a reconsideration 
of the vote. The ultimate solution was suggested 
by the method then employed in the election of 
United States senators. An electoral college in 
each department took the place of the state legis- 
lature under the American plan. The electoral 
college included four different elements: (i) the 
deputies sitting for districts within the depart- 
ment; (2) the general councilors, who constitute 
the departmental legislature; (3) the councilors 
of each arrondissement (or subordinate division 
of the department) ; and (4) one delegate chosen 
by each communal council. This scheme was 
admirably suited to serve the interests of the 
Right. It left control in the hands of the con- 
servative rural communes. The deputies and 
wuncilors, proceeding directly from universal 
suffrage, formed less than a sixth of the senatorial 
electors; the thirty-six thousand communes of 
France, each represented by a single delegate 

* Constitutional law of February 24, Art. 2. 

tlons in 


whether its population was five hundred or fifty 
thousand, determined the character of the Senate 
which became, according to Gambetta's phrase, 
"the grand council of the communes." Equal 
representation of the communes as social groups 
had been shrewdly devised. "The desire was 
to make the Senate profoundly conservative by 
giving the preponderance in the electoral college 
to the rural communes which were by far 
the most numerous and whose tendencies were 
known." ^ 
Modifica- The Republicans, while generally becoming 
reconciled to the Senate as a permanent organ of 
government, condemned as undemocratic both 
the life mandates and the equal representation of 
the communes. After 1879, when they first se- 
cured a majority in the Senate, they were in a 
position to modify its structure; and, by a con- 
stitutional amendment of 1884, Parliament was 
left free to deal with the whole subject.^ A re- 
form statute was passed in the same year.* It 
provided that the life senatorships should be 
abolished as each became vacant (the last one 
lapsed during the late war) and that the seventy- 
five seats should be distributed by lot among 

* Esmeln, op. cit., page 913; and note the observations of 
Duguit, Traitf de droit constitutionnel, Vol. II, page 243. 

* The first seven articles of the constitutional law of Febru- 
ary 24 were deprived of their constitutional character. 

* December 9. For the text see Dodd, Modern Constitu- 



the most populous departments, the Seine receiv- 
ing an increase of five, the Nord three, and 
so on.^ The statute also changed the basis of 
communal representation. While abandoning the 
principle of equality because of the conservative in- 
fluence of landed property in the rural communes, 
it did not go so far as to substitute the principle 
of population; moderate RepubHcans feared the 
growing class-consciousness of the workingmen in 
large centers. The idea was to give a prepon- 
derant voice to communes of moderate size (four 
or five thousand population), these being strong- 
holds of the middle bourgeoisie.^ The number of 
delegates now varies with the size of the council 
which, under the municipal code of 1884 (Article 
10), depends to some extent upon the size of the 
commune. Thus communes with a population of 
500 or less have a council of ten members and 
send one delegate to the electoral college; com- 
munes with a population of more than 60,000 
send the maximum of 24 delegates. The in- 
equalities of this systefn have been much criti- 
cized. Joseph Barthelemy, for instance, has 
pointed out ^ that while Marseilles with over 
400,000 inhabitants has 24 delegates, 17 other 
towns in the same department with an aggregate 
population of 30,000 have the same representa- 

* The institution of life senatorships had, however, much 
to recommend it. See Duguit, op. cit., Vol. II, page 247. 
2 Barthelemy, op. cit., page 389. 
» Op. cit., page 389. 



tion; and that Lille with over 200,000 inhabitants 
has the same number of delegates as 24 little 
towns with an aggregate population of 4000. 
But the inequalites are less striking than they 
were under the original scheme.^ 
Senate Senators are elected for nine years, but not all 

resenta^ ate elected at once. Every three years, dating 
tiveof from 1876, the term of one third of the Senators 
Mbiic'* expires. This practice of partial elections, which 
opinion was applied to the American Senate nearly a 
hundred years earlier, tends to preserve con- 
tinuity, but it also tends to make the Senate less 
responsive to the current opinion of the voters. 
The indirect system of election emphasizes this 
irresponsiveness. A senator who is drawing near 
to the end of his nine-year term is more than nine 
years from the voters, because the members of 
the electoral college may themselves have been 
nearing the end of a term of four years (in the 
case of deputies and municipal councilors) or 
six years (in the case of councilors of the depart- 
ment and arrondissements). The Senate therefore 
represents old ideas. In 191 3, when it over- 
threw Aristide Briand, it represented not the new 
spirit of France, the spirit of national unity and 
conciliation, but the Radical-Socialist doctrines 

* In 1896 and at various times since then bills have been 
introduced providing for the direct election of the Senate by 
universal suffrage. The bill of 1896 passed the Chamber, but 
the others were not brought to debate. See Esmein, op. cit., 
page 926, and Duguit, op. cU., Vol. II, page 246. 



typified by Combes (premier from 1902 to 1905). 
That the country had grown tired of these doc- 
trines had just been demonstrated by the election 
of Raymond Poincare to the presidency and by 
the enthusiasm with which the country greeted 
him. The strength of the Radical-Socialist party 
in the Senate reflects the strength w^hich it pos- 
sessed in the country ten or fifteen years ago. 

Candidates for the Senate must be French Election 
citizens forty years of age enjoying full political senators 
and civil rights. The statutes also lay down 
certain absolute disqualifications, these applying 
to persons who belong to the former royal families 
of France, who have not satisfied the require- 
ments of the military law", and (with exceptions) 
who are engaged in active service with the army 
or navy; and there are also "relative" disquali- 
fications applying to a number of officials (such 
as prefects and school inspectors) who may 
not be chosen from the department where 
their public duties are carried on and where 
they might exert official pressure. Finally the 
mandate is declared Incompatible with the hold- 
ing of certain offices (such as councilor of state, 
prefect, judge); in other words, the senator must, 
after his election, resign the office or vacate his 
seat. A candidate may offer himself simultane- 
ously In several departments, but. If successful in 
more than one, he must make his choice between 
them. As a matter of fact multiple candidacies 
are Infrequent. Local influences, the claims of 



the party organization in each of the districts 
(arrondissements) have to be considered; and it 
is often quite impossible to make headway against 
the political custom of rotation by which each 
district in turn asserts its right to fill the vacancy. 
"How many senatorial elections could be cited/* 
Joseph Barthelemy observes/ "in which the ' 
quarrels were not conflicts of ideas or even per- 
sonal rivalries, but above all geographical dis- 
putes." The elections are not altogether free 
from corruption. While there have been no such 
scandals as occasionally marked the choice of 
United States senators before the adoption of the 
Seventeenth Amendment, complaints of official 
pressure are frequently heard. As the delegates 
are few in number and know^n long beforehand, 
the centralized administration has many means 
of action through the prefect. The mayor, who 
IS almost always a delegate from his commune, 
needs the prefect's support and therefore listens 
to his advice; ^ a school teacher, who has been 
removed for misconduct, is offered reinstatement 
if he will resign his place as delegate.^ But the 
chief plague is promises, promises of places and 
favors and decorations, for the elector himself 
or for his friends. The vulgar forms of bribery 
are rarely employed, though cases have occurred 
where a candidate has paid hotel bills, furnished 
theater tickets, etc. 

* Op. cit., page 393. 

* Barthelemy, op. cU., page 391. * Id., page 390. 




The personnel of the Senate is unquestionably Eminent 
superior to that of the Chamber of Deputies.^ 
Usually those who reach the Senate have demon- 
strated their capacity in some other political 
field, most of them having served as mayors or 
general councilors at least; ^ and of late the 
Chamber of Deputies has been the most prolific 
field. The deputies look upon the Senate, with 
its nine-year mandate and the less exacting, less 
costly campaign for election, as a comfortable 
retreat. It is very often the leading politicians 
who emigrate — in recent years Bourgeois, Me- 
Hne, Charles Dupuy, Clemenceau, Sarrien, Ribot, 
all of them former premiers. "The result is that 
the Chamber of Deputies has not ceased to suffer 
from a species of inverse selection," says Yves 
Guyot. "No body could retain its vigor under 
such a system. The most experienced men have 
left; the composition of the Chamber of Deputies 
has steadily grown weaker and weaker, while it 
needed strength more than ever before to fight 
against the demagogic spurts which have so often 
sent to the Chamber of Deputies men without 
learning, without convictions, without any pro- 
gram other than that of pandering, when elected, 
to the prejudices which led to their election." ^ 

^ Id.y page 393 et seq.; Yves Guyot, "The Relations be- 
tween the French Senate and the Chamber of Deputies" Con- 
temporary RevietOy Vol. XCVII (Feb., 1910), page 148. 

2 Barthelemy, page 394. 

' Op. cit., page 148. 

C 133 ] 


The cream of the Chamber is skimmed; the head- 
ers leave while in the plenitude of their powers. 
In their new situation, instead of guiding and 
directing the government, they are Hmited to the 
humbler role of revision; for the Senate, in spite of 
its superior personnel, is decidedly less influential 
than the Chamber. It has inherited from preced- 
ing upper houses the privilege of being ignored.^ 
Subordi- The National Assembly did not contemplate 
Mtiono ^j^y such subordination. Except in regard to 
Senate revenue and supply it gave the two houses ex- 
actly the same legislative powers, and, although 
"money bills shall first be introduced in and 
passed by the Chamber of Deputies," ^ this clause 
would not seem to be a more effective check than 
the similar clause which theoretically deprives the 
United States Senate of the power to initiate 
revenue measures. As to control over the cabi- 
net, the constitution provides that the ministers 
shall be responsible to the chambers. Even if 
the meaning of this language is open to doubt, 
the Senate has the same means of enforcing re- 
sponsibility as the Chamber has. It can inter- 
pellate the ministers; it can hold formal inquiries 
into their conduct of executive business; it can 
refuse supplies, as it did in 1896. Moreover, it 
has an important advantage in the fact that only 
with its consent can the ministers dissolve the 
Chamber of Deputies and appeal to the electorate 

* J. Barthelemy, op. cit., page 371. 

* Constitutional law of February 24, Art. 8. 



against opposition in either house. A cabinet 
that is unable to carry measures through the 
Senate must acquiesce or resign, no matter what 
its majority may be in the Chamber of Deputies; 
and if it resigns, the new cabinet will acquiesce, 
as happened when Meline succeeded Bourgeois in 
1896 and when Barthou succeeded Briand in 1913. 
Evidently the weakness of the Senate does not 
depend upon the express provisions of the consti- 
tution, nor will the precedents of earlier regimes 
suffice to explain it. It is due first of all to the 
fact that the Chamber of Deputies, as the direct 
offspring of universal suffrage, is invested with a 
peculiar prestige, an inherited sanctity which not 
all its shortcomings can wash away; and in the 
second place to the fact that cabinet government 
requires the ascendancy of one chamber because 
ministers cannot obey at the same time two dif- 
ferent masters with conflicting wills. Thus demo- 
cratic principles and practical necessity conspire 
to restrict the ambitions of the Senate. 

Not that the Senate has been reduced to im- Tactics 
potence. It has often found means of thwarting pj^'gd m 
the Chamber without engaging in open conflict; opposing 
by discreet and cautious tactics it has accom- 
plished results which, though mainly negative, 
have disconcerted and ruined cabinets. The 
most effective weapon is delay. The Chamber, 
spurred to action by popular agitation or political 
exigencies, hurries some bill to the Senate; and 
there, when a committee has at last been ap- 


pointed to examine the measure, interminable 
delay follows, in the expectation that the Cham- 
ber, occupied with new concerns, will lose its 
enthusiasm and abandon its uncompromising atti- 
tude. Perhaps in the end leading politicians of 
the two houses will confer informally and make 
some agreement in which the Senate obtains its 
pound of flesh. Instances of dilatory tactics are 
innumerable. An income-tax bill, adopted by 
the Chamber in March, 1909, had not been re- 
ported from the Senate committee four years 
later; ^ the weekly-rest bill passed the Chamber 
in March, 1902, and the Senate in July, 1906; a 
pension bill, brought before the Senate in 1906, 
was shelved for four years.^ These cases are 
mentioned to illustrate the social and economic 
outlook of the Senate. The majority is Radical- 
Socialist; it accepted without demur the anti- 
clerical policy of Combes; but at the same time 
it is capitalistic in sympathy, opposing advanced 
forms of taxation and all measures that look 
towards state socialism.^ The Unified Socialists, 
in their platform of 1913, condemned the Senate 
as reactionary and hostile to the interests of the 
working class.^ The policy of delay has never 

^ J. Barthelemy, op. cit.y page 402. 

* See Second Chambers in Practicey papers printed in Eng- 
land by the Rainbow Circle in 191 1, pages 7-1 1. 

' Barthelemy, pages 398-405. 

* In spite of their hostility to the Senate the Unified 
Socialists put forward candidates in the senatorial elections 
of 1920; one of these was successful. 



been more determined or less pardonable than 
in the matter of electoral reform.^ For nine years 
the Chamber sought to establish secret voting; 
and the Senate, by most discreditable maneuvers, 
by amendments which showed no consistency of 
principle, but only a desire to wreck the bill by 
indirect methods, prevented its enactment until 

The best friends of the bicameral system admit ni efifect 

that such action on the part of the Senate has 3sia- 
entailed unfortunate results. Whea the Senate tion 
modifies and mutilates bills and the Chamber, 
out of sheer lassitude, accepts the changes, de- 
fects and incoherencies are bound to appear in 
legislation.^ Again, responsibility is dissipated. 
Deputies vote for some illusory or dangerous pro- 
ject, says Yves Guyot, "telling themselves and 
telling those who call their attention to the dan- 
gers of their action, *It doesn't mean anything; 
don*t attach any importance to it. The Senate 
will arrange all that.'" ^ The deputies, especially 
when the general election approaches, are anxious 
to produce an effect upon the voters. The tempta- 
tion to satisfy extravagant and improper demands 
is particularly strong when, rightly or wrongly, 
the Senate is expected to interpose with its veto. 

The most serious issue that has arisen be- Conflicts 
tween the chambers relates to revenue and supply. °^®^_ 

rT->i ... r^ r J money 

The language of the constitution is not explicit, bills 

* Barthelemy, pages 398-401. 

* Id., page 406. ' Op. cit., page 149. 



"Money bills," it says/ "shall be first introduced 
in and passed by the Chamber of Deputies." 
Does this mean that the Senate, having received 
a money bill, may proceed as with any other bill 
to amend it with absolute freedom? May it sub- 
stitute a new measure and by persistence force 
the Chamber to give way? In law the question 
has never been settled, but out of the conflicts, 
which occurred frequently in the early days of 
the Republic, a practical adjustment has been 
reached.* The first conflict arose in 1876 when 
the Senate restored to the budget certain credits 
which the Chamber had refused. Gambetta, as- 
serting that this was an exercise of initiative 
which the Senate did not possess in matters of 
finance, urged the rejection of the amendments. 
Only through fear that serious discord between 
the chambers might imperil the life of the young 
Republic did the deputies finally agree to eflFect 
a compromise. In subsequent years (1878, 1879, 
1880, 1882) they resolutely and successfully de- 
nied the pretensions of the Senate, developing in 
this way the constitutional custom that has be- 
come known as "the doctrine of the last word" 
which requires the Senate to give way -when the 
Chamber has acted upon the budget a second 
time. Gambetta, who wished to have this doc- 
trine written into the constitution, described it in 

' Law of February 24, Art. 8. 

* See on this subject especially Eugene Pierre, Traiti de 
droit politiquff electoral, et parlementaire, Sees. 529-532. 



these words: "When the remonstrances and ob- 
servations of the Senate have once been presented 
to the Chamber, the right of the Senate is ex- 
hausted. The Chamber of Deputies enacts 
finally, says yes or no, accepts or rejects; and its 
vote is not open to appeal or reversal." * But 
while the Senate accepted the doctrine as a basis 
of action, it continued to claim in principle entire 
equality with the Chamber ^ and would consent 
to no abridgment of its pretended powers by con- 
stitutional amendment. This distinction between 
legal right and political expediency was clearly 
made by Senator Dauphin in 1885. "If the 
Chamber rejects our amendment, it is good policy, 
save in exceptional cases, that the Senate should 
not a second time reestablish the credits. This 
is not a matter of law; the law is safe. I am 
not speaking of principles. I simply say that it 
is good policy." ^ The Chamber, on its side, 
does not dispute the right of the Senate, when 
passing the budget for the first time, to increase 
credits or to reinsert items rejected by the Cham- 
ber, provided only that this be done at the re- 
quest of a minister. Whether the Senate could, 
with propriety, act upon its own initiative, seems 
uncertain. Antonin Dubost, reporter of the Senate 
finance committee, said in 1905: **Your commit- 

* Pierre, op. cit.y Sec. 530. 

' See in Pierre, op. cit. (Sec. 530), the argument presented 
by Senator Wallon, "the father of the- constitution." 
' Pierre, op. cit.. Sec. 532. 



tee has already indicated that the right of raising 
credits, at any rate within the limits requested by the 
government, appears never to have been contested." 
Professor Duguit thus summarizes the financial 
power of the Senate.^ "In our opinion senators 
cannot propose to the Senate the increase of an 
appropriation which the Chamber has voted in 
the budget or in a separate bill, or a fortiori the 
reinsertion in the budget of an appropriation 
which the Chamber has refused. A new expen- 
diture can never be authorized on the initiative 
of a senator. That is the essential rule. That 
rule would be violated if the Senate could, on 
the initiative of one of its members, increase or 
reestablish an appropriation voted or refused by 
the Chamber. The Senate can, however, in- 
crease appropriations made by the Chamber or 
reestablish appropriations refused by it when the 
proposal of increase or reestablishment has been 
brought forward by the government and when the 
amount proposed to the Senate does not exceed 
the amount originally proposed to the Cham- 
ber. In this way the rule of priority and initia- 
tive is fully respected: the financial law has just 
been proposed to the Chamber and the initiative 
in increasing or reestablishing appropriations has 
been taken not by a senator, but by the govern- 
ment. It is incontestable that the initiative of 
the Senate can be freely exercised in financial 
matters where it tends to reduce appropriations." 

^ Manuel de droit constitutionnel (3d ed., 1918), page 429. 


I— ( 




I— ( 












It follows from what has been said that dis- 
agreements between the chambers over money 
bills are settled by the Chamber of Deputies. 
It has **the last word." In the case of other bills 
two courses are open. Either a conference com- 
mittee may be appointed or the particular bill 
may be carried back and forth by the minister in 
charge of it until some common understanding 
has been reached.^ The first method although 
it is the only one sanctioned by the rules of the 
chambers, has been employed only three times. 
Eugene Pierre, the great authority on parliamen- 
tary procedure, believes that it should be re- 
sorted to more frequently.^ 

The Senate, like so many other second cham- The 
bers, has judicial as well as legislative functions. ^^^Oi 
It "may be constituted as a high court of justice Court 
to try either the President of the Republic or the 
ministers and to take cognizance of attempts upon 
the safety of the state." ^ The rather vague 
phrases of the constitution have left a great deal 
to the imagination and controversial subtlety of 
the jurists,^ but at least the main features of the 
Senate's jurisdiction are tolerably clear. In the 

^ Pierre, op. cit.y supplement of 1914, Sees. 676-677; Rides 
of the Chamber of Deputies (1915), Nos. 107-109. 
' Id., supplement, Sec. 677. 

• Constitutional law of February 24, Art. 9; see constitu- 
tional law of July 16 for further provisions. 

* Some of the uncertain points are discussed by Esmein, 
op. cit.y pages 1054-1066, and Duguit, op. cit.y Vol. II, pages 




first place, the President and ministers are liable 
to impeachment, the Chamber preferring the 
charges, the Senate trying them. Different rules 
apply in the case of the President and of the 
ministers. Although the constitution declares 
that the President is responsible only when he 
commits high treason,* authorities agree that he 
may be brought to trial for any infraction of 
the criminal law;^ but whether the charge involves 
treason or some less serious offense, the Senate 
has exclusive jurisdiction. On the other hand, 
according to the weight of opinion on a disputed 
point, ministers may be Impeached only for 
felonies (crimes) committed In the performance 
of their duties; ^ and if the Chamber neglects 
to prefer charges, the ordinary procedure of 
criminal justice may be set in motion. In the 
second place, the Senate may try persons charged 
with making attempts upon the safety of the 
state. Such persons are not Impeached; the 
initiative rests, not with the Chamber of Deputies, 
but with the cabinet, which issues a decree con- 
stituting the Senate as a court.* If proceedings 

* Constitutional law of February 25, Art. 6. 

* Duguit, op. cit., Vol. II, page 399; Esmein, op. city pages 
784 and 787. 

* Constitutional law of July 16, Art. 12. This clause is 
often mistranslated, the technical word crimg being rendered 
as "offense" or "crime" instead of "felony." The procedure 
to be followed in impeachment trials is regulated by the law of 
January 5, 1918. 

* Constitutional law of July 16, Art. 12. 



have begun In the regular courts, however, and 
if, before the issuing of the decree, the "accusa- 
tion chamber" has already laid the charges be- 
fore the Court of Assizes,^ the Senate loses 
jurisdiction.^ The lawyers disagree as to what 
the constitution means by "attempts upon the 
safety of the state," but in 1889 and 1899 the 
Senate took the view that mere conspiracies 
unaccompanied by overt acts came within the 
scope of the phrase.^ 

* See infray Chapter XII. 

' Constitutional law of July 16, Art. 12. 

' Duguit, op. cit.t Vol. II, page 403, dissents from this view; 
see also Esmein, op. cii., page 1061 et seq. For the questions 
raised by the trial and conviction of Louis J. Malvy, see 
supray page 80, note 3. Joseph Caillaux was convicted in 
April, 1920, of " commerce and correspondence with the 
enemy," being sentenced to 36 months' imprisonment with 
loss of political rights for ten years. 





The ^ I ^HE Chamber of Deputies is elected by uni- 

suffrage X versal suffrage.^ Contrary to the practice 
which prevails in England Germany, and other 
countries, the voting qualifications are the same 
for all elections — national, departmental, dis- 
trict, and municipal. These qualifications are 
by no means complex: ^ (i) French nationality, 
(2) male sex,^ (3) the age of twenty-one years, 
(4) enjoyment of civil and political rights (these 
being lost permanently or temporarily upon con- 
viction for certain specified crimes),'* and (5) regis- 

* Constitutional law of February 25, Art. i. 

' Regarding the suffrage and electoral procedure see Dalloz, 
Manuel Electoral (1910), an admirable handbook for popular 
use. The appendix contains all the decrees and laws relating 
to elections down to the time of publication. For the im- 
portant laws of 1913 and 1914 see H. Gasser, Manuel des 
elections -politique (1914). For the law of July 12, 1919, 
which establishes the general ticket with minority representa- 
tion, see Appendix III at the end of this volume. Another 
useful book is Ch. Rabany, Guide general des elections (2d 
ed., 19 1 2) which considers especially municipal elections. 

' On May 20, 1919, the Chamber of Deputies voted to 
abolish the sex qualification, but the Senate did not concur. 

* Dalloz, op. cit.f Sees. 152-203. 


tion of 


tration. Not all persons who possess the first 
four qualifications, however, have the right to 
appear on the voters' list. The applicant must 
have resided in the commune for six months 
before the 31st of March; or he must show that, 
notwithstanding residence elsewhere, the com- 
mune is his place of "true domicil"; ^ or he 
must have paid direct taxes there for a period of 
five years, this being taken as evidence of local 

The register is a permanent list subject to an Registra- 
annual revision which proceeds simultaneously 
in all the communes of France.^ The first steps 
are taken by an "administrative committee of 
revision" composed of the mayor, a nominee of 
the prefect, and a nominee of the communal 
council. This board, meeting behind closed doors 
and without the presence of party agents, corrects 
the list of the previous year in the light of such 
information as it may possess, removing the names 
of those who have migrated or died or lost polit- 
ical rights and adding the names of those who 
have become qualified by age or residence. Two 
copies of the revised list are prepared, one being 
sent to the prefect and the other deposited in 
the town hall where the public can examine it 

* As in the case of a student who has attended college in 
another town. 

2 Dalloz, Sees. 204-229; and note that the law of July 29, 
1913, has modified the old rule regarding direct taxes. 

' Dalloz, op. cit.f Sees. 250-462. 

[ 145] 


tions to 

(1) un- 

for a period of three weeks (January 15 to Febru- 
ary 4). To act upon the claims and objections 
of electors the board is then increased by two 
members, nominees of the municipal council, and 
becomes known as the "municipal committee of 
revision." It does not admit interested parties 
to its meetings, but sends them written notice of 
its decisions. Without any cost whatever these 
decisions may be appealed first to the justice of 
the peace, who must render judgment within ten 
days, and finally to the Court of Cassation which 
is allowed a period of two weeks. The lists close 
on March 31. This system of registration has 
obvious advantages. It places no burden upon 
the voter, as personal registration does. It in- 
volves no financial outlay, because the work is 
performed gratuitously by public officials and 
because the list of voters, instead of being printed 
in the American fashion, is usually written out in 
longhand. Of course there is some possibility 
that, in view of the method of appointment, par- 
tisan interests may dominate the registration 

Before the enactment of the new electoral law 
of 1 91 9, the deputies were chosen by district 
ticket (scruiin d^arrondissement), that is, from 
single-member constituencies. Although this 
method of election was once almost universal 
and is still employed in the United States, Great 
Britain, and several other important countries, it 
seems destined everywhere to be supplanted by 



some form of proportional representation with 
large constituencies.^ It entails, indeed, obvious 
disadvantages. Since the voters in any given 
district are grouped into several antagonistic 
parties, only a fraction of them can be represented 
by the single deputy who is elected; from the 
standpoint of parHamentary representation the 
others cease to have any voice in the govern- 
ment.2 And since, among a number of party 
candidates, the successful one needs to have, not 
an absolute majority of the votes, but simply 
more than any other candidate, a small minority 
may secure control of the district.^ Where there 
are four or five candidates the winning group 
may not include much more than a quarter of 
the electorate. Statistics seem to show that on 
the average less than forty-five per cent of the 
voters have been represented in the Chamber of 

* Before the war proportional representation had been 
adopted for national elections in Belgium, Denmark, Serbia, 
South Africa (Union Senate), and Sweden; and for certain 
local elections in other countries. Since the war it has been 
adopted in Austria (constituent assembly), France (partially), 
Germany (constituent assembly and legislature under the new 
constitution), Italy, New South Wales, Poland (constituent 
assembly), and Switzerland (national council). 

2 This argument overlooks the fact that party candidates, 
elected in other constituencies, represent the members of the 
party everywhere. 

' The French election law required the holding of a second 
election in case no candidate obtained a clear majority; but 
in the second election a plurality suJSficed. 



Deputies since 1876.^ Again, idealists have been 
much disturbed by the fact that the districts, 
which ought to be as equal each to each as the 
two triangles in Euclid's eighth proposition, have 
shown material variations. Thus (before the 
abolition of the scrutiri (T arrondissement in 191 9) 
the district of Barcelonnette in the Basses-Alpes 
had 13,648 inhabitants; the first district of the 
Seine had 112,098.^ There were rotten boroughs 
in France. 
(1) play Unequal representation has not been the only 
uiflu! ground of complaint. It is said that little dis- 
ences tricts make little deputies, men whose horizon 
rests upon the frontiers of their districts and whose 
conception of their office goes no further than 
service to the intriguing politicians who managed 
their election. They are sent to Paris to pro- 
cure favors and subsidies; their return to Paris 
four years later (when the next election occurs) 
depends upon success in achieving this diplo- 
matic mission. "The role of the French deputy," 
says Professor Garner,^ "is today largely that of 
a sort oi charge d^ affaires sent to Paris to see that 
his constituency obtains its share of the favors 
which the government has for distribution. In- 
stead therefore of occupying himself with ques- 

* J. W. Gamer, Electoral Reform in FrancCy American 
Political Science Review^ Vol. VII (1913), pages 623-624. 

* Id., pages 622-623, where literature on the subject is cited. 
' 0/). CI/., page 617; and note the citation of French writers, 

pages 617-619. 



tions of legislation of interest to the country as a 
whole he is engaged in playing the role of mendi- 
cant for his petty district. He spends his time 
in the ante-room of the ministers soliciting favors 
for his political supporters and grants for his 
arrondissement. The ministers, being dependent 
on the support of the deputies, naturally desire 
to keep on good terms with them, the importance 
of which is all the greater because ministerial 
tenure in France is very brief and uncertain. 
Under such conditions the deputy has become 
the political master of his circumscription; he 
dictates appointments and promotions, the con- 
ferring of decorations and the distribution of local 
favors generally. He speaks of *my arrondisse- 
ment* as though it were his fief, and of *my pre- 
fect* as though that official were his vassal.'* 
Naturally the deputy view^s with apprehension all 
projects of administrative reform which contem- 
plate the abolition of sinecures; he justifies the 
existence of subprefects whose duties are negli- 
gible, of judges who decide twenty or thirty cases 
a year, and of collectors who have nothing to 
collect. Sabatier calls the French system of 
government "deputantism," a mere perversion 
of the parliamentary system which has been de- 
veloped in England. The play of local influences 
has perverted American assemblies in the same 
w^ay; and at first glance it seems reasonable to 
hold the single-member district responsible. That 
such reasoning is superficial may be demonstrated 




from the fact that in England, under the district 
ticket, the members of Parliament are almost 
completely free from local control; they are occu- 
pied with national issues and give whole-hearted 
support, or at least the appearance of it, to the 
policies of the party leader. Obviously, the sub- 
jection of the French deputy, or the American 
representative to his constituents cannot be due 
to the method of election alone. 
(») «©▼- There is a third objection to the single-member 
district. Government pressure is easily applied. 
The whole weight of the centralized administra- 
tion can be thrown into the campaign and, by 
the skillful use of patronage and promises, made 
to play an almost decisive part. In some degree 
this will explain why cabinets, though hurried to 
execution by the Chamber of Deputies every 
eight or ten months, have never been driven from 
office by the voters.^ Perhaps it will also explain 
why the Radical-Socialist party, in the face of 
its apparent loss of public confidence, actually 
made gains in the elections of 1914; the Doumer- 
gue cabinet, besides controlling the election ma- 
chinery, made good use of all its resources. ** We 
do not know what a ministry can accomplish 
through its prefect in Paris," the Journal des 

^ The election of 1877 cannot be regarded as an exception. 
The de Broglie cabinet had been installed by MacMahon 
against the wishes of an overwhelming majority in the Cham- 
ber. See Chapter IX. Even so de Broglie managed slightly 
to reduce the Republican majority. 


Dehats observed; ^ "in large cities it is still pos- 
sible to escape from the omnipotence of the 
administration. But in small towns and country 
districts the government can play the tyrant; it 
possesses those means of action that combined 
to produce the * abject domination' of the Combes 
system and branded it as with a hot iron. A 
resolute cabinet can easily bring into line the 
inconstant, the timid, the hesitating, and some 
of them are to be found everywhere." The same 
newspaper describes the methods which are em- 
ployed.^ "Each week, and as a rule on Monday 
morning, M. Rene Renoult Cminister of the in- 
terior] receives several prefects and discusses the 
political situation with them. The prefect gives 
his opinion on the chances of reelection of such 
and such a deputy or on the dangers which face 
another. . . . When the minister and the pre- 
fects agree on the choice of official candidates, 
they decide also on the means of victory. 
Deputies offering themselves for reelection or can- 
didates backed by the government receive tobacco 
licenses and other favors which may be useful in 
winning votes. They even receive, it is said, 
pecuniary help; this at least was publicly ad- 
mitted by a government candidate in the course 
of his campaign. . . . The official candidature 
has been perfected in these later years. The pre- 
fect and subprefect no longer hesitate to accom- 
pany the candidate in his campaign. They laud 

^ January 14, 1914. ' February 20, 19 14. 



ment in- 

his merits; they predict his success; they inform 
the voters that he can render them signal services. 
This is a common practice and not in any way 

No doubt administrative influence has freer 
play in a small district electing one member than 
in a large district electing several members. But 
the difference is not considerable enough to be 
taken seriously as a ground for condemning the 
scrutin d' arrondisseme^it. The remedy should be 
found, not in a change of the electoral system, 
but in the development of a healthy public 
opinion and in restrictive legislation applied 
directly to the abuse of official authority. Much 
has already been accomplished. Competitive 
examinations for appointment to the civil service 
and elaborate rules in the matter of promotions 
have withdrawn patronage from the government. 
Officials have acquired a large measure of inde- 
pendence, which they guard jealously from 
invasion. The prefects themselves, though sub- 
ject to removal at the will of the ministers, may 
be of little value to a cabinet which has lately 
come to power through the shifting of party con- 
trol in the Chamber; for the cabinet cannot 
always trust the prefects appointed by its adver- 
saries to manage the elections in its interest, nor 
can it hope for better results by appointing new 
prefects unless these are familiar with the locality 
and possessed of the requisite local influence. 
Moreover, administrative pressure has begun to 



rouse the resentment of the voters. "The more 
openly it is employed," observes Georges La- 
chapelle/ "the more indignation it provokes and 
the more dangerous it becomes for the deputy 
who makes improper use of it." It is dangerous 
for the government officials as well. The cor- 
rupt practices act of March 31, 1914,^ provides 
that when a public official is convicted of bribery 
or undue influence the penalties prescribed in the 
act shall be doubled. 

Justly or unjustly, however, the single-member s^bstl- 
district has fallen into disrepute. It would have 2*®^'°*^ 
disappeared years ago had its opponents been district 
united in support of an alternative. Formerly /^J^^g 
Republicans put their faith in the general ticket general 
{scrutin de liste)y that is, election at large of ^^^^^ 
several members in districts of considerable size, 
each elector voting for as many candidates as 
there are seats to fill. This system was in force 
under the short-lived Second Republic and under 
the Third Republic during its earlier years, the 
district ticket being substituted by Napoleon III 
in 1852 because it gave freer play to the manage- 
ment of elections, and by the National Assembly 
in 1875 ^ because the monarchist majority favored 
it.* After the existing constitution had gone into 

^ Journal des Debais, February 20, 1914. 

* Pierre, op. cit., supplement. Sec. 292. 

* Law of Nov. 30, 1875. 

* See Magne, £itude sur le scrutin de lisU et le scrtuin uni- 
nominal (1895). 



effect Gambetta led the Republicans in demand- 
ing a return to the general ticket. The single- 
member district he described as "the last fortress 
of the monarchists" and the Chamber of Deputies 
elected under such a plan as a "broken mirror*' 
in which France could not recognize her own 
reflection. But cogent arguments could be 
offered on the other side: the fact that cam- 
paign expenses would be increased by the neces- 
sity of appealing to so large a group of electors; 
that the strongest party would win all the seats 
in any given constituency; ^ and that a candi- 
date offering himself simultaneously in several 
districts would be able, by this means, to invoke 
the plebiscite and put himself forward as a 
Napoleonic dictator. Indeed the eloquence of 
Gambetta and his vigorous personality led many 
Republicans to fear that he aspired to a dictator- 
ship. It was only in 1885, some two years after 
his death, that the general ticket was restored; 
and then the apprehension which Gambetta had 
inspired became stern reality during the notorious 
campaigns of General Boulanger. The Republi- 
cans, hurriedly recanting, restored the scrutin 
d'arrondissement (1889). But with the collapse 
of Boulangism many returned to their old faith 
and, through the medium of the Radical-Socialist 

* Each party puts forward a list of candidates for all seats 
to be filled; the members of the party normally accept the 
list as it stands; and so if one of the candidates is elected, all 
will be. 



party, have repeatedly endorsed the scrutin de 
liste during the last twenty years.^ The Senate, 
under the inspiration of the same party, has (2) pto- 
twice adopted a bill establishing this system, ^^l_ 
first in 1913 and again in 1914.^ But the Cham- sentation 
ber of Deputies has committed itself to a different 
solution. Proportional representation has been 
brought forward as a remedy for the abuses 
that have revealed themselves under both the 
scrutin (T arrondissement and the scrutin de liste 
and, as the name implies, seeks to have each 
political group represented in the legislature ac- 
cording to its numerical strength. Nothing more 
definite may be said here because the objects of 
proportional representation may be attained by 
several different methods.^ Nor in examining 

* A. Charpentler, Le Parti Radical et Radical-Socialiste 
(1913), Chap. III. 

2 For the text see Petitjean, "La Representation propor^ 
tionnelle devant les chambres franjaises" (1915), pages 269- 

' It may be observed that English-speaking countries have 
shown a decided preference for the "single transferable vote" 
under which the candidates of all parties are mingled on the 
ballot (usually in alphabetic order) and the voter expresses 
first, second, third, and perhaps further choices. Continental 
countries, on the other hand, always use the party list or 
ticket. Under the list system a voter may be permitted to 
vote for as many candidates as there are seats to fill and to 
select those candidates from different lists if he so desires. 
(Cf. the French law of 1919.) Usually, however, he can do 
no more than choose between the competing lists (as in Bel- 
gium or Italy); when he votes for a list, he even has to accept 




the bills that have been reported to the Cham- 
ber of Deputies since 1905 can one discern a 
tendency to recognize the superior merits of any 
one method.^ The law of 1919 takes the form 
of a compromise between the scrutin de lisle and 
proportional representation. Strictly speaking, 
indeed, the measure that became law on July 12, 
1919,^ does not establish proportional represen- 
tation at all. As will be shown in a moment, it 
takes the form of an uneven compromise between 
proportional representation and the scrutin de lisie^ 
giving to the former a very subordinate place. 

Proportional representation was first brought to 

the attention of the Chamber of Deputies in 1873. 

Bentation Occasionally during the next thirty years bills 

^^^^ were introduced onl}^ to be ridiculed or ignored. 

Chamber But when, in 1905, the committee on universal 

suffrage made a report in favor of the system, its 

friends took heart and began an active propa- 

the order in which the names appear (and in which the seats 
will be awarded) unless, as in Belgium, he is permitted at the 
same time to express a preference for some particular candi- 
date on the list. Actually all methods of proportional repre- 
sentation provide for the election of several representatives in 
each district; the larger the number to be elected, the fairer 
will be the distribution of seats. In France each district is 
entitled to a minimum of three seats; in Italy, ten. 

* The most useful treatment of proportional representation 
for the general reader is J. Humphrey's Proportional Repre- 
sentation (191 1). For the history of the movement in France 
and a list of the best French books see Petitjean, op. cit. 

* "A law ... to establish the general ticket with propor- 
tional representation." For the text see Appendix III, 



ganda through the country. After the election 
of 1906, when the propaganda had begun to have 
an effect upon pubHc opinion, the committee 
devoted elaborate care to the perfecting of a 
measure and rendered its final report in March, 
1909. A few months later, Georges Clemenceau, 
who stood firmly by the Radical-Socialist prin- 
ciple of the general ticket, gave way to Aristide 
Briand as prime minister; and the latter, although 
expressing the belief that proportional represen- 
tation should first be applied to municipal elec- 
tions in order to determine its effects, allowed the 
bill to be debated. By a vote of 281 to 235 the 
Chamber endorsed the principle of proportional 
representation; but when it became obvious that 
no satisfactory agreement could be reached as to 
the details, Briand demanded that the Chamber 
reconsider its action, and this it did by a vote of 
291 to 225.^ Briand unquestionably took the 
statesmanlike course, because at that time there 
was nothing to indicate that the chambers or the 
country had arrived at anything like a final con- 
clusion. He wisely awaited the verdict of the 
elections of 19 10. 

The new Chamber, chosen largely on this issue, Accepted 
unmisrtakably favored the reform. No less than climber 
318 of the 597 members associated themselves in 
a "proportional representation group." ^ Briand, 
always practical in his leadership, felt that the 

* Petitjean, op. cit.y page 125; Pierre, op. cit.. Sec. 216. 
' Petitjean, page 135. 

C ^57l 


time was ripe for action; but not till July, 191 2, 
after several changes of ministry and more or 
less fundamental modifications In the original 
measure which he had Introduced, did the Cham- 
ber finally adopt It. The bill as passed gave 
particular recognition to the lists of candidates 
put fonvard by different political groups. It pro- 
vided that each department should form a sepa- 
rate election district with a number of seats 
apportioned on the basis of population; that each 
voter should have as many votes (not cumula- 
tive) as there were seats to fill; that the "list 
vote'* should be determined by dividing the 
aggregate votes of all the candidates on a list by 
the number of such candidates; that seats should 
first be assigned by dividing the list votes by the 
electoral quota, this quota being obtained by 
dividing the total number of voters by the num- 
ber of seats; that the seats not thus assigned 
should be given to lists which, before the elec- 
tion, had declared intention to pool their interests 
and whose combined votes contained the electoral 
quota; and that any seats still remaining should 
be assigned to the list or combination of lists 
which had obtained the largest number of votes.^ 
The cabinet of the day, led by Raymond Poin- 
care, urgently pressed the bill to passage and 

* The meaning of these rather obscure and complex provi- 
sions may be understood by reading the text of the bill In 
Petit jean, op. cit.y page 261 rt seq., and by examining the 
concrete illustrations given in the first pages of his book. 



secured a vote of 339 to 220; but the victory- 
was won without the support of the normal gov- 
ernment majority which included all the im- 
portant groups of the Left except the Unified 
Socialists (Socialist RepubHcans, Radical-Social- 
ists, Radical Left, and Democratic Left). Only 
130 of the 371 deputies belonging to these groups 
accepted the bill.^ Truly a singular phenomenon 
under the parliamentary system to have a first- 
class government measure carried mainly by 
opposition votes! The explanation is easily 
found. Many believed that proportional repre- 
sentation, as Waldeck-Rousseau emphatically as- 
serted in 1902, would increase the weight of minor 
parties and accentuate the existing incoherencies 
of the Chamber.^ It would give added strength 
to the so-called reactionary parties (including the 
Republican Federation); therefore these parties 
gave it unanimous support. By disintegrating 
the Republican majority, as it seemed not un- 
likely to do, it would restore to the Unified 
Socialists the dominant position which they had 
held in the time of the Combes ministry; and 
apparently the Socialists, always ready to wreck 

^ Petitjean, op. cit.y page 190, gives the detailed vote on 
final passage. 

* Leon Bourgeois expressed the same opinion in 1909. ** In 
reality the results of the so-called proportional representation 
would be to Increase artificially the strength of the opposition 
parties. ... It is a formidable instrument of division and 
destruction." Petitjean, op. cit., page 128. 



bourgeois governments, saw here a great oppor- 
tunity. The attitude of parties had been deter- 
mined, not by the abstract arguments which 
they put forward, but by the probable effects of 
proportional representation upon their particular 
Rejected When the bill went before the Senate, it met 
Sexuto ^^^^ ^ ^^^y ^^^^ reception. The Radical-Social- 
ist majority had no intention of digging its own 
grave. Although Briand, who had once more 
become prime minister, made the passage of the 
bill a matter of confidence in the cabinet, the 
Senate substituted a bill of its own, providing 
for the general ticket; ^ and when, in November 
of the same year (1913), the Chamber reiterated 
its desire for proportional representation in a 
somewhat altered form, the Senate again sub- 
stituted its bill. So the matter stood at the out- 
break of the war. 
Eiectond In 1919, with the Radical-Socialist Clemenceau 
as prime minister, the chambers composed their 
differences and agreed upon a system of election 
that has far more of the scrutin de liste about 
it than of proportional representation.^ The de- 
partment takes the place of the arrondissement 
as the electoral unit, forming a single constituency 
with at least three deputies to elect.^ Candidates 

* For the text see Petit jean, op. cit., page 269 rt seq. 

* Law of July 12, 1919; see Appendix III. 

* The most populous departments may be divided by law 
into districts returning at least three deputies each. 


Uw of 


may offer themselves either singly or in groups; 
that is, if there are five seats to fill, the parties 
may each put forward a list bearing from one to 
five names, and independents may run alone or 
in combination; in any case the candidature, 
single or collective, constitutes by itself a "list." 
Each voter has as many separate, non-cumulative 
votes as there are seats to fill; and since party 
lines are drawn in the elections, he may be ex- 
pected in ordinary circumstances to give all those 
votes to the candidates who appear on the list 
or ticket of his party. He will not "split the 
ticket." Now the law says (Art. lo) that every 
candidate who receives the absolute majority-— 
that is, the vote of half plus one of the actual 
voters — shall be proclaimed elected. In prac- 
tice, with the general voting of the straight 
ticket, this will permit one party to make a clean 
sweep of the department and completely exclude 
the minority from representation. How often 
this will happen will depend upon the relative 
strength of the parties in the different constitu- 
encies. In 1914, when the last elections under 
the district ticket took place, nearly sixty per 
cent of the deputies were returned by absolute 
majority on the first ballot; in 1919, nearly thirty- 
five per cent. 

Up to this point we have the scruiin de liste or 
general ticket in its normal operation. Under 
certain contingencies, however, the law does 
provide for minority representation. The seats, 



Partial when not filled by absolute majority vote, are 
tton^' ^° ^^ distributed among the hsts roughly in ac- 
propor- cordance with the vote received. The share of 
™o- each list is determined by the number of times 
Bentation its *' average" (aggregate vote of all its candi- 
dates divided by the number of its candidates) 
contains the "electoral quota" (number of voters 
divided by the number of seats). ^ Any seats re- 
maining shall be assigned to the hst that has 
the highest average. This arrangement was no 
doubt intended to satisfy at small expense the 
clamor for proportional representation. Really 
it concedes very little. Let us suppose that in a 
department of 450,000 population, returning six 
deputies to the Chamber, the electoral quota is 
13,000 (one sixth of the 78,000 actual voters) 
and the list averages as follows: Radical-Socialist, 
30,000; Democratic-Republican, 25,000; Unified 
Socialist, 10,000; A. L. P., 8000; Republican 
Federation, 5000. When the list averages are 
divided by the electoral quota, two seats will be 
assigned to the Radical-Socialist list, one seat to 
the Democratic-Republican list. The other three 
seats will go to the Radical-Socialist list which 
has the highest average. If the averages are 
changed a little, if the Democratic-Republican 
average is increased to 26,000 and the Unified 
Socialist to 13,000 there will be a fairer distribu- 
tion: three seats to the Radical-Socialists two 

* Within each list the seats go to the candidates polling the 
highest vote or, in case of equality, to the oldest. 



to the Democratic-Republicans, one to the Uni- 
fied Socialists. It is a haphazard system, evi- 
dently intended to sanction the principle of 
minority representation without securing its 

The law provides (Art. 13) for a second elec- Second 
tion two weeks later in case not more than half 
of the registered voters have gone to the polls 
or in case no list has obtained the electoral quota. 
The same procedure is followed as in the first 
election. But on this occasion, if no list obtains 
the electoral quota, then the seats are assigned 
to the candidates polling the highest vote. This 
is nearly equivalent to saying that the list 
polling the highest vote shall get all the seats; 
for all of the candidates on a given list are likely 
to receive the whole party vote 

The practice of holding a second election, Theyen- 
which would be unnecessary under a sound sys- ^^p^. 
tem of proportional representation, seems to latioa 
foster political chicanery and manipulation. It 
certainly did so while the scrutin d' arrondtsse- 
ment or district ticket prevailed. The rule then 
was to hold a second election {ballottage) when- 
ever no candidate received in the first election 
an absolute majority of the votes cast or whenever 
that majority did not equal at least one fourth 
of the registered voters. The ballottage was open 

* The working of the system is described very clearly in 
Representation (organ of the English Proportional Representa- 
tion Society), October, 1919, pages 10-16. 



not only to all the former candidates, but also to 
any new candidates who chose to offer them- 
selves; ^ and a mere plurality sufficed for elec- 
tion. This arrangement encouraged minor 
parties, which had no hope of ultimate success, 
to put forward candidates of their own in the 
first election. They had nothing to lose by such 
tactics; for if with their support the candidate of 
a party close to them in its platform would have 
secured the required majority, without their sup- 
port no other candidate could secure it; the deci- 
sion was simply postponed. They had, on the 
other hand, much to gain. Besides maintaining 
their organization, they were able to bargain 
with the larger parties on the basis of demon- 
strated voting strength and to exact a price for 
joining forces in the second election. Intrigues 
and maneuvers filled the interval of two weeks. 
The candidate who needed a few hundred votes 
would pay a heavy price for them, modifying his 
platform or making secret promises to gain the 
adhesion of a minor party. He went to the 
Chamber of Deputies as the representative of 
conflicting interests, which embarrassed his course 
of action and made consistency impossible. These 
local coalitions, accompanied as they sometimes 
were by scandalous sacrifice of principle, have 
been the subject of much criticism. The na- 

* As the law of 1919 is silent on this point, we may assume 
that no change is intended and that new lists may be put 
forward in the second election. 



tional parties, through their congresses and com- 
mittees, now seek to bind the candidates every- 
where to a given line of action — the Unified 
Socialists, for instance, in 1914 laying down 
specifically the conditions under which alliance 
might be made with the Radical-Socialists and 
other parties. 

The size of the Chamber of Deputies is fixed Size of 
with reference both to population and territorial ciLnber 
units.^ Under the district ticket (prevailing 
before 1919) seats were apportioned to each ar- 
rondissement on the basis of population, one seat 
for every ioo,cx>d inhabitants; but as the law 
recognized fractions of this number, however 
small, an arrondissement was entitled to one seat 
whether its population was 10,000 or 100,000 
and to two seats whether its population was 
iGOjOOi or 200,000.^ Arrondissements returning 
more than one deputy were divided into single- 
member districts. 

Under the law of 1919, which substitutes the Now 626 
general ticket with minority representation for ^®p"*^®^ 
the district ticket, the department takes the 
place of the arrondissement as the territorial 
unit. Each department is entitled to one seat 
for every 75,000 inhabitants and to an additional 
seat for a major fraction of 75,000; but irrespec- 
tive of population it is entitled to a minimum of 

* Dalloz, op. cit.y Sec. 493 et seq. 

* For French criticism of this system see Gamer, op. cit., 
pages 622-624. 



three seats. ^ As a general rule the department 
forms a single constituency.^ Only those depart- 
ments returning more than six deputies to the 
Chamber may (by law) be districted. In case of 
such division each district must return at least 
three deputies. On the approach of a general 
election seats are reapportioned by statute if a 
national census has been taken since the previous 
election.^ Thus the reapportionment act of 1910 
gave the Chamber 597 members; the act of 1914, 
602 members; and that number remained un- 
changed in the election law of 1919, no census 
having been taken during the war. With the 
provisional organization of Alsace-Lorraine,* re- 
covered by the treaty of peace with Germany, 
however, 24 deputies were assigned to the new de- 
partments: 7 to the Upper Rhine, 9 to the Lower 
Rhine, and 8 to the Moselle. Next to the House 
of Commons the Chamber of Deputies, with 626 
members, is the largest legislative assembly in 
the world. 
Method The French have devised no elaborate nomi- 
nating machinery. They find it difficult to 
understand our complicated mechanism of con- 
ventions and primaries. Of course the parties 
determine by their own rules how their accredited 

^ "For the time being and until a new census is taken each 
department shall have the number of seats at present assigned 
to it.'* Law of July 12, 1919, Art. 2. 

* Id., Art. 3. ' The census is taken every five years. 

* Law of October 19, 1919. 


of nomi- 


candidates shall be selected.^ But, as far as the 
law is concerned, any qualified person may be- 
come a candidate simply by informing the pre- 
fect, at least five days before the election, that 
he intends to run in a particular district and by 
attaching to his declaration of candidacy the 
sworn signatures of lOO local voters.^ The pro- 
vision requiring signatures is a novel feature of 
the law of 1919, doubtless suggested by the Eng- 
lish practice of nomination by petition. Formerly 
there was no such requirement; the candidate 
announced himself — that was all. The new de- 
parture may portend more radical changes later 
on, perhaps even a gradual approach to a system 
of regulated primaries. Its immediate purpose 
seems to be the discouragement of individual can- 
didacies; for in the case of the regular lists bear- 
ing the names of several candidates (it must be 
remembered that each constituency now elects 
three or more deputies) the signatures of the 
candidates themselves are sufficient.^ There is 
one other limitation, and this dates back to 1889. 
A law adopted during the Boulanger panic makes 
it impossible for a man to stand in more than 
one constituency at the same time, the fear being 
that a number of simultaneous successes might 

1 See Chapter X. 

* Law of July 12, 1919, Art. 5, Sec. 5. 

' Only ten individual candidates offered themselves in the 
election of November 16, 1919; three of these (including Rene 
Vivianij were successful. 



encourage thoughts of coup cTetat. Not only is 
violation of the law punishable by a heavy fine, 
but ballots cast for any person not a legal can- 
didate must be rejected as void. Thus in 1889 
JofFrin was declared elected over Boulanger who, 
though receiving more votes than JofFrin, was 
disqualified under the law of that year. Pro- 
fessor Duguit condemns this law as violating the 
democratic principle that a citizen may offer him- 
self wherever he pleases and that a citizen may 
vote for whomever he pleases without respect to 
the question of formal candidacy.^ Under a 
self-nominating system, although candidates may 
be numerous, they are not so numerous as Ameri- 
cans are likely to suppose; nominations, being 
free, are not an object in themselves. Moreover, 
from the standpoint of the electorate the ballot 
is no harder to vote with eight or ten competing 
lists than with two or three; complication comes 
from the multiplicity of elective offices, not from 
the multiplicity of candidates for a single office; 
and in France, as generally in European coun- 
tries, only one office is filled at any given elec- 
tion. There is always a "short ballot." Even 
when the general ticket is employed and four or 
five deputies are elected instead of one, the task 
of the voter is still relatively an easy one. He 
votes four or five times; but each time the stand- 
ard by which he judges the candidates is the 
same because the office to be filled is the same. 
* Op, cit.i Vol. II, page 240. 



With regard to qualifications for the Chamber Quaua- 
of Deputies the general rule is that any voter ^^^^ 
twenty-five years of age may be elected in any Chamber 
constituency. Neither by law nor by custom is 
local residence required. As in the case of the 
Senate,^ there are a few absolute disqualifications 
(for instance, failure to satisfy the requirements 
of the miHtary law) and ** relative" disqualifica- 
tions which render officials ineligible within the 
areas where their functions are exercised The 
law also establishes what are termed "incompati- 
bilities," the purpose being to prevent the abuse 
of executive patronage. ^ A salaried public offi- 
cial, while he may be elected to the Chamber, 
cannot retain both his seat and his office; within 
eight days after the election has been validated 
he must make his choice between them. Thus a 
prefect, who may be returned to Parliament by 
any constituency outside of his own department, 
cannot continue to be both a prefect and a deputy. 
The French rule, however, like the English one 
from which it was borrowed, permits numerous 
exceptions, among these being ministers, under- 
secretaries, ambassadors, the prefect of police, 
the prefect of the Seine, and various high judicial 
officers. It is further provided that when, after 
election, a deputy accepts any salaried public 
office, other than the office of minister or under- 

* See Chapter V. The rules applying to the two chambers 
are not identical. Duguit, Vol. II, page 263. 
' Law of November 30, 1875, Art. 8. 




secretary, he thereby forfeits his seat ^ and can- 
not seek reelection to the Chamber unless the 
office is "compatible*' with the mandate.^ 

Election to Parliament brings with it certain 
privileges which have been derived from the old 
English precedents. The chief of these are free- 
dom of speech and freedom from arrest. "No 
member of either house," says the constitution,^ 
"shall be prosecuted or held responsible for any 
opinions expressed or votes cast by him in the 
performance of his duties"; and under the law 
of 1881 no action lies against a member of Par- 
liament because of any speech delivered in the 
chambers or published by their orders.* The con- 
stitution also declares that "no member of either 
house shall, during the session, be prosecuted or 
arrested for any felony or misdemeanor except 
upon the authority of the chamber of which he is 
a member, unless he be taken in the very act." ^ 

* Law of November 30, 1875, Art. 11. 

* Senators may, without losing their seats, accept salaried 
offices "compatible" with the mandate. On the general sub- 
ject of disqualifications see especially Pierre, op. cit., Sees. 
337-346; Duguit, op, city Vol. II, page 260 ft seq.; Esmein, 
op. cit., page 861 ei seq. Esmein cites certain private offices 
(connected with subventioned steamship lines, .for instance) 
that are now "incompatible" with the legislative mandate. 

» July 16, Art., 13. 

* See Duguit, Vol. II, page 281 et seq. 

5 Constitutional law of July 16, Art. 14. It was therefore 
necessary in 1919 to deprive Joseph Caillaux of his parlia- 
mentary immunity before he could be brought to trial on the 
charge of high treason. 



The members are paid.^ They receive $3000 
(15,000 francs) a year, or considerably less than 
half the sum paid to Congressmen in the United 
States. In 1906, when Parliament fixed upon 
this amount (an increase of $1200) and made it 
applicable from the beginning of the next year, 
there was widespread criticism such as the "salary 
grab" of 1873 aroused in the United States; but 
the law was not repealed. The presidents of both 
chambers receive in addition to the regular salary 
$14,400 and an official residence. 

The normal term for the Chamber of Deputies Duration 
IS four years.2 At any time within that period ch^ber 
It may be dissolved by the President with the 
consent of the Senate; ^ but, contrary to the 
practice in England and the English colonies, 
where dissolution Invariably supervenes before 
the end of the mandate, the life of the Chamber 
has only once been interrupted In that fashion. 
The anti-Republican sentiments that actuated 
McMahon and the Senate In 1877 seem to have 
discredited permanently a device which Is, in the 
words of a distinguished French publicist,^ "In- 
dispensable to constitute parliamentary majorl- 

* Except for the period 1815-1848 payment has been 
accorded ever since 1789. 

^ As the Senate is a continuous body, the French follow 
American practice and give to each Parliament a new number 
after the election of the Chamber. The "first legislature'* 
was elected in 1876; the twelfth in 19 19. 

' Constitutional law of February 25, Art. 5. 

* Guyot in Contemporary RevtezVf xcvii, page 147. 



ties. ... In France a ministry is formed, not ^ 
because it represents a majority; it is only after 
its formation that it creates a majority." A 
French cabinet is therefore less intimately in con- 
tact with the people than an English cabinet is.^ 
Parliamentary elections first occurred in the 
spring of 1876, but after the dissolution of the 
next year they came in the autumn. As that 
date seemed disadvantageous in an agricultural 
country, a law of July 22, 1893, extended the life 
of the next Chamber until the end of May, 1898 
(that is, for several months), so that spring elec- 
tions could be restored. In view of the silence 
of the Constitution the right of Parliament to 
enact such a law cannot be contested; nor will 
any one be likely to assert that a fixed constitu- 
tional date for elections on the American plan 
would have left France as free to meet the emer- 
gencies of the Great War. Parliament was able, 
by statute, to postpone all elections until 1919. 
Because of this postponement the eleventh legis- 
lature lasted for a year and a half beyond its 
normal term, the new Chamber being elected in 
November, 1919, five months after the conclu- 
sion of peace with Germany. In order to avoid 

' Some English writers believe that in view of the important 
changes which the Parliament Act of 191 1 has made in the 
situation of the House of Commons, English cabinets m^y no 
longer resort to dissolution. See Dicey, Law of the Constitu- 
tion (8th ed., 1915), page lii; Low, Governance of England 
(new ed., 1914), page xviii. 



the recurrence of autumn elections it was pro- 
vided that the mandate of the twelfth legislature 
should not expire until May 31, 1924. 

The quadrennial elections take place, under a Th« 
decree issued by the government, at some time cam-**" 
within the sixty days preceding the expiration of paign 
the mandate.^ At least twenty days must elapse 
between the issuing of the decree and the holding 
of the election,^ these intervening weeks being 
known as the electoral period/^ Throughout this 
electoral period the campaign proceeds; candi- 
dates issue their platforms {professions de foi) 
which, framed to suit local conditions, are fre- 
quently inconsistent with the principles of the 
parties to which they ostensibly belong. Candi- 
dates are much less subject to party control than 
in the United States; their personal views count 
a great deal with the voters. But in the last 
twenty years there has been a remarkable de- 
velopment In the organization and discipline of 
the parties; annual conventions which formulate 
principles and choose the national committee 
have become the general rule; and the more 
powerful parties (as the Unified Socialists and 
the Radical-Socialists) permit no candidate to run 
in their interest unless his "profession of faith" 
has been submitted and approved. The growing 
strength of party organization has also given the 
party leaders a larger voice In the direction of 

* Law of June, 1885. 

' Law of November 30, 1875. ' Dalloz, Sec. 504. 



the campaign. They travel about the country 
more than they used to do, expounding their 
views in pubHc speeches and thus emphasizing 
the importance of national poHcies over against 
the narrower interests of locaHties. This practice 
tends to bring the candidate into closer contact 
with his party. The art of campaigning is much 
the same everywhere; in canvassing and in ex- 
tending his personal popularity with the voters 
a French candidate employs methods which would 
not seem out of place in America. There are 
points of contrast, of course; and one of these 
is the extensive use made of posters. In recent 
years, as Esmein observes,^ each candidate has 
tried to submerge the declarations of his adver- 
saries under, a flood of multicolored posters. 
Rivalry in this matter proceeded so far that it 
became a serious abuse, entailing as it did heavy 
expenditures; and under the law of March 20, 
1914,2 communes must now provide official bill- 
boards of stated size and divide them equally 
among the candidates. 
Elections As in Other Catholic countries of Europe, the 
elections invariably take place on Sunday.^ The 
polls open at eight — unless the prefect, at the 
request of the mayor, s'hould fix an earlier hour 

1 Op. cit., page 898. 

* Pierre, op. cit, supplement, Sec. 207; Esmein, op. cit., 
page 899. 

' This is an advantage to the laboring class. Even in some 
of the Protestant states of Germany municipal elections are 



— and close at six. The polling-place, which the 
prefect designates, is always a public building: 
the town hall or, if more than one polling-place 
is needed, a public school as well; it need scarcely 
be said that the surroundings are more suitable 
to the dignity of the occasion than those of 
the subterranean laundries and tailor shops that 
are often used in American cities.^ Each regis- 
tered voter receives what is called an "electoral Use of 
card." This serves the double purpose of in- electoral 
forming him as to the time and place of the elec- card 
tion and of establishing his identity when he 
presents himself to vote. It bears his name, the 
date of his birth, his address, and a statement of 
his qualifications for the suffrage. In rural com- 
munes, where the cards are usually distributed 
by the police, a considerable number of voters 
may, by design or accident, be overlooked; and 
this circumstance has been held sufficient ground 
for annulling an election. ^ But a voter who fails 
to receive a card, or to bring it to the polls, is 
still permitted to vote providing he is personally 
known to the election board or can produce two 
other voters to identify him. In the large centers 

now held on Sunday. (Dawson, Municipal Life and Goverw 
vunt in Germanyy 1914, page 74.) Until 1871 French elections 
extended over several days, as was the case in England. 
(Pierre, op. cit.y Sec. 256.) 

* Moreover, by using its own buildings, the commune effects 
a considerable economy. 

' Dalloz, Sees. 557 et seq.; Pierre, op. cii., supplement of 
i9Hf Sec. 260. 


of population, where there is so much danger of 
fraud, the voter must apply at the town hall for 
his card and there affix his signature to it. On 
election day, if fraud is suspected, this signature 
may be compared with a new one made in the 
presence of the election board. In any case the 
board will not permit a man to vote simply 
because he possesses a card; it must be satisfied 
that the card belongs rightfully to him and that 
his name appears on the register. When the 
voter presents his card, an election official cuts 
off one of the corners and strings it on a piece 
of thread or places it in a box provided for that 
purpose. This practice serves a double purpose: 
not only is it a safeguard against "repeating" 
(voting more than once), but it serves also as a 
means of detecting mistakes or frauds when a 
discrepancy is found between the number of 
ballots cast and the number of voters checked 
off in the register. After being clipped the card 
is returned to the voter who must present it 
again if a second election is held. 
NoAus- Vote by ballot superseded the viva voce system 
in France at the time of the Revolution; ^ but 
the Australian ballot, printed by the state and 
distributed inside the polling-place, has not yet 
been fully adopted.^ All the law requires is that 

* Pierre, op. cif.y Sec. 342. 

' There is reason to believe, however, that its adoption will 
not long be delayed. The proportional representation bill as 
passed by the Chamber in 1912 provided that "the ballots 





the ballots shall be made of white paper and bear 
no exterior marks.^ They may vary in size, shape, 
and quality; they may even be ** lightly tinted" 
with blue or pink or yellow. In other words the 
candidates, who print their own ballots, may 
easily give them a distinctive character without 
violating the law in any way. Until 1919 these 
ballots were distributed at the voters' homes some 
time before the election and again outside the 
polling-place on election day, a practice that 
added materially to the cost of the campaign. As 
the voter approached the polling-place, ballots 
were thrust into his hands by a group of workers 
whose hats were decorated with huge labels bearing 
the names of their respective candidates. That 
system was somewhat modified, however, by a law 
of October 20, 191 9> applying only to the election 
of the new Chamber. The law provided that 
the candidates might have their ballots printed 

of all the lists in the constituency shall be printed on the same 
sheet under the direction of the administration" and dis- 
tributed to each elector. As already noted, the Senate rejected 
this bill. A similar provision, which required the printing and 
distribution by the state of separate ballots for each list, was 
incorporated in the bill of 19 19 by unanimous vote of the 
Chamber, but struck out by the committee which reported the 
bill to the Senate. In both cases the government was required 
to print and distribute election circulars prepared by the 
candidates, the size and weight of these circulars being fixed 
by ordinance. The special arrangements made for the elections 
of 1919 are mentioned below in the text. 
* Dalloz, Sees. 619 et seq.; Pierre, Sec. 245. 



by the state (though not at public expense) and 
sent to the voters by mail under an official frank, 
election circulars of specified size accompanying 
the ballots. It provided further, that on election 
day the voter should receive ballots from the 
election board inside the polling-place and in no 
other way. According to the interpretation o! 
the law by the minister of justice,^ the candidates 
were still free to print their own ballots if they 
so desired. 

The procedure of voting has been much 
changed by recent legislation. Formerly the 
voter merely folded his ballot and handed it 
to the president of the election board who put 
it in the ballot box. This was called secret 
voting; but it left the way open to many abuses. 
The voter, having been bribed or intimidated, 
might be furnished with a particular ballot and 
kept under observation to prevent his substitut- 
ing another; or the president of the board might 
examine it, pretending to believe that several 
ballots had been folded together; or he might 
surreptitiously deface it and render it invalid. 
Secrecy: Under the law of 1913, which provides for poll- 
opesand ing-booths and the "envelope system,'* absolute 
polling secrecy has been ensured.^ Each voter, after 
1918^'* presenting his electoral card, receives an official 

* Z> TgfKpSy October 3 1, 1919. 

^ Law of July 29, 1913, as modified by the law of March 
31, 1914. See Pierre, op. cit.f supplement, Sees. 243 and 246; 
Esmein, pages 896-897. 

[ 178 ] 




envelope made according to a fixed pattern and 
of opaque paper; entering a polling-booth (wo- 
loir), protected even from the eyes of the election 
board, he puts a ballot into the envelope; and 
finally, after satisfying the board that he holds 
only one envelope, he drops it into the ballot box 
himself. These new arrangements, while they 
require more time for voting and counting the 
vote, greatly reduce the possibility of corruption. 

The election board consists of a president, four Supervi- 
assistants {assesseurs)^ and a secretary, the latter ^e°i»u 
having only a consultative voice.^ As in the case 
of the registration board, service is gratuitous, 
the cost of elections being a negligible item In 
France. The mayor of the commune always 
acts as president;^ the councilors as assesseurs. 
If the designated councilors fail to appear, the 
duty falls on the two oldest and the two youngest 
voters present at the opening of the polls. The 
law imposes no qualification except the ability to 
read and write. The members of the board may 
therefore be salaried officials subject to govern- 
ment influence or even candidates for election. 
The president preserves order. As the voters 
have a right to remain throughout the proceed- 
ings, this is not always a light task. While he 
may expel individual voters who create a dis- 
turbance, a general expulsion is permitted only 

1 Dalioz, Sees. 575 et seq.; Pierre, Sec. 232. 
' If the commune contains more than one polling-place, the 
adjoints or councilors 

C 179 ] 

the Tote 


in extreme cases where the public order is men- 
aced; and in either event the validity of the 
election may be attacked on the ground that he 
made unwarranted use of his authority. Some- 
times, when party feeling runs high, there may 
be enough commotion (spontaneous or otherwise) 
to screen the acts of a corrupt board from 
Counting After the close of the poll the count begins. 
The board first compares the number of envelopes 
in the box with the number of voters shown by 
the register and by the corners clipped from the 
electoral cards, discrepancies being noted in the 
official record. If more than three hundred votes 
have been cast, the board designates some of the 
electors present to assist in the count, four sitting 
at each table and doing their best to be accurate 
while the voters wander about the tables and 
engage in animated controversies. Ballots are 
counted which in the United States would clearly 
be void: ballots bearing the names of too many 
candidates (only the first names are considered 
in such cases) or facetious comments or even 
verses. Returns from all the polling-places in 
the department are examined by a canvassing 
board (commission de recensement) which rectifies 
mistakes and announces the result of the election 
for the constituency.^ 

* This board is now composed of four members of the gen- 
eral council of the department who are not candidates in the 
election, with the president of the district court as chairman. 




The election returns as compiled in each con- 
department by the canvassing board can be eigcuons 
reviewed by only one authority. Under the 
constitution each chamber is judge of the 
eHgibility of its members and of the regularity of 
their election.^ As soon as the new Chamber of 
Deputies has installed a provisional president, its 
members are divided by lot into eleven sections 
called "bureaux." 2 The election returns and all 
documents bearing upon them are distributed 
among these bureaux which, through the medium 
of small committees (again chosen by lot), ex- 
amine them and make report to the Chamber 
on each election separately. Undisputed returns 
are dealt w4th first so that the Chamber may 
immediately seat a majority of its members and 
proceed with permanent organization. In the 
case of contested elections, even when the com- 
plaint has been made informally by letter or 
telegram, a review of the alleged irregularities 
will entail some delay. The bureau must de- 
termine whether the candidate was eligible, 
whether he obtained the required vote, whether 

* Constitutional law of July i6, Art. 10. This power of 
deciding election contests has resided in the legislature since 
1789. On the general subject see Pierre, Sees. 354 et seq.; 
Dalloz, Sees. 791 et seq.; Duguit, Vol. II, page 301 et seq. 

' An ingenious mechanical device is used for this purpose: 
626 balls bearing the names of the members roll, with the 
movement of a board, into as many holes which 'have been 
divided into groups corresponding with the eleven bureaux. 
Pierre, Sec. 713. The Senate has only nine bureaux. 

1 181 ] 


the electoral operations were in accordance with 
the law, and whether there were any circum- 
stances (such as corrupt administrative influence) 
that would vitiate the election. If the facts 
prove difficult to establish, the Chamber may, on 
its own initiative or at the request of a bureau, 
authorize the appointment of an investigating 
committee of eleven members (one named by 
each bureau); and this committee will have 
power, under a statute of 19 14 to compel the 
attendance of witnesses and to put them under 
oath.^ When the bureau renders its final report, 
the Chamber decides simply whether the election 
shall be validated or invalidated; and its deci- 
sion is not subject to appeal. There are no 
limits or restrictions upon the prerogatives of the 
Chamber when it verifies the powers of its mem- 
bers, according to Eugene Pierre; it is bound 
neither by the laws nor by the decision of universal 
suffrage. Although Duguit expresses astonish- 
ment that a serious author could write such 
things,^ in reality the Chamber of Deputies, like 
every other political body possessed of such a 
power, has usually been influenced by partisan 
considerations rather than a nice sense of justice.^ 

* Pierre, op. cit.y supplement, Sec. 592. 

* Op. cit.y Vol. II, page 303. 

* Down to 1907 the American House of Representatives 
decided 379 of 382 contests in favor of the majority party. 
Alexander, History and Procedure of the House of Representa' 
lives y page 324. 



It is true that the bureaux, because chosen by 
lot, may recommend action unfavorable to the 
interests of the majority and that the majority 
itself, being composed of several more or less 
antagonistic groups, may not always hold to- 
gether. But the vote is taken without adequate 
information, few members having the time or in- 
clination to study voluminous reports; and unless 
the facts are so clear as to admit no difference of 
opinion, each group will support the claims of 
its own candidates and purchase the support 
of allied groups by the familiar practice of log- 
rolling. Partisan advantage is never overlooked. 
Naturally the groups that suffer most from this 
abuse advocate a change. Influenced by the 
practice of Great Britain and her colonies, where 
•for half a century the courts have determined 
election contests, they propose to entrust this 
power to the Council of State which already has 
jurisdiction over municipal elections. The Re- 
publican Federation (formerly known as the 
Progressist party) recommends a commission 
drawn, in equal numbers, from the Council of 
State and the Court of Cassation.^ But the ma- 
jority, well satisfied with existing methods, is not 
likely to sanction a change of that sort. 

When the Chamber voids an election because Corrupt 
of corrupt practices, no further penalty is thereby ^^ ^^ 
imposed on the guilty parties; the unseated can- 
didate, even though shown to have bribed or 
* Jacques, Les Partis poHtiques (1913), page 209. 



intimidated voters, may offer himself in the en- 
suing by-election. Violations of the law arc 
punished, not by the Chamber, but by the 
criminal courts.^ If the public prosecutor fails 
to act, any voter of the constituency may set the 
machinery of the criminal law in motion. Under 
the decree of February 2, 1852 — which defined 
such offenses as false registration, illegal voting, 
tampering with the ballots or the returns, in- 
timidation, bribery — conviction was difficult to 
secure. "It may safely be said," Aristide Briand 
observed in 1910,^ **that corruption generally 
escapes all repression." Critics pointed to many 
defects in the law. These defects have been 
remedied, however, by the laws of July 29, 1913, 
and March 31, 1914.^ The former deals with 
offenses in connection with voting and counting 
the vote. The latter punishes with a fine of five 
thousand francs and imprisonment for two years 
those who, by money or favors or promises, 
attempt to influence the voters and those who 
accept or solicit such bribes; it punishes with 
like severity those who are guilty of undue in- 
fluence (for example, intimidation or threat of 
the loss of employment); and any one convicted 

* On the subject of corrupt practices see Dalioz, Sees. 853- 
884, and Pierre, op. cit.y and supplement, Sees. 285-299. 

* Pierre, supplement, Sec. 292. 

* For the text of these laws see Pierre, op. cit.y supplement. 
Sec. 292. A useful summary will be found in Duguit, Manuel 
de droit constitutionnel (3d ed., 1918), pages 371-374. 



under the act is incapable of being elected to 
Parliament for a period of two years. Moreover, 
the act expressly condemns government pressure, 
which has always played a prominent part in 
elections; the mere promise of administrative 
favors is now illegal; and whenever a public 
official violates a provision of the law he is liable 
to double penalties. Those familiar with Eng- 
lish and American legislation will be surprised to 
find that campaign expenditures are not limited 
in any way. It seems that large sums of money 
are rarely spent by French candidates. 




The A S in the United States, the constitution fixes 

^^Jj^ -^^ a definite time for the meeting of Parlia- 
session ment — the second Tuesday in January.^ This 
regular session must last for five months. It is 
true that in April of every fourth year, when a 
new Chamber is elected, adjournment takes place 
after a session of Httle more than three months; 
but the newly-elected deputies, acting upon a 
resolution of the outgoing Chamber, assemble on 
June I to complete the regular session. The 
constitutional provision requiring Parliament to 
meet every year and at a particular time is really 
superfluous. It may satisfy the doctrinaire who 
thinks that political life can be controlled by 
formulae; but the necessity of voting the budget 
every year, indeed the very functioning of the 
parliamentary system, makes it certain that par- 
liament will be active enough, if not too active, 
without a safeguard of this kind. The elastic 
English practice under which the session begins 
without compulsion of law whenever circum- 
stances make it advisable seems to accord better 
with sound principles of government. 

^ Constitutional law of July i6, Art. I. 



Except in election years the regular session Special 
invariably lasts more than five months, termmat- 
ing almost always towards the end of July. 
Then every year, in the early part of November, 
there is a special session rendered necessary by 
the failure of Parliament to pass the budget in 
the regular session. The intervening period 
(August, September, October) represents nothing 
more than the indispensable parliamentary recess. 
This special session, and indeed any special 
session, is called by the President either on the 
advice of his ministers or at the request of an 
absolute majority in each chamber.^ No such 
request from the chambers has ever been made, 
and there is some doubt as to what constitutes 
an absolute majority.^ Special sessions have 
always been called on the initiat ve of the cabinet. 

The President may adjourn the chambers,^ but Adjoum- 

1 • • 1 1 • ment and 

not more than twice in the same regular session proroga- 
and not for a longer period than one month in tion 
each case.* If the chambers themselves adjourn, 
the period of recess is counted in reckoning the 

^ Constitutional law of July i6, Arts, i and 2. 

* Esmein, Aliments de droit constitutionneU page 742, main- 
tains that vacant seats should be deducted from the total; 
Duguit, Traiti de droit constitutionneU Vol. II, page 296, holds 
that under Esmein's construction the majority might become 
a minority later on because of by-elections. 

* The term adjournment is used here to denote a temporary 
interruption of the session; prorogation, to denote the ending 
of the session. 

* Constitutional law of July 16, Art. 2. 



session of five months required by the constitu- 
tion. Subject to the five-months' rule the Presi- 
dent may at any time prorogue Parliament,^ that 
is, close the session.^ But of course when he 
adjourns or prorogues Parliament, his act is con- 
trolled by the responsible ministers. Prorogation 
does not in the Chamber of Deputies, as it does 
in the British House of Commons, terminate all 
pending business; when the next session opens 
bills may be taken up precisely where they were 
abandoned. Upon dissolution of the Chamber, 
however, all bills that have not been enacted 
are quashed and can be considered by the new 
Chamber only by being reintroduced and once 
more referred to committee. The Senate, being 
a continuous body, is subject to no such regula- 
tion. It may deal with bills passed by a defunct 
Chamber and enact them into law even though 
the quadrennial elections have shown that the 
voters are not favorable to their passage. 
The Each daily sitting of the Chamber of Deputies 

rttto£8 opcris with an impressive ceremony.^ The presi- 
dent of the Chamber makes his entrance preceded 
by two ushers and followed by the secretaries; a 
guard of honor forms in line and presents arms 
while drums beat a salute. As soon as the presi- 
dent has mounted to his chair in the tribune, 
ushers announce the fact through the palace and 

^ See note 3, p. 187. * See note 4, p. 187. 

• Pierre, Traitg de droit politiquiy electoral, et parlementaire, 
Sec. 793. 




electric bells are rung to ensure an adequate 
attendance. The Chamber usually meets at two 
o'clock and rises in time for dinner, that is, at 
some time between six and seven. When the 
hour of rising comes, — - an hour fixed by custom 
and not by the rules, — or when the deputies are 
"visibly fatigued," the president consults the 
Chamber as to the day and hour of the next sitting.* 
Towards the end of the annual session and at 
other times when there is a great accumulation 
of business the Chamber is compelled to give more 
than the normal four or five hours a day to its 
work. Instead of continuing ^nto the night like 
the British House of Commons ^ resort is had to 
sittings in the morning, which begin at nine or ten 
o'clock, and the afternoon sitting is postponed until 
three. Under the constitution the sittings are nor- 
mally open to the public.^ But "each chamber 
may form itself into secret committee on the de- 
mand of a certain number of members fixed by the 
rules. It then shall decide, by absolute majority, 
if the sitting should be resumed in public on the 
same subject.'* In the Chamber of Deputies a 
motion to go into secret committee requires the 
signature of twenty members and must be voted 
on without debate. These provisions of the 

» Id.y Sec. 795. 

* Except on Fridays the House of Commons does not rise 
till 11.30 P.M.; occasionally the sittings extend into the eariy 
hours of the morning> 

' Constitutional law of July i'6, Art. 5. 



constitution and rules were put into effect for the 
first time after the outbreak of the Great War.* 
Fixing In all legislative bodies it is obviously of prime 

•^order importance to decide what shall be done, how 
of the time shall be apportioned among the numerous 
'^^ ' measures pressing for consideration. The fate 
of bills often depends upon their being brought 
forward at the right juncture. A proposed re- 
form may be compromised if it is acted upon 
inopportunely or hastily; it may fail to receive 
any attention if it is held back till the rush of the 
closing days of the session. The Chamber of 
Deputies regulates the transaction of its business 
by what is known as "the order of the day." ^ 
The method of determining the order of the day 
has been much changed in recent years. 
Formerly the matter was left largely in the 
hands of the president who, at the close of the 
sitting, when the attendance was small and the 
remaining members were anxious to leave, would 
briefly state his proposals for the next day's 
business and ask for their confirmation. No 
doubt he formulated these proposals in consulta- 
tion with the recognized leaders of the Chamber. 
Nevertheless, the arrangement met with some 
objection because, it was urged, a minority of 
the members might remain to the close of the 
sitting and mold the order of the day to their 
own advantage. These objections prevailed in 

* Pierre, op. cit., supplement of 1914, Sec. 800. 

* Pierre, op. cit.y Sec. 803; also supplement, Sec. 803. 



spite of the fact that the majority could then, 
as now, change the order of the day at any time 
and thus circumvent minority plottings of the 
previous day. A new rule, adopted in 191 1 and 
modified afterwards,^ has changed the procedure. 
Once a week, under this new rule, the president 
of the Chamber confers with the presidents of 
the party groups and of the twenty-one standing 
committees upon the state of business, the cabi- 
net also being represented if it so desires. In 
other words this group of parliamentary leaders 
draws up a program for the ensuing week, a pro- 
gram which is printed in the Journal officiel and 
afterward submitted to the Chamber for ap- 
proval.2 No motion to change the proposed 
order of the day can be brought to the attention 
of the Chamber unless it is supported by the 
government or by fifty deputies. Do these new 
provisions of the rules give the government suffi- 
cient influence over the course of legislation? 
Not such influence as the British cabinet possesses. 
The order of the day is drafted by the presidents 
of the nine or ten groups and of the nineteen 
standing committees. While the latter will 
usually be sympathetic to the government views 
(the committees now being elected by propor- 
tional representation and thus reflecting the will 

1 Pierre, supplement of 1914, Sec. 804, and Rule 94 (1915). 

* It also supervises committee meetings so as to prevent a 
situation arising where a deputy who belongs to two com- 
mittees finds them both in session at the same time. 



ment of 

of the Chamber as a whole), the support of less 
than half the groups can be counted on, and 
every group has the same voice irrespective of 
its numerical strength. The premier may have 
to use threats or persuasive arguments; he may 
often be compelled to resort to bargain or com- 
promise — logrolling. 

The interior of the hall in which the deputies 
meet is semicircular in shape.^ At an elevation 
of some ten feet, approached by a narrow stair- 
case on either side, is the chair of the president. 
Immediately in front of him, but two or three 
feet lower, is the tribune from which the mem- 
bers speak. Facing the tribune there are a dozen 
concentric rows of seats which rise one above the 
other in the style of an amphitheater or demon- 
stration room, the back of each seat having a 
miniature desk attached to it. Here the mem- 
bers sit. Once every four years, after the general 
election, the deputies are required to segregate 
themselves into political groups, no one belong- 
ing to more than one group.^ Then the officers 
of the groups, consulting with the president, 
divide the seats into sectors and from right to 
left of the president's chair assign these sectors 
to the groups in accordance with their degree of 

* The Chamber of Deputies sits in the Palais Bourbon, a 
building in the Grecian style which stands on the banks of the 
Seine and which dates back to the beginning of the eighteenth 

* Rule 12 (1915). 


conservatism or radicalism.^ On the extreme 
right, therefore, sit the reactionaries; on the 
extreme left the Unified Socialists. The seats in 
the front row are reserved for special purposes, 
part of them being occupied by the cabinet 
ministers and part by whatever standing com- 
mittee has reported the bill now under considera- 
tion in the Chamber. Unfortunately these seats 
are often invaded by deputies who are neither 
ministers nor committeemen and who come down 
from their places in order to be nearer to the 
tribune. The practice of speaking from the tri- 
bune has prevailed in France since 1790.^ No 
doubt the explanation of this practice, which has 
spread to most of the continental countries, is 
that an amphitheater will hardly permit of any- 
thing else. Gallic eloquence, not to speak of 
Gallic gestures (which the foreign visitor may 
find rather diverting), cannot be effective when 
directed to the backs of an audience. It may be 
a great audience capable of being deeply stirred; 

* Some deputies prefer to plow a lonely furrow and 
identify themselves with no group. Within twenty-four hours 
after the sectors have been assigned they may, by applying 
to the president, receive seats between the groups with which 
they are most nearly in accord. Rule 135 (1915). 

^ Except under Napoleon III, 1852-1865. See Pierre, Sees. 
888-889. The present rule of the Chamber (No. 41) simply 
says that a deputy shall speak "at the tribune or from his 
place"; and this apparently means that the president may 
allow him to speak from his place either because of physical 
disability or because of a desire to shorten the debate. 



for behind the last row of members and separated 
from it by twenty columns of poHshed marble 
there are two galleries, each of which will ac- 
commodate three or four hundred persons.* 
Mounting the tribune, the deputy must feel 
almost as if he were behind the footlights and as 
if his chief concern were to play upon the emo- 
tions of pit and gallery. Physical surroundings 
as well as racial temperament have given the 
Chamber of Deputies a character quite different 
from that of the American House of Representa- 
tives or the British House of Commons. In the 
American House oratory calls to mind high-school 
declamations; in the British House, where there 
are usually few members in attendance and 
where they are compactly seated, the debates 
may be of a rather conversational kind; in the 
French Chamber one hears speeches more often 
than debates, but speeches which, if a little 
theatrical at times and a little too reminiscent of 
the Athenian ecclesia, never descend to the level 
of the high school. 

Officials of the Chamber 

The affairs of the Chamber are directed by 
ofl&cials known collectively as the Bureau.^ The 

^ Some of the seats are freely open to the public; others by 
ticket, the deputies receiving each day a certain number of 
tickets for distribution. 

^ The reader is reminded that the term "bureau" has a 
variety of applications in parliamentary life. The officials of 



Bureau includes a president, four vice-presidents, The 
eight secretaries, and three questors.^ The vice- ^^^l^ 
presidents relieve the president upon occasion, chamber 
The secretaries, four of whom sit at one time, 
keep the minutes, inscribe the members who wish 
to speak, and count all votes.^ The questors 
have the business management of the Chamber 
in their hands. They look after the funds of 
the Chamber, paying the deputies and employees 
and supervising other expenditures; they have 
charge of the archives, the library, and the build- 
ing generally. All of these officials are elected 
annually from among the deputies and serve 
until the opening of the regular session of the 

each political group in the Chamber constitute a bureau; for 
certain purposes the 626 members of the Chamber are divided 
by lot into eleven bureaux each month. 

^ When a new Chamber first meets after the elections the 
oldest member presides, the six youngest act as secretaries. 
Then a provisional bureau is chosen to serve until the election 
of half plus one of the members has been validated. In 
subsequent sessions of the same Chamber a provisional bureau 
consisting of the oldest member as president and the six 
youngest as secretaries assumes office and retires as soon as 
the "definitive bureau" has been elected. Pierre, Sec. 407. 

* The transactions of the Chamber are recorded in various 
ways: (i) The proces-verbal gives a list of bills and reports, a 
resume of the debates, and a statement of the votes. (2) The 
comptes rendus (prepared under direction of the secretaries, 
guaranteed as to their authenticity, and covered by legal im- 
munities) are of three kinds: the compte rendu in extenso which 
is a stenographic report printed daily in the Journal oficiel 
and given to newspapers in proof-sheets; the compte rendu 



following yeart^ No constitutional or statutory 
provision stands in the way of their reelection 
for any number of terms; but in the case of the 
secretaries the party groups have imposed a 
system of rotation which permits only two suc- 
cessive terms.^ In the elections a secret vote is 
required and (until the third balloting when a 
mere plurality suffices) an absolute majority 
(half plus one).^ Each office is filled by a sepa- 
rate election. The general ticket, with ballots 
printed beforehand, is used for all multiple offices 

sonitnaite, compiled during the course of each sitting, and sent 
over the telegraph, bit by bit, to the President of the Republic, 
the president of the Senate, and a Paris newspaper syndicate; 
and the compte rendu analytiqiu furnished free of charge to the 
Paris newspapers (some four columns of copy) either in parts 
during the course of the sitting or complete at nine o'clock in 
the evening when it goes to members of Parliament and to the 
provincial newspapers by post. The debates are printed in 
the JouttmI oficiel and in the Annales parlementaires; the 
latter also contains the texts of all parliamentary documents. 
Pierre, Sees. 951-967. 

1 Constitutional law of July 16, Art. 11. "The bureau of 
each chamber shall be elected each year for the entire session 
and for every special session which may be held before the 
regular session of the following year." In the revolutionary 
assemblies the presiding officer was chosen every two weeks 
without being immediately reeligible; under the Republic of 
1848 the term was one month. Pierre, Sec. 429. 

* Pierre, Sec. 430. 

• When there is no general favorite running for the office 
of president, group caucuses are sometimes held. Thus in 
May, 1912, the Radical Left and the Radical-Socialists met 
together in caucus to pick the successor of Henri Brisson. 



— that is, except in the case of :he presidency. 
There are two ballot boxes. ^ In one each mem- 
ber deposits his ballot enclosed in an envelope; 
in the other he deposits a "ball of control." It 
is not quite certain why these balls of control are 
used — whether to make sure that a quorum is 
present or to determine the number of votes for 
a calculation of the majority needed.^ This 
much is certain, that because of the balls of con- 
trol controversies have arisen which have put 
the Chamber in an absurd position. For in- 
stance, when the president of the Chamber was 
elected in 1898 (June) the balls of control num- 
bered 557; the ballots, 556: Deschanel, 277; 
Brisson, 276; blank, 3 (blanks not counted in 
figuring the majority). Had a ballot been lost 
or a ball of control been put into the box by 
mistake? In the former case, if the lost ballot 
had been cast for Brisson, the result would have 
been inconclusive. Deschanel, while believing 
himself regularly elected, demanded a second 
ballot and was elected. Similar situations have 
arisen from time to time. In the election of 
secretaries that same year (1898) 421 ballots 
were cast, but 422 balls of control. On the basis 
of the ballots the absolute majority was 211. 
Jourdre had 211; Binder, 210; and Jourdre, 
feeling that he could not accept election under 
these circumstances, demanded a second election 
in which he was successful. 

1 Pierre, Sec. 415. ' 7^., Sec. 427. 




The president of the Chamber is the third 
personage in the country, taking rank after the 
President of the Republic and the president of 
the Senate. He lives in the Palais Bourbon, 
receives eighty-seven thousand francs a year 
(which includes his fifteen thousand as deputy), 
and possesses the franking privilege.^ As presid- 
ing officer he guides debates, gives recognition to 
deputies who have had their names inscribed by 
the secretaries, maintains order and decorum, 
and generally applies the rules. 
Rules of Indirectly the constitution gives to each cham- 
ber the right to frame its own rules. It says 
that secret sittings may be voted on the demand 
of a number of members fixed by the rules.^ The 
first rules were adopted in June, 1876; since then 
there have been changes and additions, indeed 
something like a general revision in 191 5. But 
like the "standing orders" of the British House 
of Commons, the rules are permanent in the 
sense that they apply, unless modified, to suc- 
cessive chambers; and, as in Great Britain, the 
inclination has been to leave the procedure un- 
changed. "Imperfect rules which are well under- 
stood by an assembly," says Pierre, "are better 
than rules which are constantly changed and 
which the members can make use of only by 
studying them and comparing theirvtexts." This 

* The deputies, not being regarded as public officials, do 
not have the right to frank. 

* Constitutional law of July 16, Art. 5. 



opinion has prevailed in the Chamber. All reso- 
lutions that propose to change the rules are 
subject to the same formalities (and delays) that 
apply in the case of ordinary legislation. This 
prevents the majority from gaining temporary 
advantage by tampering with the procedure; it 
minimizes the danger of hasty action based upon 
interests and emotions of the moment. "The 
ideal of the rules," says Pierre, "is not only to 
have them voted with practical unanimity, but 
also to have them sincerely accepted as just, 
wise, and practical. The experience of all par- 
liaments (and notably that of the French Cham- 
ber) shows that the rules are among the most 
delicate concerns and that they are endangered 
by improvisation." ^ 

The president interprets the rules. He may Rules in- 
ask for the opinion of the Chamber when he finds |!J^* 
himself confronted by a doubtful point which the president 
rules have not contemplated or when there is 
uncertainty as to the meaning of a rule or of a 
vote; 2 he must do so when the rules are silent. 
In all othep cases the decision rests with him 
alone; and it is final. If this were not the case, 
the meaning of the rules would vary from day 
to day according to the caprice of a fluctuating 

In maintaining order the president does not Preserv- 
wield a gavel like the speaker of the House of ^^°^ *' 

* Supplement, Sec. 522. 

* Pierre, Sec. 452. 



ment of 

Representatives, whose strokes upon a mahogany- 
topped desk resound through the corridors; nor 
does he go unarmed Hke the speaker of the House 
of Commons. He tries to quiet disturbances by 
ringing a bell. If the Chamber becomes tumultu- 
ous and the bell fails to calm it, he takes sterner 
measures; he puts on his hat.^ If this drastic 
step fails of effect, he threatens to suspend the 
sitting. If the threat does not sufficiently im- 
press the noisy element, he actually does suspend 
it. And if, when the sitting is resumed, the 
tumult continues, as a last resort the president 
orders an adjournment until the next day. 

There are cases, of course, in which the presi- 
dent feels called upon to discipline individuals.^ 
The means of discipHne are: (i) the call to 
order, (2) the call to order with entry upon the 
minutes (this in case of a repeated offense), 
(3) censure, and (4) censure with temporary ex- 
clusion from the Chamber; and the rules describe 
in some detail the offenses that merit these dif- 
ferent grades of punishment. While the presi- 
dent acts independently in calling deputies to 
order, he must secure the consent of the Cham- 
ber when he wishes to take the more rigorous 
course of censure. No doubt the deputies, when 
called to order or censured, would feel little con- 
cern were it not for the pecuniary losses involved. 
A call to order with entry upon the minutes carries 

1 Rule 53 (1915); Pierre, Sec. 487. 
' Pierre, Sees. 455 et seq.; Rules 56-66 (1915). 


a fine of half salary for two weeks; simple censure, 
a fine of half salary for one month; censure with 
temporary exclusion, a fine of half salary for two 
months. The period of exclusion is two weeks. 

So far as the rules go the president of the The 
Chamber of Deputies has very much the same J^^^' 
powers as presiding officers have elsewhere. But 
his position cannot be judged merely by powers 
conferred or withheld. In every legislative body 
influences are at work which transcend the rules 
and override formal considerations. The Eng- 
lish speaker has gradually been transformed into 
a nonpartisan moderator who is retained in office 
notwithstanding changes in the party complexion 
of the House of Commons. The American 
speaker is frankly a partisan, elected by a vote 
which is taken as a significant test of party 
strength, and until the fall of ** Uncle Joe" 
Cannon, in 19 lo, recognized as the effective 
leader of the majority in the House of Represent- 
atives. The president of the Chamber may be 
said to stand midway between these two types. 
'*His first duty is impartiality towards all," says 
Duguit.^ By usage — not by compulsion of the 
rules, he refrains from voting. He drops journal- 
istic activities.^ But, possessing all the privileges 
of an ordinary member, he may at any time 
leave the chair and engage in the debate.^ He 
remains, as Pierre freely admits, a politician. 

1 Traite^ Vol. II, page 308. 

* Pierre, Sec. 435. ' Pierre, Sees. 908, 917. 




as shown 
In its 

In order to understand the character of the 
office something must be known of its history. 
From 1876 to 1920 — a period of forty odd years 
— there have been twelve presidents of the Cham- 
ber. Of these Grevy, Gambetta, Floquet, Casi- 
mir-Perier, Brisson, and Deschanel were elected 
three times or more — Brisson, who died in 1912 
after serving continuously for half a dozen j^ears, 
twenty times; Deschanel, who occupied the chair 
at the time of his election to the presidency of 
the republic, fifteen times. While continuity in 
office has been the rule in late years, ^ and has 
tended to bring the president closer to the British 
speaker in type, there have been occasions not so 
long ago where the election roused party ani- 
mosities to fever heat. There were contemptuous 
demonstrations on the Left when Paul Deschanel 
defeated by a single vote his more radical oppon- 
ent, Henri Brisson, in 1898. The deputies under- 
stood quite well that the election reflected the 
attitude of the Chamber towards current political 
questions. In 1905 opposing policies were even 
more directly an issue. At the last moment 
Paul Doumer, president of the powerful budget 
committee, came forward to oppose the reelec- 
tion of Brisson. He was a vigorous opponent of 
the premier Emile Combes, whose pacifist and 
socialistic administration had undermined the 
efficiency of the naval and the military establish- 

^ Brisson from 1906 to his death in 1912; Deschanel from 
1912 to 1920. 


ments.* His election as president by twenty- 
five votes helped to force Combes out of office. 
When he took the chair on January 12, he had to 
face bitter denunciations on the Left, his inaugu- 
ral address being interrupted constantly by inso- 
lent and ill-bred remarks which few parliamentary 
bodies would have tolerated. Part of the time 
his voice could not be heard above the uproar. 
Doumer ignored the interruptions; he simply 
said: "It is hardly generous to attack the presi- 
dent; he is the only one here who has no right 
to defend himself." He declared in the most 
specific way, however, that his election must be 
taken as representing the view of the majority 
on political questions. These two incidents are 
enough to show that the presidency has not 
been completely freed from the play of parti- 
san rivalry. It is quite as instructive to ob- 
serve that the presidents have almost all been 
leading politicians who have reached the presi- 
dency through the premiership or the premier- 
ship through the presidency. Gambetta accepted 
the premiership in 1881 because his triumphant re- 
election to the presidency had shown that he 
could command a sufficient following. Brisson 
(president 1 881-1885) was also translated to the 
premiership; so was Floquet (president 1885- 
1888); so was Casimir-Perier in 1893 and Charles 
Dupuy in 1894, Casimir-Perier once again be- 
coming president in the place of Dupuy. Bris- 

* Annie politique^ 1905, page 9 et seq. 



son, president again 1 894-1 898, became premier 
in the last year. This recurring transition from 
one office to another suggests that both offices 
are poHtical. Let it be held in mind, neverthe- 
less, that in the last ten or fifteen years the 
Chamber seems to have had some vision of the 
speaker in the English guise, the servant of the 
House, absolutely divorced from politics and 
supplanted in his old political function by a 
prime minister who now asserts legislative leader- 
ship, Paul Deschanel, while president of the 
Chamber, several times refused to accept the 
office of prime minister. 

Legislative Committees 

impo«w In the work of the Chamber the committees 

of the exert an influence which hardly seems to accord 
commit- with the principles of the parliamentary system.^ 
*** Under that system, as developed in England and 

transmitted to continental states, the cabinet 
should exercise an effective leadership; it should 
have power to act and be held accountable for 
its action. But when there are numerous com- 
mittees and government bills may be mutilated 
by them and distorted out of their original shape, 
the government is obviously embarrassed in its 
dealings with the Chamber, for debate takes 

* On the system of committees see Pierre, Traitey Sees. 
711-786; also supplement, Sees. 711-786; Rules of 1915, 
pages 11-36, 85-87; Duguit, Traitey Vol. II, pages_ 34i-347» 
£smein, ^lementSy pages 940 rt seq., and 976 et seq. 


place, not on the government bill, but on the 
committee bill. Responsibility is divided or, to 
use a phrase of Mr. Wilson's, ''spread thin." 
Much depends, of course, upon the character of 
the committees. Recent changes in the rules 
of the Chamber of Deputies, while increasing 
the efficiency of the committees, have also 
brought them more under the control of the 

Down to 1902 the committees were temporary Their 
and special — special, because appointed in each ^g^.. ^^'^ 
case to examine and report to the Chamber upon perma- 
some particular measure; temporary, because "^ 
dissolving as soon as the Chamber had acted 
favorably or unfavorably upon the report. This 
arrangement, which the Senate still persists in,^ 
came down from the Constitution of 1795, hav- 
ing been devised then in the light of experience 
with the over-powerful permanent committees of 
the Convention. Under the Third Republic 
criticism was constantly directed against it. Two 
eminent publicists wrote in 1889: "These mul- 
tiple committees named according to the accident 
of the composition of the bureaux, having no 
tradition, able to devote themselves to no study 
followed in an order of determined ideas, whose 

' With these exceptions: (i) four monthly committees 
which deal with minor concerns such as leave of absence for 
the members; (2) one biennial committee on customs; and 
(3) four annual committees (army, marine, railroads, and 
Senate accounts). 

C 205 ] 


members will shortly be scattered among other 
committees with an absolutely different object, 
present the picture of a very complicated mechan- 
ism whose works and various organs are entangled 
with each other and which, for a great expendi- 
ture of energy and movement, give quite inade- 
quate results.'* ^ The committees had proved 
themselves slow and inactive; there had been 
lack of coordination, since related measures went 
to different committees; there had been little 
encouragement to members of the Chamber to 
become specialists in this or that direction. In 
1898, by way of a tentative step, several per- 
manent committees were set up. Finally in 1902 
the Chamber adopted a new rule which, with sub- 
sequent modifications (in 19 10, 19 15, and 1920), 
provides for twenty-one standing committees of 
forty-four members each. These last throughout 
the life of the Chamber ^ and have jurisdiction 
over all measures coming within their respective 
The character of the committees was again 

* Quoted in Duguit, op. cit.y Vol. II, page 343. 

' Rules II and 12 of 1915. Until 1915 the budget com- 
mittee was renewed annually; but this proved inconvenient 
because, owing to the recurrent delays in voting the budget, 
the Chamber frequently had to extend the competence of the 
committee to examine the budget of the succeeding year. 
See Pierre, supplement, Sec. 767. 

• Under rule 14 of 1915 the committees receive from the 
president all bills coming within their proper field unless the 
Chamber orders otherwise. 



fundamentally changed by the adoption of a Old 
new rule in 1910. Up to that time they had ^ 
been chosen by a process which worked to the tion 
disadvantage of the majority and, consequently, 
of the cabinet representing that majority. It has 
already been noted that — for the purpose of 
examining and reporting upon election returns — 
the Chamber and Senate are divided by lot re- 
spectively into eleven and nine bureaux. These 
bureaux are reconstituted monthly. In the 
Chamber down to 1910 (and the practice still 
continues in the Senate) they received printed 
copies of all bills which had been introduced, 
made a preliminary examination of the bills, and 
then appointed committees to report upon them, 
each bureau naming one, two, or three members 
according to the size of the committee. It has 
been said in justification of this plan that each 
bureau would develop in its preliminary discus- 
sions a general attitude on the broad lines of a 
bill, that it would appoint committeemen who 
were in sympathy with that attitude, and that 
the members of the Chamber would be able 
easily to detect changes which the committee 
might import into the text.^ Fifty years ago 
this may have been true. But under the pres- 
sure of legislative business today it is quite im- 
possible for the deputies to give even cursory 
attention to all pending bills and at the same 
time do all the other things expected of them; 

* Pierre, supplement, Sec. 711. 





method : 

the existence of the standing committees, by 
which the Chamber seeks to enlarge its capacity 
for work, is an illustration of this. Not only 
has the legislative burden portentously increased 
since 1814, when the bureaux were first estab- 
lished,^ but the type of government has changed. 
The cabinet is now responsible to the chambers; 
its tenure of office depends upon a coalition of 
groups; and the measures which it introduces 
reflect the tendencies of that coalition. Ob- 
viously a committee elected by eleven bureaux, 
themselves the offspring of the lot, might easily 
reflect the tendencies of the opposition and harass 
the cabinet by recasting its measures. In advo- 
cating the election of the committees by the 
Chamber the late Jean Jaures declared that, as 
things were, a committee would give long months 
of sterile work to the shaping of a bill and that 
at the first meeting of this fortuitous committee 
with the Chamber the bill would collapse and 
chaos reign. 

When the tenth legislature assembled (1910) 
dissatisfaction came to a head. The new rules 
then adopted not only made the committees elec- 
tive, but applied the principle of proportional 
representation; and, in applying it, recognized 
for the first time the function of parties in the 
business of the Chamber.^ The procedure is very 

^ There had been bureaux in the States-General. Duguit, 
Trait^, Vol. II, page 341. 

• Pierre, supplement, Sec. 739, and Rule 12 of 1915. 



simple. It rests frankly upon the initiative of 
the party leaders. Five days before the election 
of committees the officers (bureaux) of the vari- 
ous groups in the Chamber prepare membership 
lists which thereupon are published in the Journal 
oijiciel; and — contrary to the earlier usage, so 
destructive of party discipline and responsibility 
— no deputy can appear upon more than one 
list; as the phrase goes, the groups are now 
"locked.** ^ The number of committee assign- 
ments for each group is determined mathemati- 
cally on the basis of its relative strength, the 
group itself selecting the members who are to 
serve; the leaders of all the groups, meeting to- 
gether three days before the election, then fix 
the composition of all the twenty-one committees; 
and this slate is presumed to have the approval 
of the Chamber unless fifty deputies indicate 
their opposition in writing. In case of such 
opposition, where alternative tickets are put for- 
ward, the Chamber proceeds to a vote.^ Once 
every four years, in the June following the 
general election, the bureaux examine election 
returns. Beyond that they do nothing but name 

^ Although the groups are locked only for the purposes of 
committee elections, they do as a matter of fact remain 
stable, partly because new elections are held from time to 
time to fill vacancies in the committees. The independents 
of various shades form themselves into a group temporarily 
so as to have some voice in selecting committeemen. 

' Now that the committees are permanent and directly 
elected the survival of the bureaux seems anomalous. 



tees as a 
check on 

the surviving monthly committees on leave of 
absence, petitions, local affairs, and initiative; 
and of these the first two are now often chosen 
directly by lot and the last two hardly ever 
meet. Under the circumstances, as Pierre re- 
marks, **the monthly drawing of lots becomes 
almost a senseless operation." ^ 

These changes in the committee system, all 
occurring since the close of the nineteenth cen- 
tury when Bodley and Lowell described it, have 
undoubtedly improved the situation. Above all 
the ministers are strengthened. The committees, 
when chosen, represent the majority as found in 
a coalition of groups and, even when this coali- 
tion gives way to another, they will represent 
the new majority; for since the party complexion 
of the Chamber is reflected faithfully in the com- 
mittees, the same shiftings in party alliances take 
place simultaneously in both quarters. In normal 
circumstances the committees will support the 
cabinet when the Chamber does. It would be 
a mistake, however, to suppose that the cabinet 
has been freed from all menace of rivalry. In- 
deed the menace has increased in one direction. 
The committees, having acquired a permanent 
tenure and a jurisdiction over all measures com- 
ing within their various fields (such as the army, 


* Supplement, Sec. 711. Yet it should be remembered that 
when any bill falls within the competence of no standing 
committee it is sent to the bureaux which then elect a special 
committee. Id.y Sec. 692. 


agriculture, commerce and industry, instruction, 
and fine arts), tend to become intimately ac- 
quainted with departmental business and to in- 
terfere in its conduct; the minister finds himself 
checked in countless ways and hampered in his 
freedom of action. This does not make for ad- 
ministrative efficiency. Moreover, in the work 
of legislation the committees continue to play a 
role which places the minister at a disadvantage. 
Under the English practice a government bill is 
in the charge of a minister from the time of its 
introduction to the time of its passage; he has 
charge of it during the second reading in the 
House, during committee stage, and when it is 
reported; and the committee stage does not 
occur till the House has debated the bill and ac- 
cepted its general principles. Under French 
practice, on the other hand, the bill goes imme- 
diately before a committee which meets in secret 
without the guidance of a minister and which 
still has charge of the bill when it is brought 
before the Chamber. For the moment the minis- 
ter is overshadowed. Not he, but the reporter 
explains and defends the bill, accepts or rejects 
proposed amendments. Of course, the minister 
may interpose at any time; the premier himself 
may force his views upon the Chamber by de- 
manding a vote of confidence. Nevertheless the 
formal procedure does create a divided leader- 
ship. The cabinet, instead of defending a meas- 
ure of its own, may at times be in the position 



of persuading the Chamber to reject the pro- 
posals of the committee. Not that this occurs 
frequently. As a rule, when the committee is 
examining a bill, it acts in close collaboration 
with the government and shows a disposition to 
give way when it cannot convert the minister to 
its own way of thinking. 
Reguia- In view of the important functions of the com- 
wmmit- rnittees their proceedings are regulated in some 
tees detail. Although they frequently meet while 

the Chamber is sitting, the rules provide (Rule 
26, of 191 5) that "at least" one day a week shall 
be reserved for their work. The meetings are 
secret, only the author of the bill and those who 
propose amendments having the right to appear 
(Rule 28). In American legislatures secrecy has 
sometimes covered up illicit maneuvers; but 
the French committees are required to publish 
each day the list of members in attendance, to 
keep a record of their transactions, and to deposit 
this record in the archives of the Chamber (Rules 
27 and 30). Eleven members, one quarter of the 
whole number, constitute a quorum (Rule 30). 
Unless a bill is reported within a period of six 
months, the author of the bill may ask the Cham- 
ber to place it forthwith on the order of the day. 

Legislative Procedure 

The bills which come before the committees 
fall into two classes: government bills (projets) 


and private-member bills (propositions).^ The Govem- 
distinction is not so sharply made as in England, ^^^^ 
where the cabinet has almost a monopoly of private 
legislation; but though the constitution simply ™g^^" 
says ^ that the initiative belongs equally to the bius 
executive and th^ deputies, procedure does con- 
cede superior facilities to the government. "It 
has always been recognized," says Pierre, "that, 
under the parliamentary system, the government 
is a delegate of the assembly charged by it not 
only with the execution of existing laws, but 
with the preparation of new laws and the sug- 
gestion of reforms. To accord the same confi- 
dence, the same method of procedure to bills 
elaborated in this way and to bills which mem- 
bers may introduce individually would leave the 
way open to an excessive number of useless and 
sometimes dangerous proposals." ^ A govern- 
ment bill (projet), which may be introduced at 
any time, takes the form of a decree signed by 
the President of the Republic and countersigned 
by a minister. There can be no debate when it 
is introduced, no question raised as to its consti- 
tutionality. As a matter of routine it is printed 
and referred to the appropriate committee, for 
the Chamber feels itself bound to consider all 

* On the general subject of legislative procedure see Esmein, 
Pigments, pages 972-1053; Duguit, Traitey Vol. II, pages 328- 
364; Pierre, Sees. 58-81, 683-710, and 787-1058. 

* Constitutional law of February 25, Art. 3. 

* Traite, Sec. 691. 



proposals of the cabinet. Not so in the case of 
private members. Over and over again, either 
by the president or by the Chamber when con- 
sulted by him, bills of private members have 
been refused consideration as conflicting with the 
rules, the laws, or the constitution.^ Before the 
permanent committees were set up these bills 
had to meet a further obstacle. They were sent 
to a monthly committee called the committee on 
initiative which, considering their broader as- 
pects, sifted the good from the bad and recom- 
mended to the Chamber that consideration should 
be accorded or withheld. This winnowing process 
has now been entrusted to the standing com- 
mittees. Quite aside from the rules the leader- 
ship of the cabinet is so well respected that nearly 
all important bills originate with it; that when 
the Chamber desires legislation on a particular 
subject its usual course is not to proceed inde- 
pendently, but to invite the government to bring 
forward a bill; and that the committees com- 
monly acquiesce whenever a minister suggests 
modifications in a private member's bill. Unless 
specially instructed by the Chamber, committees 
have a free hand in dealing with the bills referred 
to them. They may even substitute new bills. 
Commit- Every committee appoints a reporter whose 
business it is to explain and defend the com- 
mittee's action. 2 He presents a printed report. 

* Pierre, Traitf, Sees. 63-64; also supplement, Sees. 63-64. 

* The budget has a reporter for each division of the budget; 


tee re- 


This contains not only the text of the measure as 
recast by the committee and arguments to sup- 
port it, but also (though not always) the text of 
the measure as introduced, the explanatory docu- 
ments, and the dissenting views of the minority. 
While the bill is before the Chamber the com- 
mittee occupies a bench immediately facing the 
tribune and adjoining the bench occupied by the 
ministers. Three days after the distribution of 
the report debate may begin. ^ Under the re- 
vised rules of the Chamber there is only one 
reading of the bill {deliberation)} This involve^ 
first a debate on the general features of the 
measure. When this debate closes, the president 
consults the Chamber as to whether it wishes to 
pass to a consideration of the details. If the vote 
is affirmative, he reads each article in turn so 
that amendments may be offered clause by clause 
as in committee of the whole in British and 

and a reporter-general who centralizes control and speaks for 
the whole committee when important decisions are taken in 
the Chamber. 

* Under exceptional circumstances the Chamber may reduce 
the period to one day. In case of budget reports the normal 
period is eight days. (Rule 33 of 1915.) 

* The Chamber may decide upon a second reading, but in 
that case the bill goes back to the committee which prepares 
another report substantially as if it were dealing with a new 
bill. (Rule 82.) The rules formerly prescribed two readings 
with five days intervening except in the cases of financial and 
local bills. But the second reading did not include general 
debate on the principles of the bill, Duguit, Traite, Vol. II, 
page 353. 


tion of 


American procedure;* and finally the whole bill, in 
its amended form, comes before the Chamber for 
passage or rejection. A negative vote on "passing 
to the articles" means that the bill is rejected and 
that it cannot be reintroduced during the next 
three months unless it is a government bill.^ 
Limita- Deputies who wish to take part in the debate 

apply to the secretaries beforehand and are ''in- 
scribed" in the order of their application.^ But 
this requirement does not affect the ministers 
or the officials (president and reporter) of the 
committee concerned; they may speak at any 
time.* The president of the Chamber, having 
the list before him, adheres to the order of in- 
scription except that he recognizes alternately, 
so far as possible, supporters and opponents of 
the bill. Though permitted to speak from their 
places,^ deputies seldom do so unless suffering 
from ill health. They mount the tribune in 
order to face their audience; and, under the cir- 
cumstances, with the members' seats rising above 
one another tier on tier and surmounted by 
crowded galleries, there is a strong temptation 
to indulge in oratory and play upon emotions. 
Questions cannot forever be pending in an as- 
sembly; they must be not only discussed but 
decided. If the minority enjoyed unrestricted 
freedom of speech, that right would be used to 
prolong debates and embarrass the government 

1 Rule 84 of 1915. 2 Rule 92. 

' Rule 42. * Rule 43. ^ Rule 41. 



in its effort to carry through its legislative pro- 
gram. A century ago the volume of legislation 
V7as relatively small and its character for the 
most part simple; but today, with the social 
and economic metamorphosis which has come in 
the wake of the industrial revolution, the Cham- 
ber has to deal with an enormous mass of tech- 
nical and complicated problems; new laws must 
recognize and regulate conditions that have 
outgrown the existing body of law. There is a 
heavy tale of work to be done; and willful ob- 
struction on the part of the minority cannot be 
tolerated. The Chamber, therefore, like other 
modern assemblies, has protected itself against 
such dilatory tactics. Whenever there has been 
debate — that is, whenever two deputies of op- 
posing views have spoken, a motion to terminate 
the discussion will be entertained; and, in case of 
opposition to tHe closure, only one deputy will 
be recognized to speak against it.^ The vote is 
first taken by a showing of hands, then, if the 
president is doubtful, by "seated and standing." 
If the result is inconclusive, the debate continues. 

Whenever a vote is taken in the Chamber, the The 
presence of a quorum is required for its validity .^ quorum 
This quorum is an absolute majority of the full 

1 Rule 48. The closure cannot be applied while a minister or 
government commissioner desires to speak; and after he speaks 
one private member must be heard in reply. It might be noted 
that the closure is by no means a recent device in France. 

2 Rule 80; Pierre, Traitey Sec. 978 et seq. For debate no 
quorum is required. 



membership as determined by the electoral law, 
vacancies not being deducted (in other words 314 
of the 626 members); and a deputy physically 
present is counted present for the purposes of 
the quorum, although he cannot be compelled 
to vote.^ The difficulty of maintaining so large 
an attendance may be gathered from a provision 
of the rules that, if a vote fails because of no 
quorum, the same question can be brought for- 
ward at the next sitting and decided irrespective 
of the number present; sometimes, to conform 
with this provision, the Chamber adjourns for 
fifteen minutes and then begins a new sitting.^ 
According to the rules no deputies may be absent 
without the express permission of the Chamber; ^ 
but they so often ignore this formality that in 
1909 a rule was adopted which required them to 
sign their names on entering the Chamber and 
held those who failed to appear through six con- 

* In fact deputies cannot be compelled to vote even in 
cases of collective abstention provided that the abstentions 
are "spontaneous" (that is not concerted). Pierre, Traitg, 
Sees. 1024-1026. Duguit, sometimes inclined to confuse what 
is with what ought to be, takes a different view. Traite, 
Vol. II, page 360. 

* Duguit, TraitCy Vol. II, page 360. 

' Their requests for leave of absence go first to the bureau 
of the Chamber (secretaries, etc.) and from it, with recommen- 
dations, to the Chamber itself. Rules 128-129. The English 
and American practice of "pairing" (by which two men of 
opposite parties, agreeing not to vote on certain questions, 
may absent themselves without disadvantage to their parties) 
is not permitted. Pierre, Traits, Sec. 1023. 



secutive sessions liable to a loss of salary.^ This 
remedy, after a trial of two years, was abandoned. 

There are four methods of voting in the Cham- Methods 
ber — raised hands, ** seated and standing," pub- ° ^° ^ 
lie ballot (secret ballot having been abolished in 
1885), and public ballot at the tribune.^ If, on 
a show of hands, the secretaries do not agree as 
to the result, the president calls successively on 
the ayes and noes to stand. If the secretaries 
are again in disagreement, recourse is had to 
public ballot; and this method of voting must 
be used at the very outset when money bills are 
under discussion or when twenty members de- 
mand it in writing. Procedure in the public 
ballot is primitive and imperfect, opening the 
way to serious abuses and consuming a great deal 
of time. Each member has, in a compartment of 
his miniature desk, a number of ballots, some 
white and some blue, with his name printed upon 
them; the white ballots indicate an affirmative 
vote, the blue a negative vote. He places one of 
these in the urn or ballot box as it passes his 
seat. When the voting is finished, the secre- 
taries count the white and blue ballots without, 
however, ascertaining who cast them.^ Now al- 
though "the principle of the personal vote," as 

* Pierre, supplement, Sec. 492. 

* Rules 68-77. But the bureau of the Chamber is still 
chosen by secret ballot (Rule 78). 

' In view of the time which this operation takes, the bureau 
of the Chamber proposed in 1884 that the ballots should be 



a committee of the Chamber maintained in 
1909,^ "is strongly affirmed by the letter and 
spirit of the rules'* and "the vote of absent 
members has never been recognized by any text 
whatever," proxy voting has prevailed for half a 
century. A deputy who is detained by political 
or social duties asks some friendly member to 
cast a ballot for him or, by way of being on the 
safe side, he asks several of his friends to do so. 
Half a dozen of his ballots may be thrown into 
the urn. Ballots are sometimes cast for absent 
members without their permission, and even for 
members who are present. One deputy com- 
plained that on certain occasions his vote had 
been lost because of another ballot's being cast 
for him in the opposite sense. President Brisson 
could do no more than "recommend to the 
deputies that they show less zeal in voting for 
each other and that, above all, when they do 
vote for each other, they take pains to discover 
beforehand the opinion of those whose mandate 
they assume without having received it." 
The For the past twenty years there has been an 

o"votjM agitation to suppress proxy voting; but the 
by proxy Chamber clings to it tenaciously. Deputies must 
frequently be absent; they serve on the standing 
committees, attend political conferences, and 

weighed instead of being counted. In 1890 a committee 
recommended voting by means of an electrical device. Pierre, 
Traite, Sec. 1042. 

^ Pierre, supplement, Sec. 1020. 


once a week, perhaps, return to their constituencies 
to keep in touch with the local party organiza- 
tion. Should the electors, it is asked, be deprived 
of a voice in the Chamber through the temporary 
absence of the deputy? If so, there would be 
unfair discrimination in favor of Paris and the 
near-by departments where deputies can keep in 
touch with their local committees without neg- 
lecting the work of the Chamber. Moreover, if 
proxy voting were abolished, an active and dis- 
ciplined minority might gain control of the 
Chamber at times and carry measures quite 
opposed to the views of the real majority. Such 
arguments not only find little support in the 
experience of other legislative bodies, but they 
overlook the fact that under the existing rules 
this minority may at any time insist upon a per- 
sonal vote at the tribune. Nevertheless they 
have prevailed. All that the Chamber has done, 
while adhering to this system, is to protect itself 
against plural voting. When, after the ballots 
have been counted, the secretaries find that the 
majority Is not more than thirty or, if the gov- 
ernment has asked for a vote of confidence, sixty, 
they examine the ballots and accept only one for 
each deputy. This is called pointage} Without 

^ Rule 75. Pierre, supplement, Sec. 144. Where both a 
white and a blue ballot appear in the name of a deputy both 
are rejected. Pointage may be demanded by twenty 
deputies before the result cf the vote has been announced; 
the secretaries may under any circumstances resort to it. 



pointage the public ballot is farcical; with it, too 
dilatory. As an alternative, fifty members whose 
presence must be established by roll-call may 
demand public ballot at the tribune.^ This 
eliminates proxy voting. Each deputy, when his 
name is called, advances to the tribune and hands 
his ballot to a secretary. A mechanical appara- 
tus registers the number of votes as the ballots 
are deposited in the urn. 

Financial Legislation 

impor- The most important legislative activity of 

^^ce o Parliament is in the field of finance.- The power 
budget of the purse, the control over the granting of 
supply to the executive branch of the govern- 
ment, must be regarded as a fundamental attri- 
bute of modern assemblies. It was mainly 
through the power of the purse that the English 
Parliament, after a protracted conflict, gained its 
ascendency over the executive; and wherever 
parliamentary institutions have been set up, the 
doctrine has been accepted that taxes can be 
levied and appropriations made only by virtue 
of law. That has been the doctrine in France 
ever since the adoption of the first written con- 
stitution in 1791.^ Parliament, by refusing sup- 

» Rule 76. 

* On the general subject of the budget see: Rene Stourm, 
Lg Budget (1909); Gaston Jeze, Le Budget (1910); Pierre, 
Tratte, Sees. 511-545; Esmein, Elements, pages 990-1017; 
Duguit, Traite, Vol. II, pages 380-396. 

3 Duguit, Traitej Vol. II, page 380; Pierre, Sec. 512. 


plies, can always drive an executive out of office; 
in that way it drove out Rocheboiiet in 1877.^ 
And although such a violent specific will be used 
only in extremities, the discussion and passage 
of the budget each year give the deputies an 
opportunity to bring the administration under a 
searching and detailed criticism. By means of 
the annual budget Parliament exercises a very 
real control over the cabinet. 

The budget ^ deals with two aspects of finance its prep- 
— the raising and the spending of money, revenue "^ ^^ 
and supply. It takes final form in the finance 
act which, though the fiscal year begins on Janu- 
ary I, is hardly ever passed before the spring or 
summer of the year of its operation.^ With the 
passage of the act the minister of finance begins 
at once to prepare the budget for the next fiscal 
year. He requests his colleagues to make known 
their needs, advising them that, unless the cir- 
cumstances are exceptional, they should not ask 
for larger credits than Parliament has just au- 
thorized; and if, upon estimating the revenue for 
the next year, he finds that an equilibrium be- 
tween income and outgo will be difficult to estab- 
blish, he suggests possible reductions. He cannot 

* Leon Bourgeois resigned in 1896 when the Senate refused 
credits for the Madagascar campaign. 

' This word Is derived from boudgette (little purse) and 
came into English usage in the time of Louis XIV; the French, 
reestablishing parliamentary assemblies, took back the word 
in its English form. ' 1913, July 30; 1914, July 15. 




himself enforce such suggestions; whenever a 
controversy arises, the decision rests with the 
cabinet alone; but the influence that he exerts 
in negotiations with the other ministers is very 
Its con- After disagreements have been adjusted, the 
minister of finance presents the budget to the 
Chamber of Deputies. He explains the estimates 
and describes, in view of the financial condition 
of the country, how the necessary revenues are 
to be raised. The estimates are divided into, 
chapters,^ each referring to closely-related ser- 
vices and each requiring a separate vote. Under 
a law of 1 871 the executive cannot alter the desti- 
nation of authorized credits by transferring them 
from chapter to chapter; they must be employed 
only for the purposes contemplated in the finance 
act. With the steady increase in the number of 
chapters, in the practice of appropriating sup- 
plies to specific objects. Parliament has been 
given a more efl^ective control over expenditure.* 
The budget proposals deal in the second place 
with the raising of revenue. It has not been 
found convenient to embod}?^ all of these pro- 
posals in the finance bill. Direct taxes are 
authorized each year in a special measure which 
Parliament passes before adjourning in July; the 

' For further details as to the form in which the estimates 
are presented see Duguit, Traite, Vol. II, pages 388-391. 

2 Between 1872 and 1892 the number of chapters rose from 
338 to 829. 



finance act does not emerge from Parliament for 
another six or eight months. This practice has 
been adopted because the general councils of the 
departments, meeting in the middle of August, 
cannot act upon the local budgets unless Parlia- 
ment has already determined how many centimes 
may be added for local purposes to the national 
tax rates. Besides fixing the aggregate revenues 
applicable to the general budget, the finance act 
determines what indirect taxes shall be levied; 
all existing taxes lapse unless explicit provision is 
made for their maintenance. 

The proposals of the minister of finance go Acuon 
before the budget committee, the most powerful bu(Set 
of the twenty-one standing committees. Not commit- 
only the annual budget, but all money bills are *®® 
referred to it. There are, of course, many bills 
which, without being classified as money bills, 
would have the effect of imposing charges upon 
the finances of the State; and the budget com- 
mittee, while not having jurisdiction over these, 
must be invited to express an opinion on their 
financial provisions, an opinion which, with sup- 
porting explanations, is attached to the report of 
the committee in charge.^ In dealing with the 
budget, the committee labors indefatigably for 
several months. It explores the minutest de- 
tails; it seeks to expose administrative abuses 
everywhere. To accomplish the task subcom- 
mittees are set up as soon as general considera- 

* Rule 32 of 1915. 



tions have been disposed of, and to each is 
assigned a single branch of the government 
service. There was, even as late as the close of 
the last century, sharp criticism of the budget 
committee on the very ground that it carried its 
activities too far, being inclined to substitute its 
own conclusions for those of the government. 
"The committee pays hardly any attention to 
the budget prepared by the ministers," wrote 
Leon Say in 1896, "and considers itself charged 
with preparing the budget as if it were the minis- 
ter. . . . The committee regards itself as a gov- 
ernment, and the reporters are its ministers." ^ 
Such language would not apply to the practice 
that has prevailed in the last fifteen or twenty 
years, and especially since the adoption of pro- 
portional representation in the choice of com- 
mittees. Only with great moderation and with 
the approval of the government does the com- 
mittee now use its right of initiative.^ Paul 
Doumer, when president of the committee in 
1903, said: "The committee has a method which 
it follows rigorously; it does not accept proposed 
increases of credits made by our colleagues, 
whether or not they are members of the com- 
mittee, without being assured previously that 
the government will make them its own." ' In 

* Les Financesy page 24. Leon Say could speak with au- 
thority, having been minister of finance. 

* Jeze, Le Budget, page 226. 

' Quoted by Jeze, op. cit.y page 226. 

on the 


1905 the committee declared that, while the esti- 
mates for the war department were quite inade- 
quate, it would not be proper to ask the Chamber 
to increase them unless the government agreed to 
ask for the additional revenues needed.^ Col- 
laboration with the government, as the president 
of the committee told the Chamber in 1907,^ 
must be "absolutely loyal and complete." The 
disappearance of the old spirit of rivalry is seen 
in the persistent refusal of the committee to 
make special reports on private member bills 
which call for supplementary appropriations; ^ 
initiative is left to the government. 

Eight days after the committee report has Debate 
been distributed debate may begin in the Cham- 
ber.^ The first stage is general debate in which 
questions of a broad nature are raised, such as 
the possibility of realizing economies and re- 
forms; then, after the vote on "passage to the 
articles," ^ comes a close scrutiny of individual 
items, with criticism and amendment. This pro- 
cedure is not always followed.^ The Chamber, 
wishing to avoid unnecessary delay, may decide 
to postpone general debate and occupy itself at 

* Pierre, supplement, Sec. 771. 
^ Pierre, supplement, Sec. 849. 
' Pierre, supplement. Sec. 774. 

* Or, if the Chamber votes urgency, twenty-four hours 

^ Each chapter of the budget is divided into articles which 
are examined separately, but voted en bloc. 

* Pierre, Traite, Sec. 845. 



ments of- 
fered by 

once with the departmental budgets which are 
reported separately before the report on the bud- 
get as a whole has been presented. The govern- 
ment and the committee arrange, subject to the 
approval of the Chamber, the order in which the 
budgets of the various ministries shall be consid- 
ered.^ Throughout the discussions the minister 
of finance is the most prominent figure, speaking 
with the authority of the cabinet behind him 
and usually with the sympathetic accord of the 
committee. His colleagues will accept no amend- 
ments that reduce or expand credits without 
obtaining his consent.^ Louis Barthou, when 
minister of justice in 1909, said in the Chamber: 
"You know very well that the initiative (in pro- 
posing a new credit) cannot come from me alone, 
I must have the support of the minister of 
finance." ^ Two years later the premier himself, 
Joseph Caillaux, declared that he must have the 
approval of the minister of finance before con- 
senting to a reduction of credits. 

There is no rule in France, as there is in Eng- 
land, which reserves absolutely to the govern- 
ment the right of initiating money bills and of 
proposing, by way of amendment to such bills, 
increases in the original figures. French authori- 
ties on finance regard this situation as very un- 
fortunate. It involves, says Rene Stourm,^ two 


* Pierre, supplement, Sec. 847. 
' Id.y supplement, Sec. 849. 

* Le Budgeti page 56. 


grave abuses: it tempts deputies to play upon 
the interests and passions of the Chamber; it 
destroys the equihbrium of the budget. The 
terms "logrolling" and "pork barrel" may not 
be used in France, but the things they represent 
are familiar enough. The activity of private 
members is most pernicious on the eve of general 
elections when large sums may be added to the 
budget for obvious purposes.^ In late years, 
however, there has been much improvement; 
usage tends to support the view which Leon Say 
expressed in 1877 that "supply bills should be 
reserved as far as possible to government initia- 
tive." ^ Indeed the rules themselves have not 
been unaffected by the growing impatience of the 
taxpayers.^ In 1900 the Chamber adopted the 
famous Berthelot resolution which, notwithstand- 
ing many efforts to repeal it, still stands as 
Article 102 of the rules. Under its terms no 
private member may offer an amendment to the 
budget which would create new offices or pen- 
sions or increase existing pensions or salaries. 
At first deputies sought to circumvent the rule 
by presenting resolutions that invited the gov- 

* Jeze, page 221. Gambetta wished, by constitutional 
amendment, to deprive private members of the right of 
initiating money bills. He found the cabinet unwilling to 
support him. 

* Pierre, Sec. 66. 

' Abolition of the parliamentary (i.e. private members') 
initiative became the chief demand of the Taxpayers' League. 
Stourm, Le Budget, page 57. 



ernment to offer specific amendments. As such 
resolutions are now prohibited/ the deputy who 
wishes to reward or bribe his constituents at 
pubHc expense must rely solely upon his influ- 
ence with the government. 
"Riders" Another important reform was effected in 1913. 
kmger French authorities agree that the granting of 
per- supply is not a legislative act in the strict sense 

"*^***** and that it should not, directly or indirectly, 
bring about changes in existing law.^ An insti- 
tution established by law, they maintain, cannot 
constitutionally be suppressed by the refusal of 
the appropriations needed to maintain it; for the 
law, not having been repealed, must continue to 
be applied by the government. After some hesi- 
tation the chambers have accepted this principle. 
It is true that, by refusing supplies, they sup- 
pressed the Catholic faculties of theology in 1886, 
and the inspectors-general of superior education 
in 1888. But more recently, in 1903 and 1906, 
when the deputies took this indirect means of 
abolishing the office of subprefect (established by 
a law of the year VIII), they found themselves 
opposed both by the government and by the 
Senate and finally gave way.^ It still would 
have been possible to achieve the desired object 
by attaching a rider to the finance act. Not only 

* Rule 102. 

' See, for instance, Duguit, Vol. II, page 390 rt seq.y and 
Esmein, Elements, page 990 et seq. 

• Esmein, page 998. 



private members but the ministers themselves 
have often been guilty of using that act as a 
vehicle for ordinary legislation; ^ a good example 
may be found in the provisions of 1907 which 
regulate the appointment of judges. The prac- 
tice is unsound; once admitted, it tends to de- 
velop into a serious abuse; measures, which, if 
presented separately and considered on their own 
merits, would have little hope of success, may 
slip through almost unnoticed. The budget must 
be passed; it carries the riders with it. To cor- 
rect this growing evil the finance act of 1913 
provided: 2 "There can be introduced into the 
finance act only dispositions relating directly to 
revenue or supply, to the exclusion of all other 

The budget debates usually begin, not at the Delay in 
regular session, but at the special session which ^l^^^ 
covers the last two or three months of the year, budget 
Under the most favorable circumstances it would 
be difficult to carry the budget through the two 
Chambers successively before the opening of the 
fiscal year on January i. As a matter of fact 
proceedings in the Chamber of Deputies are un- 
necessarily protracted.^ Skillful politicians, taking 
advantage of technicalities in procedure, wander 
far afield from the financial questions that 
are supposed to be under discussion. In IQ06 it 

^ Pierre, Traite and supplement, Sec. 851. 

* Article 105. 

* Pierre, Traits and supplement, Sec. 845. 



was pointed out that, while forty-seven days had 
been assigned to debate on the budget, only four- 
teen days had really been devoted to that pur- 
pose.^ One of the chief causes of delay was 
eliminated in 191 1 by the adoption of a rule that 
prohibits the interpellation of ministers on 
matters arising in the course of budget debates.'* 
Even so the finance acts applying to 1913 and 
1914 were not promulgated until July. The gov- 
ernment must be tided over by votes on account. 
These votes, because they apply to one month or 
several months, are known as "provisional 
twelfths.'* At the request of the minister of 
finance Parliament places at the disposal of the 
government an aggregate sum which is distrib- 
uted among the several departments by decree; 
whatever a department spends in this way is set 
off against the supply afterwards granted in the 
finance act. Paul Doumer, president of the bud- 
get committee, when reporting the provisional 
twelfths for 1910, said: "Save in exceptional 
cases, in the midst of great events which Parlia- 
ment must consider to the exclusion of every- 
thing else, the vote of the provisional twelfths 
has no justification. It is an irregularity in our 
organization and financial legislation; and ir- 
regularity and disorder are always costly." ^ No 
one disputes this statement. The evil, recurring 

^ Pierre, Traite and supplement, Sec. 845. 

* Rule 112 of 1915. 

• Pierre, supplement, Sec. 537. 

I 232 ] 



constantly, has given rise to proposals for a bien- 
nial budget.^ But there seems to be a general 
opinion that the yearly voting of revenue and 
supply is necessary to safeguard the position of 
Parliament. "The Parliament which should vote 
a tax for more than one year, or the budget or 
supply or a part of it for more than one year 
would be doing an unconstitutional act," says 
Professor Duguit.^ He bases that view upon a 
provision of the Constitution of 1791. 

Parliamentary control over the national Audit of 
finances does not end with the voting of supply. 
After the close of each fiscal year the accounts of 
the executive departments are scrutinized.^ The 
preliminary examination is made by the court of 
accounts, a court established in 1807 and con- 
sisting of one hundred and forty members of 
different grades. This court has jurisdiction over 
all oflScials who touch the public funds and makes 
report of malversation or other irregularities so 
that criminal prosecutions may be instituted. 
Naturally, therefore, it reviews the accounts of 
the various ministries, making report to the 
President of the Republic annually after May i. 
Upon the rendering of the report a committee is 

1 Pierre, supplement, Sec. 512; Esmein, page 993; Duguit, 
Vol. II, page 390. 

^ Traitgy Vol. II, page 380. But see Esmein, page 994. 

^ Pierre, Trait^, Sec. 539; Duguit, Vol. II, pages 395-396; 
Esmein, page 997; Poincare, Iloza France is Governed, pages 
275-276 and 320. 



appointed by decree, its personnel drawn from 
the chambers, the Council of State, and the court 
of accounts. This committee makes an elabo- 
rate report to Parliament which finally passes a 
resolution (called the "law of accounts") as to 
the final auditing and closing of the previous 
year's transactions. The passage of this resolu- 
tion, though apparently so important an affair, 
has become a mere formality. 

Control of the Cabinet 

In this chapter and elsewhere (especially in 
Chapter III) something has been said of the 
position which the ministers occupy over against 
Parliament. That position shows elements of 
strength and elements of weakness; and no 
doubt the chief source of weakness is the absence 
of ajiy coherent and fairly enduring majority in 
the Chamber of Deputies. At this point it will 
be serviceable to consider some of the means which 
Parliament employs to keep the cabinet under 
Financial Perhaps the most effective means of control 
lies in the power of the purse — in the voting of 
the budget and in the examination of accounts. 
Opportunity is given for a detailed review of 
administrative conduct, for searching and insist- 
ent criticism, and for the punishment of executive 
derelictions in a very practical way. And out- 

^ Impeachment, as an ultimate resort, has already been 
touched upon. 




side of money bills the business of legislation 
leaves the chambers free to harass cabinets or 
drive them from office by mutilating or rejecting 
first-class government measures. Legislative pro- 
cedure permits the imposition of checks upon the 
executive in various other directions. Parlia- 
ment may, for instance, require the government 
to communicate information (documents, statis- 
tics, etc.). Thus, under a statute of 1910, there 
must be published every five years a statement 
showing the remuneration of public employees 
and increases made in the five-year period; under 
another statute (1906) two members designated 
by each house shall be permitted to investigate 
conditions in the war and marine departments. 
Again, the Chamber or Senate may authorize 
committees to make inquiries into executive acts.^ 
Before 1914 such committees had no power to 
compel the attendance of witnesses; but a law 
of that year fixes a penalty for failure to appear 
or refusal to take the oath. 

France has borrowed from England what is other 
known as the "question.'* 2 j^ the House of ^^^^'f 
Commons something like five thousand questions the 
are addressed to the ministers each year. "They 
must," says President Lowell in his Government of 
England, "contain no argument, no statement of 
fact not needed to make their purport clear, and 
they must be addressed to that minister in the 

^ Pierre, Traits and supplement, Sees. 584-596. 

* Pierre, Sec. 650 et seq.; Rules of 1915, Nos. 1 18-120. 


" ques- 


House in whose province the subject-matter of 
the inquiry falls." The question, of which notice 
must be given a couple of days in advance, is 
printed on the question paper, and after the 
minister has replied to it, there can be no debate 
and no vote. The French adaptation differs 
very little from its prototype. The question 
may be asked orally if the minister has accepted 
it beforehand; or (since 1909) it may be put in 
writing and answered by the minister within eight 
days in the Journal Officiel, though the rules allow 
him, in the public interest, to refuse a reply, or to 
delay it because of difficulty in getting sound 
information. The chief point of difference lies in 
the fact that the deputy who has proposed the 
question has the right to reply in a summary 
fashion to the remarks of the minister. The 
question has not appealed very strongly to the 
chambers as an instrument of control. They 
prefer the interpellation. 
The In- The interpellation is itself a question, but a 

question that precipitates a discussion and a 
vote.^ The deputy hands his interpellation to 
the president of the Chamber who, after reading 
it to the Chamber, communicates it to the 

* Pierre, Traite and supplement, Sees. 656 ft seq.; Duguit, 
Vol. II, pages 368 et seq.; Esmein, pages 1018 et seq.; Rules 
of 1915, Nos. 111-117. It appeared first in the Constitution 
of~i79i, but was not recognized in later constitutions until 
1830, Abolished in 1852, it was renewed in 1869 when Napo- 
leon III liberalized the government. It has continued in use 




minister whose department is concerned or, if 
the subject be one of general policy, to the prime 
minister.^ The Chamber then fixes a day for 
debate. This day must fall within the period 
of the next month unless the question has to do 
with foreign affairs (when the cabinet may ask 
for indefinite postponement) ^ and, as a matter of 
fact, is normally chosen by agreement between 
the minister and the deputy proposing the inter- 
pellation. The latter opens the debate, develop- 
ing his attack and demanding explanations; the 
minister replies; and although the closure may 
cut short debate after one deputy has spoken, 
usually there is a good deal of oratory and a de- 
termined effort seriously to embarrass the cabinet 
or even to force it out of office. Debate finished, 
there must be a motion to return to the order of 
the day which the interpellation has interrupted. 
This motion or order of the day, as it is styled in 
parliamentary language, may be "pure and sim- 
ple" (for instance: "The Chamber, having heard 
the explanation of the minister, returns to the 
order of the day,*') or it may be "motive'' (quali- 
fied), that is, it may embrace a qualifying clause 
which expresses approval or disapproval of the ex- 

since that time, recognized in legislation and in pariiamentary 
practice. Both Duguit and Pierre regard it as a logical conse- 
quence of ministerial responsibility — and this in spite of the 
fact that it does not exist in Great Britain or in the British 

1 Under the rules (No. in) an interpellation may be ad- 
dressed only to the ministers. * Rule No. 112. 



planatlons. The "pure and simple" order of the 
day must always be put to vote first.^ If it is 
defeated the Chamber may then have to make a 
choice between numerous ordres du jour motives 
which show towards the government different 
degrees of friendship and hostility.^ If the 
debate has gone badly for the government, its 
friends seek to extricate it from embarrassment 
by^ using adroit phraseology that will enable 
deputies to support it without sacrifice of con- 
science; and the opposition shows the same dex- 
terity in framing orders of the day that will 
solidify all the separate and incongruous factions 
of dissent. The question of priority among the 
orders of the day is decided by the Chamber 
itself which then votes to accept or reject them. 
Sometimes, when the situation is highly complex, 
the various motions are referred to a committee 
— either one of the standing committees or a 
special committee elected by the bureaux. The 
choice which the Chamber makes, either directly 
or upon report of a committee, will indicate the 
final decision. If the decision is hostile, the cabi- 
net may retire; it will feel bound to retire when- 
ever the question at issue is really important. 
Writing in 1896, President Lowell observed ^ 

^ Rule No. 114. 

* For an excellent illustration see Lowell, Governments 
and Parties in Continental Europe^ Vol. I, page 121, note i. 

• Governments and Parties in Continental Eur ope y Vol. I, 
page 122. 













that of twenty-one cabinets which had fallen in 
consequence of a vote of the Chamber ten had 
retired before hostile orders of the day or in the 
course of debate. Even when the cabinet holds 
its ground in face of an adverse vote on some 
question of detail and minor importance its 
prestige and its capacity for leadership are cer- 
tain to be affected. 

Foreign observers have not looked kindly upon Criticism 
the interpellation. "Except in a despotism," ^^^^l 
says Lowell,^ "the interpellation followed by a peiiation 
motion expressing the judgment of the Chamber 
is a purely vicious institution." His point of 
view is cogently set forth :^ "A government 
would be superhuman that never made mistakes, 
and yet here is a method by which any of its 
acts can be brought before the Chambers, and a 
vote forced upon the question 4^hether it made a 
mistake or not. Moreover, members of the op- 
position are given a chance to employ their 
ingenuity in framing orders of the day so as to 
catch the votes of those deputies who are in sym- 
pathy with the cabinet, but cannot approve the 
act in question. Now if adverse votes in the 
Chamber are to be followed by the resignation 
of the cabinet and the formation of a new one, 
it is evident that, to secure the proper stability 
and permanence in the ministry, such votes ought 
to be taken only on measures of great importance, 

* Op. cit.f page 123. 

' Op. cit.y pages 120-121. 



or on questions that involve the whole policy 
and conduct of the administration." Similar 
criticism has come occasionally from French 
publicists. De Lanessan complains that the inter- 
pellation is employed, not to control executive 
conduct or to rectify it, but to get possession of 
office.^ Ostensibly a cabinet is overthrown on 
some matter of policy, he says, but the Chamber 
will afterwards support with equanimity a cabi- 
net which does nothing to reverse the policy of 
its predecessor. He regards interpellations merely 
as "circus tricks." Principles are of no moment. 
Crowds go to the Palais Bourbon making bets as 
at race tracks and subordinate the interests of 
France to the excitement of the immediate con- 
test of maneuver and intrigue. De Lanessan 
goes so far as to suggest that all ministers should 
be chosen outside of Parliament so that their 
tenure would not depend upon the evanescent 
emotions which an eloquent speech may arouse.^ 
Such criticisms cannot lightly be dismissed. 
Undoubtedly the interpellation gives opportuni- 
ties to the opposition: opportunities to con- 
coct crises that do not really exist; to provoke 
debates that divert attention from the real 
business of government; to substitute for sane 
control of the cabinet a vexatious and perpetual 
nagging; and to maintain parliamentary life in 
an unwholesome and feverish activity. Worst of 

1 La Crtse de la Repuhlique (1914), page 285. 
* Op. cit.y page 286. 
C 240 ] 


all, perhaps, the time of the Chamber is spent in 
oratory when it should be spent in legislation. 
The president of the Chamber (Brisson) remarked 
in October, 1904, that in the past two years two 
hundred and sixty-two interpellations had been 
offered and one hundred and twenty-two de- 
bated.^ In 1906, as has already been noted, only 
fourteen of the forty-seven days assigned to the 
budget were really devoted to it. Complaints 
have not been altogether without effect. Under 
a resolution of 1900, readopted after the elections 
of 1902 and 1906, but now abandoned, interpella- 
tions were limited to one day a week (Friday). 
This limitation was carried further in practice. 
While Combes was premier (1902-1905) and bent 
upon carrying his anti-clerical program, he found 
ways of stopping objectionable interpellations. 
The Republican bloc which supported him often 
made use of technicalities to check opposition 
schemes. They assigned to successive Fridays 
so many innocuous interpellations that those 
which might have injured the cabinet (and were 
therefore put in a subordinate place) as a rule 
never came to debate or vote. The success of 
such tactics when something like a stable ma- 
jority existed in the Chamber seems to show 
that if the interpellation now contributes to the 
weakness of the cabinets, it does so because the 
cabinets, lacking assured support, are inherently 
weak; they succumb to germs that a vigorous 

^ ' Pierre, supplement, Sec. 659. 

[241 ] 


constitution would easily resist. "As a govern- 
ment has rarely a majority on which it can rely 
CBodley's observation, though made a quarter of 
a century ago, reflects the conditions of ^today^] 
the House is not often in a disposition to deny 
itself its favorite diversion of seeing a minister 
Inter- French authorities, however, generally regard 

restrkt^ the interpellation as a desirable counterpoise to 
cd, 1911 the despotic tendencies of a highly centralized 
administration. Duguit ^ calls it "the chambers* 
chief means of action and the best weapon of 
minorities." Holding a like opinion, the Cham- 
ber of Deputies has dropped the Friday rule of 
1900. But in view of the notorious delays in 
voting the annual finance act it has adopted one 
very important limitation. Under rule No. 112 ' 
no interpellation may take place in the course of 
the budget debates. 

* France^ book 3, page 234, in 1900 ed. 
' Vol. II, page 370. 
» Adopted in 191 1. 





RANGE is, like Great Britain or Italy, a i^cai 


unitary state. All the powers of govern- 
ment reside in the executive and legislative organs in France 
at Paris; there are no competing authorities, no 
territorial divisions that Parliament cannot 
modify or obliterate at will. The form, the ex- 
tent, the very existence of local autonomy depend 
upon statutory law. This offers a marked con- 
trast to the federal system of the United States 
in which the constitution, itself subject to change 
only by an elaborate special process, entrusts cer- 
tain specified powers to the national government ^ 
and leaves the residuary powers (covering a much 
wider field) to the states. Federalism of some 
kind accords well with a stage of evolution in 
which full national consciousness has not been 
reached. The unitary France of today has 
evolved from feudal principalities which had 
separate laws, separate armies, separate diplo- 
matic relations, and which were held loosely 
together by the recognition of a common suzerain, 
the Capetian king. By gradual degrees and under 
the play of economic forces local patriotism gave 
way and became reconciled with the idea of 
French unity. France is now a highly central- 




ized state in which the powers of local officers 
(such as the mayors of communes) are defined by 
national law and in which their conduct is 
brought under detailed supervision. 
Local Of the local areas into which France has been 

divided — departments, arrondissements, can- 
tons, and communes — only the first and the 
last deserve particular attention. The two others, 
which have no corporate personality and hold no 
property, exist mainly as electoral and judicial 
districts; in each canton (including on the aver- 
age twelve communes) ^ the justice of the peace 
sits, and the councilors of arrondissement and 
department are elected; in each arrondissement 
(including on the average about eight cantons) 
the court of first instance sits.^ In addition, the 
arrondissement has (i) a council, elected for a 
six-year term, which participates in the choice of 
senators ^ and distributes among the communes 
their proper share in the burden of direct taxes 
assigned to the arrondissement, and (2) a sub- 
prefect who is appointed by the minister of the 
interior and who acts simply as the agent of the 
prefect of the department in his role as central 
officer. With the vast improvement in means of 
communication the subprefect's office has less 

* Large communes, however, may include several cantons. ' 
' Until the adoption of the general ticket in 1919 the 

arrondissements were used as districts for the election of the 

Chamber of Deputies. 
' See Chapter V. 



reason for existence than it had at the time of 
its origin, late in the eighteenth century. "The 
subprefects were then like branches of a business 
firm," says Berthelemy/ "Branches are useless 
when it is infinitely easy to get to the main estab- 
lishment." Instead of abolishing the office of 
iubprefect, however, as the Chamber of Deputies 
has more than once sought to do by refusing ap- 
propriations for salaries. Professor Berthelemy 
would give him a wider discretion, making him 
less dependent upon the prefect. 

Departmental Organization 

The departments are now eighty-nine in num- Charac- 
ber.* The thirty-two royal provinces, with their HZit^ * 
separate historical traditions and their varying ments 
systems of customary law, were swept away by 
the Revolution of 1789. The National Assembly 
substituted the departments, artificial creations 
which bore new names taken mainly from rivers 
and mountains and which, like the trittyes of 

* Traite elementaire de droit administraiif (Seventh edition, 

* Alsace-Lorraine, recovered by the peace treaty of 1919 
(June 28), was organized provisionally, by a law of October 19, 
as the departments of the Upper Rhine, the Lower Rhine, and 
the Moselle. This provisional arrangement did not affect the 
"territory" of Belfort, a part of Alsace-Lorraine which France 
retained after the war of 1870; but no doubt Belfort will 
eventually be incorporated in the department of the Upper 
Rhine. Since 1881 the departments of Algeria have been 
dealt with substantially as if part of continental France. 



Athens, were designed to cut across whatever 
remained of provincial patriotism. Thouret, re- 
flecting the passion of the time for uniformity, 
even proposed that the departments should be 
precisely of the same size — mere "astronomical 
expressions," as Stephen Leacock has styled the 
Middle-Western American states. They were, 
however, given irregular shapes, conforming to 
the natural features of the country, and varying 
areas. The Seine, which contains little territory 
outside of the city of Paris, has an area of only 
185 square miles; the other departments run 
from 13 81 square miles (Vaucluse) to 4140 
(Gironde). Created by national law and sub- 
ject to regulation by it, the departments resemble 
the American states only in the fact that they are 
the largest local-government units in the coun- 
try. In the place of a popularly-chosen execu- 
tive they have a prefect appointed by the national 
government and responsible to It. The council, 
elected under national laws, possesses very limited 
powers (for instance it cannot, like a state legis- 
lature, define property and crime); the courts, 
the schools, the main highways are national. The 
departments must be regarded as serving the 
purposes of national administration rather than 
those of local autonomy. 
Decen- Many Frenchmen believe that centralization 

has been carried too far. The officials at Paris 
are overburdened; the administrative machine 
threatens to break down under the excessive 
[ 246 ] 



weight it carries; and with restricted powers the 
local legislative bodies do not give enough room 
for the growth of a healthy spirit of self-govern- 
ment. Proposed reforms incline either to "de- 
concentration," which would give local agents 
of the central ministries more independence and 
initiative, or to "decentralization," which would 
enlarge the scope of local autonomy. It seems 
possible that in the near future the departments 
may be superseded by twenty or thirty "regions" 
each with an assembly of its own and boundaries 
determined by social and economic factors. In 
the summer of 1919 the Chamber of Deputies 
endorsed "regional reform.'*^ 

The prefect, whom the minister of the interior 
appoints, and may at any time transfer, place on 
half-pay, or remove,^ is at once the agent of the 
central government and the executive head of 
the department in the administration of local 

^ See Jean Henessey, La Reorganisation administratwe 
de la France (1919); articles in La Revue politique et parle- 
mentaire for November, 19 10, by C. Beauquier and A. Brette; 
and J. W. Gamer, " Administrative Reform in France" Ameri' 
can Political Science RevieWy Vol. XIII (1919), pages 17-46. 

* Strictly speaking the prefect is nominated by the minister 
and appointed by decree. Measured by French standards he 
receives a large salary — 18,000 to 35,000 francs. A law of 
191 1 has grouped the prefectures into three classes on the 
basis of salaries paid and has provided for automatic increases 
of salary. The prefect is entitled to a pension when he has 
served 30 years and reached the age of 60; and because of his 
precarious tenure he is not required to contribute to the 
pension fund. He may be placed on half pay for a certain 



Double affairs. In the latter role he appoints all em- 
[jjg^ ° ployees of the department, initiates all measures 
prefect which come before the general council for con- 
locai" sideration, and carries out the resolutions of the 
execu- council. In his dealings with the departmental 
^^^ authorities he is master rather than servant; for 

his tenure is dependent, not upon them, but 
upon the minister of the interior, and the council, 
whose meetings he attends, can discuss only such 
matters as he chooses to bring to its attention. 
(2) as In his role as agent of the central government 

i^entof ^j^g prefect's duties are manifold.^ He must 
ministry transmit information and complaints, give effect 
to ministerial instructions, direct state services 
within the department, control the subprefects 
and mayors (the latter being agents of the state 
for many purposes), and supervise local adminis- 
tration. Though directly responsible to the 
minister of the interior, he is obliged to be in 
correspondence with at least six other members of 
the cabinet with regard to state services. His 
activity extends to such miscellaneous matters as 
education, sanitation, agriculture, highways, the 
public domain, taxation, and police — the police 
power having within its range the regulation of 
such matters as hunting and fishing, theaters, 

length of time without loss of pension rights. Hauriou, 
Precis de droit administratif, page 238; Berthelemy, Elements de 
droit administratif, page 130. 

* Berthelemy, op. cit., pages 131 et seq.; Hauriou, op. cit., 
pages 241 et seq. 



newspapers, and public assembly. He appoints 
several hundred officials, such as school-teachers, 
tax-collectors, letter-carriers, and postmasters. 
In the government of the communes he makes his 
will felt more by the arts of persuasion than by 
the exercise of formal authority; but this au- 
thority, which has been widened somewhat by* 
ministerial decrees and by decisions of the Coun- 
cil of State, is quite extensive, including as it 
does the right to suspend communal officers (even 
members of the council) for not more than one 
month, to pass upon proposed increases in com- 
munal debts, to increase or reduce any item on 
the revenue side of the annual budget, and to 
reduce proposed appropriations. 

In the exercise of some of his powers the pre- usually 
feet has a free hand; he proceeds upon his own itJ's'JJJ^c. ^ 
responsibility without needing to secure approval tions 
beforehand or afterwards; and his acts may be 
annulled or corrected only on the ground of 
illegality. In most cases, however, — as when he 
executes national laws and decrees — he is bound 
bv detailed instructions. The traffic regulations 
which one reads while traveling through a dozen 
departments are signed by a dozen different pre- 
fects; but they have a striking family resem- 
blance; they are, in fact, couched in precisely 
the same language. Deconcentration' has made 
no headway in recent years; rather the reverse; 
railroad and telegraph have brought the remotest 
prefect very near to the minister at Paris. Never- 

C 249 ] 


theless, the prefect is a very powerful as well as 
a very busy official — the real pivot of the ad- 
ministrative system.^ 
ms As agent of the central government the prefect 

actirSes ^^^^ himself involved in activities that are 
altogether outside the routine of administration. 
The ministers whom he serves are politicians, 
often far more preoccupied with political concerns 
than with state business; and he is the medium 
through which the minister of the interior keeps 
in touch with the local situation and "makes" 
the parliamentary elections every four years. 
He exerts himself in the municipal elections also, 
both because these test the strength of the 
national parties and because he is naturally 
anxious to secure the success of candidates who 
will cooperate harmoniously with him when they 
are in office. It must not be forgotten that he 
has a great deal of patronage to dispose of. 
Cases occur, of course, where the prefect, belong- 
ing to a different political party, will not let him- 
self be used and where the minister thinks it 
inadvisable to transfer or remove him on the eve 
of the campaign. A new prefect, unacquainted 
with his surroundings and lacking local prestige, 
would be of little value in political intrigues. 
Nor does public opinion acquiesce as readily as 
it once did in the sacrifice of experienced officials 
to partisan exigencies. 

In the discharge of his multifarious duties the 

* Munro, The Government of European Cities^ page 60. 


prefect is assisted by a considerable headquarters His 
staiF. He has a confidential assistant known as l^^*^ ^ 

staff and 

** cabinet chief"; a general secretary appointed advisory 
by the minister of the interior, who directs the ^^^ 
several bureaux in which the employees are 
grouped; and a council of three members asso- 
ciated with him in his functions as national officer. 
Besides acting as an administrative court, as 
described in Chapter XI, the prefectoral coun- 
cil examines certain accounts (those of receivers 
of taxes, for instance), authorizes communes and 
departmental institutions to commence legal 
proceedings, and advises the prefect. On a good 
many matters the prefect is bound to consult his 
council; and though he need not follow its ad- 
vice, he finds it politic to do so in important 
cases, as where the acts of a communal council 
are to be annulled or changes made in a com- 
munal budget. 

It is obvious, even from this casual glance at Hisdif- 
his position, that the prefect should be a man of position 
ripe experience and of unusual accomplishments. 
His position is, indeed, one of peculiar difficulty. 
"Today," says Hanotaux,^ "placed between uni- 
versal suffrage, which really rules, and the central ' 
power, which wishes to govern, he is between 
the anvil and the hammer. Since he is concerned 
In everything, he concentrates in his own person 
the perpetual conflict of authority and freedom. 

* Quoted by P. W. L. Ashley, Local and Central Governmeni 
[1906), page 82. 



He reports to the authorities the demands of the 
crowds, and to the crowds the needs of the au- 
thorities. There is no question now of the old 
high-handed prefects who led the mayors as a 
colonel leads his regiment. The prefect no longer 
commands; he simply requests. More than any 
other official he must dictate by persuasion. He 
is at once the agent of the government, the tool 
of the party, and the representative of the area 
which he administers. Yet he must remain im- 
partial, foresee difficulties and disputes, and re- 
move or mitigate them; conduct affairs easily 
and quickly, avoid giving offense, show the 
greatest discretion, prudence, and reserve, and 
yet be always cheerful, open, and a good fellow; 
he must always be accessible, speak freely, and 
in his official position be neither affected nor 
churlish. . . . He is in daily contact with the 
elected representatives of the government, sena- 
tors, deputies, councillors of the department and 
arrondissement, mayors, and communal council- 
lors; he is assailed by all the various ambitions, 
claims, demands, frauds; he is bombarded at 
short range by the local Press, much more daring 
and less indulgent than the Press of Paris; and 
he is obliged to pay attention to and conciliate 
all the opinions, interests, and jealousies which 
rage around him or which turn towards or upon 
him." Evidently he must have, as Ashley ob- 
serves,^ tact, talent, skill, patience, resignation, 

* Op. cU., page 8i. 


and a long preliminary training in the office of 

Associated with< the prefect in conducting the The 
affairs of the department is the general council, counS* 
a body elected by universal suffrage for a term of the 
of six years, one-half of the members retiring j^^!^' 
every three years.^ As each canton returns one 
member, the size of the council depends upon 
the number of the cantons in the department; 
the largest general council has sixty-seven mem- 
bers, the smallest seventeen. No salaries are 
paid. Aside from special sessions,^ the council 
meets twice a year, the spring session lasting not 
more than two weeks and the summer session 
not more than one month. It is in the summer 
session ^ that the budget of the department is 
voted, direct taxes apportioned among the ar- 
rondissements, and the accounts of the prefect 
examined. Were it not for this financial control, 
the powers of the council would seem very meager 
indeed; they relate to matters of departmental 
concern (such as the maintenance of public build- 
ings and highways) and to a few cases where its 
approval is required in communal administration 
(such as changes in boundaries or increases in 
the tax-rate). Within the range of its powers 

* Elections occur simultaneously throughout France. 

' Called by the central government or by two-thirds of the 

' It begins normally in mid-August, but (under a law of 
1907) may be postponed until October i. 



the council is limited by the fact that business 
can come before it only on the initiative of the 
prefect and that its decision, while final in regard 
to some questions, in regard to others either re- 
quires the approval of the central government 
before it takes effect or, taking effect without 
such approval, may be vetoed by the government 
within a period of three months. The council is 
not permitted to make representations of a po- 
litical character to the central government; its 
only political function is participation in the elec- 
tion of senators. It may be dissolved at any 

There is also a departmental committee of four 
to seven members elected by the general council 
at the close of its summer session. This com- 
mittee meets at least once a month, the prefect 
being entitled to share in its deliberations. It 
handles whatever business the council delegates 
to it and at the same time has original powers of 
its own. It examines the prefect's monthly state- 
ments of expenditure. It reports to the council 
on the tentative budget framed by the prefect. 

Communal organization 

Variation The communes are the fundamental units in 
theVom- administration and self-government, with a his- 
munes tory looking back far beyond the period of revo- 

* By the central government. If parliament is in session 
the date of the new elections is fixed by statute; otherwise 
they occur on the fourth Sunday after dissolution. 


T- — 7-. ZT^7jj^%^^m^''^v. ' <H->T.^»4\ '^as^^aai— ifi 

^^,^, LILL" DE RliLNlON 


i 1 1 

.\0M 1 

I'lU'NOMS j 

1 "\"' 



'■ iii^iialure dc I'EiecUur: Fait a Paris, le ju Avril lyia. 

Le Maire, 

fans. — hup. Paul Pcpom iCl.). — 4tl.iuu — ;Ca:le laitm iw kil. - tj2t,'J00ei.) 


See page 17$ 


lutionary reconstruction. They were not arrested 
in their natural development and forced into a 
uniform mold by the legislators of 1789. They 
differ greatly in area and population. They may 
cover several acres or several thousand acres. 
More than half of them have a population of 
500 or less.^ Only Paris, Marseilles, Lyons, and 
Bordeaux exceed 250,000 in population. What 
Levasseur calls the "fatal attraction" of the 
cities has not been so marked in France as in 
Great Britain, Germany, or the United States.^ 
France remains predominantly an agricultural 
country in which the land is cultivated by peasant 
proprietors; and with a low birth-rate the in- 
crease of population is very slight.^ 

Although the communes are so unequal in Uni- 
size, the framework of their government reflects ^f^^^ 
the French inclination towards system and uni- ganiza- 
formity. The municipal law or code of 1884 
applies alike to hamlets of fifty inhabitants and 
to large cities like Marseilles or Havre.'* The 
code provides for a council of one chamber elected 
by universal suffrage and for a mayor and one or 
more adjoints (department heads) chosen by the 

* According to the census of 191 1 the number was 19,270 
out of a total of 36,241 communes. 

^ Only 2,717 communes are classified as urban; that is, as 
having a population of over 2,000. 

* The net increase was less than 350,000 between 1906 and 

* A translation of the code will be found in the appendix 
to Albert Shaw's Municipal Government in Continental Europe 


council from among its own members. Paris 
alone stands outside this scheme.^ Such uni- 
formity may at times entail disadvantages. 
"The machinery of local government in France," 
observes Munro,^ "is undoubtedly too complex 
and cumbrous for the thousands of small com- 
munes, most of which, like the English parishes, 
are too diminutive to serve properly as adminis- 
trative units. On the other hand, it is perhaps 
not elaborate enough for the largest municipali- 
ties." The code does, however, classify the com- 
munes according to population in fixing both the 
size of the council and the number of adjoints. 
Th« The council is a small body, with a minimum 

^^i of ten members (where the population is 500 or 
couacu less) and a maximum of 36 members (where the 
population is over 60,000). Its size varies ac- 
cording to a graduated scale, there being eight 
classes between the two extremes.' It is elected 
for a term of four years. The quadrennial elec- 
tions, occurring simultaneously in all communes 
on the first Sunday in May, are conducted very 
much like the national elections described in 
Chapter VI. The voters' list is compiled, the 
vote cast and counted in the same way; the same 

* Certain modifications have been made in the case of 
Lyons which has a larger council and more numerous heads of 
departments than the code provides for in other communes. 

' The Government of European Cities, page 14. 

• Lyons, with a council of 54, and Paris, with a council of 
80, are the only exceptions. See Article 10 of the code. 



principles are applied in disqualifying as candi- 
dates certain officials (such as prefects, judges, 
school-teachers) whose position in the commune 
might enable them to exercise undue influence in 
the election,^ and in requiring certain other offi- 
cials within ten days of their election as councilors, 
to relinquish their offices or retire from the coun- 
cil.- As in national elections, corrupt practices 
(personation, bribery, etc.) come within the 
jurisdiction of the criminal courts; but in the 
case of alleged irregularities the validity of an 
election is determined by the prefectoral council 
from whose decision appeal may be, and often is, 
taken to the highest administrative court, the 
Council of State.^ 

The procedure in municipal elections differs Munici 
from the procedure in national elections chiefly 
in the fact that there is no provision for minority 
representation. The scrutin de lists or general 
ticket is employed in its simple form. The mean- 
ing of these terms has already been explained.* 

* The mayor, adjoints, and councilors, however, though 
acting as election officers, are not disqualified. 

* The same rule applies to persons directly connected with 
the providing of public utilities or direct partners to a municipal 

* Any qualified voter may petition for the annulment of 
the elections within five days, the councilors affected by the 
petition being allowed another five days to file their reply. 
If a question of fact is involved, the prefectoral council makes 
an investigation. Elections are never annulled for mere 
technical violations of the law. * See Chapter VL 

pal elec- 


In a commune of ten thousand, let us say, where 
twenty-three councilors are to be elected, the 
commune is treated as a single constituency and 
each voter expected to vote for twenty-three dif- 
ferent candidates. This is a heavy burden to 
impose on the electorate, though not such a bur- 
den as overwhelms citizens of the United States 
when, after a confused campaign, they have to 
decide upon the qualifications of candidates for 
twenty or thirty offices ranging in importance 
from coroner to mayor or even governor. Only 
one office is filled by election in the commune, 
the office of councilor. The voter does not 
as a rule prepare his own ballot. If he is a 
loyal party man, he accepts a printed ballot 
which has been placed in his hands, either at his 
home or outside the polling-place, by a party 
worker. Under the circumstances the strongest 
among the competing parties is likely to win all 
the twenty-three seats. It will do so unless a 
considerable number of its adherents split their 
tickets (crossing out some of the names and sub- 
stituting others) because of antipathy to certain 
designated candidates, or unless two or more of 
the weaker parties, entering into a bargain, com- 
bine their strength on a composite ticket.^ Such 
combinations frequently occur when the strongest 

* Sometimes an independent candidate will distribute 
printed ballots differing from the party ticket only in the 
substitution of his own name for the name of one of the regular 

1 2i8 ] 


party has not commanded a majority of the votes 
in the first election and a second election therefore 
becomes necessary.^ Broadly speaking, however, 
the general ticket tends to give domination to a 
single party, to leave minorities unrepresented in 
the council; and this tendency grows more em- 
phatic as the national parties strengthen their 
organization, enforce stricter discipline, and appre- 
ciate more fully the part which local elections can 
play in keeping the combative spirit alive in the 
rank and file. It is idle to maintain that muni- 
cipal government, being a matter of business 
rather than policy, should not be regarded as a 
proper field for competition between national 
parties which are concerned primarily with 
national issues. Clearly enough the economic 
doctrine of the Socialist party applies to the com- 
mune; and if the Socialist party is determined to 
fight, the other parties can hardly be expected 
to stand aloof. Minorities find themselves more 
favorably situated in some of the larger cities 
where, by virtue of a provision of the municipal 
code,^ a modified form of the district ticket is 
used. Any commune with a population of more 
than ten thousand may be divided into districts,^ 

* In the second election a plurality suffices. ^ Article ii. 

' Not by the local authorities, but by the general council of 
the department whose decision may be modified by the 
Council of State — a procedure which prevents gerrymander- 
ing. The district boundaries, when once fixed, are seldom 
changed; with the shifting of population the number of seats 
assigned to each district is increased or reduced. 



each district electing (by scrutin de liste) at least 
four members of the council. This compromise 
between the general ticket and the district ticket 
opens the way to a certain degree of minority 
representation (because the minority is often 
concentrated in a particular section of the com- 
mune) and at the same time avoids the danger 
of ward politics which the small single-member 
district is not unlikely to develop. 
Limita- From a first casual glance at the municipal 

upon code one would suppose that the council, as the 
council's direct offspring of universal suffrage, had been 
arnoV invested with a very wide range of authority. 
In con- It ''regulates by its deliberations the affairs of 
ftdmtais- ^^^ communes,'* says the code. "It votes on all 
tration subjects of local interest." The actual powers of 
the council, however, are less extensive than this 
general language suggests. Its competence is 
limited in two directions. In the first place it is 
not an administrative body like the English 
borough council which, through standing com- 
mittees, manages every municipal department, 
even making appointments to the civil service. 
Under the French system the business of ad- 
ministration — and this covers a great part of 
the whole field of government in the communes 
— rests with the mayor and adjoints. It is true 
that these executive officers are chosen by the 
council from among its own members, that they 
continue to serve as members after election to 
office, and that they are unlikely therefore to 

C 260 ] 


pursue any course which the majority seriously 
opposes. Nevertheless, their subordination, 
wherever it exists, is not due to restraints in 
the law; the council has no means of compelling 
obedience — even its financial control is far from 
complete, and it cannot discipline them or remove 
them from office. "A standing committee in a 
French council," to quote Dr. Albert Shaw,^ 
"consults, advises, and keeps itself informed, and 
it may exercise a considerable influence over the 
action of the mayor and adjuncts; but it does 
not act of itself." The function of the council 
is to formulate policy; the function of the execu- 
tive is to put this policy into operation. 

A second limitation upon the competence of (2) ap- 
the council is found in the fact that, as regards Jigher^ 
some of the most important concerns of the com- authori- 
munes, its decisions take effect only when ap- J^l^ 
proved by the higher authorities.^ Without such 
approval, for instance, it cannot make leases for 
more than eighteen years, grant franchises for 
public utilities, borrow or appropriate money, 
alter or abolish streets, buy or sell communal 
property. Usually the "higher authority" is the 
prefect; but in the case of franchises it is the 
general council of the department, and in the 
case of the budgets of large communes (where 
the estimated revenue exceeds three million 
francs) the cabinet acting on the advice of the 

* Municipal Government in Continental Europe^ page 175. 

* See Article 68 of the code. 






minister of the interior. A brief description of 
budget procedure will serve to illustrate the 
somewhat restricted functions of the council. 
It is the mayor who prepares the annual budget 
and who, having presented it to the council, de- 
fends and justifies it at every stage of discussion. 
After passing the council it goes to the prefect 
(or, under the condition mentioned above, to 
the minister of the interior) accompanied by the 
annual reports of the mayor and treasurer, the 
minutes of the council bearing on the budget, 
and other apposite documents. Financial ex- 
perts make a searching analysis. With full 
information before him the prefect decides. He 
has the right to reduce any appropriation and 
either to reduce or increase any item on the 
revenue side of the budget. Moreover, the code 
gives a long list of obligatory appropriations — 
for the taking of the census, the conduct of elec- 
tions, the payment of debts; * and where any 
one of these is omitted the prefect must insert it. 
A recalcitrant council may be suspended for a 
month by the prefect or dissolved by the minis- 
try; but the occasion for such drastic action is 
likely seldom to occur. 

The council does not meet at frequent inter- 
vals, as the custom is in Great Britain and 
America. It holds four regular sessions each 
year, in February, May, August, and November. 
The May session, in which the budget is con- 
* Article 136 of the code. 



sidered, may last six weeks; the other sessions 
only two weeks. This arrangement would be as 
absurd and inconvenient as the analogous re- 
strictions laid upon the American state legisla- 
tures were it not for the fact that the regular 
sessions may be extended by the prefect and that 
special sessions may be called at any time by the 
prefect or mayor and must be called on the de- 
mand of a majority of the councilors. Perhaps 
the framers of the code felt that frequent meet- 
ings would tend to exalt the council at the 
expense of the mayor. The mayor presides — 
except when his official statements are under 
discussion. He is also chairman ex-officio of all 
standing committees; and even though he often 
assigns the adjoints to take his place on particu- 
lar committees, close contact between the ex- 
ecutive and legislative branches, with all the 
obvious advantages which flow from it, is 
still maintained. The members of the council 
serve without pay, as do also the mayor and 

"The mayor alone is charged with administra- The 
tion," says the code; ^ "but he may, under his ^^^ 
supervision and responsibility, delegate by order adjoints 
a part of his functions to one or more of his 
adjoints" or, when the adjoints are unable to 
act, to other members of the council. The num- 
ber of adjoints varies from one (for communes of 
2500 population or less) to 12,2 towns of 2500 

* Article 82. ' Lyons, by special provision, has 17. 




to 10,000 having two, and larger towTis having an 
additional adjoint for each 2500 inhabitants in 
excess of 10,000. The council elects both mayor 
and adjoints.^ This method of choice, while 
tending to secure a sympathetic accord between 
the executive officers and the council, may not 
result so happily in the relations between the 
mayor and his deputies (adjoints). The mayor 
is responsible for the whole administration; he 
is responsible for the operation of those depart- 
ments which he places under the charge of ad- 
joints, although he did not appoint the adjoints 
and cannot remove them. In case of disagree- 
ment or open conflict two remedies are available. 
The mayor, who is not required by the code to 
delegate his functions, may assign no duties to 
an insubordinate adjoint or he may, by applica- 
tion to the prefect, secure his suspension or 
removal. Both the mayor and adjoints may be 
suspended by the prefect for one month (a period 
which the minister of the interior may extend to 
three months) or removed by decree. 
The Someone has said that France is governed by 

dmfbie^ the mayots of the thirty-six thousand communes, 
rdie: The mayot is, indeed, invested with so many 
igent^ important functions, that, notwithstanding the 
of the restraints laid upon the exercise of his powers, 
"^*^^*^ he has the means of making himself a veritable 
political boss. In a large city he may, if pos- 

* By secret ballot, an absolute majority being required 
until the third ballot. 



sessed of marked ability and force of character, 
become a figure of national prominence; but on 
the other hand, by giving wide discretion to his 
adjoints and allowing the council to encroach 
upon the administrative field, he may subside 
into the position of a figurehead. Only a broad 
description of the mayoral powers can be given 
here. The mayor, like the prefect, has to fill a 
double role. Just as the prefect, appointed by 
the central government, acts both as its agent 
and as executive head of the department, so the 
mayor, appointed by the council, acts in the 
commune both as its executive head and as an 
agent of the central government. In the latter 
role the mayor performs his duties quite free from 
interference by the council, but subject to the 
supervision of the higher authorities. These 
duties are numerous and varied. They involve 
an immense amount of detailed work in connec- 
tion with matters regulated by national law — 
for example, poor relief, direct taxation, the 
registration of voters, military service, vital sta- 
tistics, primary education, and the quinquennial 
census; and they have been much increased in late 
years by social legislation. In the enforcement of 
national laws within the commune the mayor 
issues many ordinances, giving to the general lan- 
guage of the laws a detailed application; but in 
the exercise of this delegated legislative power he is 
always bound closely by instructions from the pre- 
fect who may even draft the ordinances himself. 



(») as As an officer of the commune the mayor has 

m^'ai ^^^^ legislative and executive functions. He 
executive presides at meetings of the council. As chairman 
ex-officio of its standing committees he takes 
part, either personally or through his adjoints, 
in reviewing the work of the administrative 
departments and preparing reports. He issues 
ordinances not only for the enforcement of resolu- 
tions passed by the council, but also, under the 
police power, for the protection of life and 
property. The prefect may suspend or annul 
such ordinances; ^ private individuals may ques- 
tion their validity before the administrative 
courts; and when any person is prosecuted for 
violation of an ordinance, the ordinary courts 
will acquit him, as noted in Chapter XI, if 
they find that the ordinance was not "legally 

As the executive head of the commune the 
mayor represents it in legal proceedings and on 
ceremonial occasions. He manages the municipal 
property. He conducts the municipal services. 
In the business of administration full responsi- 
bility rests with him; ^ and it is the function of 
the council, not to direct him in matters of de- 
tail, but to formulate the broad lines of policy 

* In such cases the mayor has the right of appeal to the 
Council of State. 

^ In the management of the police, however, the discretion 
of the mayor is much limited. The organization of muni- 
cipal police is described at the end of Chapter XII. 


which he is to follow. Evidently this is the sys- 
tem that the code was intended to establish. 
But, as it is often hard to decide just where the 
domain of policy-determination ends and the 
domain of administration begins, the council can, 
with colorable pretext, seriously curtail the 
mayor's freedom of action unless the higher 
authorities intervene. Nor is it certain that the 
balance of power between the mayor and council 
will always remain as it is. By the growth of 
custom and precedent and without any formal 
change in the law the time may come when the 
committees of the council will supplant the mayor 
in supervising the work of the administrative 

The employees of the commune, high and low,'; Em- 
are (with a few exceptions) appointed by the ^^^^^ 
mayor and by him disciplined or removed. The commxme 
council has no voice in the matter. In large 
cities where the merit system, the holding of 
competitive examinations to test the relative 
capacity of candidates for office, has made some 
headway, the scope of the appointing power has 
been much reduced. Even where the merit sys- 
tem does not obtain, the mayor's patronage is 
less extensive than might be supposed. Vacan- 
cies seldom occur. The civil servants are not 
swept out of office with each change of admin- 
istration; custom has given them something 
like a permanent tenure; and an employee 
who believes that he has been unjustly removed 



may seek redress before the Council of State and 
perhaps secure an award of damages against the 
commune. The treasurer and police commis- 
sioner are appointed not by the mayor, but by 
the central government; and the mayor can 
appoint or remove no police official without the 
concurrence of the prefect. Attracted by the 
security of tenure and (in large cities) the pros- 
pect of retirement pensions, able and conscien- 
tious men have entered the civil service of the 
communes. It is their trained intelligence which 
keeps the machinery of administration working 
smoothly. "Herein," says Dr. Shaw,^ *'lies the 
explanation of much that puzzles many foreign 
observers, who cannot understand how to recon- 
cile the seemingly perfect system of French ad- 
ministration in all matters of practical detail 
with the rapid and capricious changes in the 
highest executive posts." 
Th« Paris, the capital city and metropolis, is not 

men^of govemed like the other communes. Two cir- 
Pku cumstances have made some deviation from the 
uniform scheme of the municipal code advisable. 
In point of size Paris is exceptional, covering as 
it does nearly the whole area of the department 
of the Seine and having five times the population 
of Marseilles, the next largest city. It has been 
convenient therefore to blend departmental and 
communal institutions. The general council of 
the department is simply the Paris council with 

* Op. cit., page 27. 


additional members representing the two arron- 
dissements outside the city limits, and executive 
authority in both commune and department has 
been entrusted to two prefects, one of whom 
deals solely with police administration. Again, 
as the seat of the national government Paris has 
been improved and beautified at national expense, 
adorned with palaces, monuments, and art gal- 
leries. The government must have adequate 
means of protecting its material interests as well 
as the social order from the recurrence of such 
sudden revolutionary outbreaks as have often 
manifested themselves in Parisian history. Local 
autonomy therefore has been given less play than 
in other communes. This is seen mainly in the 
fact that the executive officers (the prefect of the 
Seine and the prefect of police) are appointed 
not by the council, but by the central government. 

The municipal council is chosen for a four-year The 
term by district ticket. Relatively speaking it ^ ^^^^ 
has a large membership, four councilors being cu 
elected from single-member districts in each of 
the twenty arrondissements included within the 
city limits. Although supposed to serve without 
pay, each councilor draws an annual sum of 
twelve hundred dollars under guise of ** expenses"; 
and for reasons of expediency the minister of the 
interior has acquiesced in a practice which, as the 
Council of State has held, is clearly unauthorized. 
The powers of the council resemble those of the 
ordinary municipal councils. Since it does not 



choose the executive officers, however, it is less 
likely to exert an effective influence upon them. 
The two The prefect of police possesses the combined 
prefects pQiJ^e powers of a mayor and a prefect. He is 
responsible not only for the maintenance of order, 
but also for the regulation of traffic, the enforce- 
ment of sanitary rules, and many other matters 
that the French regard as coming properly 
under the scope of police administration. Like- 
wise the prefect of the Seine, who receives a 
salary of ten thousand dollars, allowance for 
expenses, and a residence in the city hall, com- 
bines in his person the functions of a mayor and 
a prefect, excepting only the police power. 
** There is, in fact, a greater concentration of 
administrative power in the hands of the prefect 
of the Seine," says Professor Munro,^ "than in 
those of any other local official in France, or, 
indeed, in any other country." Naturally he 
must be a man of wide experience and proved 
capacity, and one who has sufficient tact and 
diplomacy to maintain harmonious relations with 
the shifting cabinet ministers, the municipal and 
departmental councils, and his colleague, the pre- 
fect of police. In practice both prefects, though 
subject to removal at any time, have held their 
places for long terms. 
Thedty The civil scrvicc in Paris includes, besides what 
may be termed the headquarters staff, a local 
staff in each of the twenty arrondissements. 

1 Op. cit.y page 97. 



''These twenty divisions," as Albert Shaw has 
pointed out, **make it easy to distribute and 
apportion the numerous administrative tasks 
that bring the government into contact with the 
people." They are the units for school adminis- 
tration, the registration of voters, civil marriage, 
the keeping of vital statistics, poor relief, the col- 
lection of taxes, and much besides. In each a 
mayor and several adjoints, appointed by the 
government and serving without pay, perform a 
vast amount of routine work as subordinates of 
the prefect. There is no elective council in the 
arrondissement, but many citizens serve on ad- 
visory commissions which, with the mayor or his 
adjoints presiding, discharge important functions 
in regard to such matters as public education and 
poor relief. 




First "\1^ /"HEN the first legislature chosen under the 
^ ' V V r^^w constitution met in the spring of 
1876, the monarchists controlled the Senate, the 
Republicans controlled the Chamber. This gen- 
eral situation had been expected. The surprising 
feature of the elections was the strength de- 
veloped by the Republicans. They came within 
two or three votes of having a majority in the 
Senate.^ They won more than 360 of the 533 
seats in the Chamber.^ 

^ For brief outlines in English, see Encyclopedia Britan- 
nica (nth ed., 1910), Vol. X, pages 873-906 (by J. E. C. 
Bodley); E. A. Vizetelly, Republican Francr (191 3); C. H. 
C. Wright, A History of the Third French Republic (1916). 
G. Hanotaux's Contemporary France (4 vols., translated) 
covers only the early years of the Republic. In French see 
L. Hosotte, Histoire de la troisi^me RJpublique, 1870-1912 
(2 volumes; has clerical sympathies); E. Marechal, Histoire 
comtemporaine de iS/q a nos jours (3 vols., 1900); and E. 
2^vort, Histoire de la troisi^me Republique (4 vols., 1896-1901). 

* The reactionaries, having a majority in the National 
Assembly which chose the seventy-five life senators, and 
being able to exert administrative pressure upon the electoral 
colleges which chose the other 225 senators, had hoped for 
better things; but because of the quarrels between Legitimists 
and Orleanists, the Republicans got 57 of the life seats. The 
elections of 1879 gave them control of the Senate. 

' It is not possible to determine the group affiliations of 
all the deputies. Roughly speaking the Bonapartists won as 

[272 J 


The chief Republican groups, receiving their Party 
titles from the position of the seats assigned to ^^^ 
them, were the Extreme Left, the Left, and Chamber 
the Left Center. Leon Gambetta, who led th*e 
Extreme Left, had put forward a radical program 
in 1869 (the "Belleville Program**) which advo- 
cated the separation of church and state, elec- 
tive judges, and the income tax. His fervent 
patriotism, his eloquence, his energy and cour- 
age gave him a hold on the hearts of the masses; 
but many prominent Republican politicians dis- 
liked his radicalism, envied his popularity, or 
suspected him of harboring dangerous ambitions. 
The Republican Left included such men as Jules 
Grevy, Jules Ferry, and Charles de Freycinet, 
who were Republicans by conviction and not 
recent or half-hearted converts. The Left Center, 
including only some 50 members, represented the 
bourgeois liberalism which had flourished under 
the July monarchy. Its leaders were for the 
most part men of mature years, like Thiers 
(born 1797) and Dufaure (born 1798). They 
favored a Republic from motives of expediency 
and wished the Republic to be conservative. 
For several years, w^hile the future still seemed 
uncertain, their policy of caution and concilia- 
tion gave them great influence. The first two 

many seats as the two other monarchist factions combined. 
The Orleanists were weakened by the defection of more than 
twenty deputies who, styling themselves Constitutionalists, 
decided to accept the Republic. 


to the 


premiers, Dufaure and Simon, were drawn from 
the Left Center. 

Hostility Soon after its organization, the new govern- 
ment had to face a serious crisis. Jules Simon, 
who became premier at the end of 1876, while 
friendly to the church, was not friendly enough 
to suit the bishops. These urged upon France, 
hardly recovered from the disasters of 1870, the 
obligation of making war upon Italy and restor- 
ing the temporal power of the Pope. Behind 
this religious agitation, which grew more and 
more intense, political propagandists were at 
work. The monarchists, seeing an opportunity 
to embarrass the Republic, joined forces with 
the clergy. The Count of Chambord declared 
that "every enemy of the church is an -enemy of 
France," and the clergy took no pains to dis- 
guise their sympathy with his cause. This alli- 
ance of ultramontanes and monarchists proved 
unfortunate for the church. Republicans, or at 
least Republicans of radical temper, came to 
accept Gambetta's phrase: "Le 4:lencalisme, 
voila Tennemi." A generation later, after pro- 
longed conflict between church and state, Rene 
Viviani, the minister of labor, declared proudly, 
"We have extinguished lights in heaven that 
shall never be relit." 

Th» The crisis of 1877 is known as the "Seize Mai." 

On May 16, Jules Simon was informed that, in 
view of certain votes taken by the Chamber 
without the approval of the cabinet, he no longer 




enjoyed the confidence of President MacMahon. 
He resigned immediately — the tone of the Presi- 
dent's letter permitted no other course — and 
was succeeded by the Orleanist de BrogHe. 
While MacMahon's action did not violate the 
letter of the constitution, it was, in view of the 
excited condition of the country, at least pro- 
foundly impolitic; and it could hardly seem 
consonant with the principles of responsible par- 
liamentary government since Simon held office, 
with an overwhelming majority, by virtue of 
an election which had occurred only fifteen 
months before. Only in one way could the 
President vindicate himself and keep the new 
cabinet in office: by dissolving the Chamber of 
Deputies and making a successful appeal to the 
electorate. On June 25, with the consent of the 
monarchist majority in the Senate, the Chamber 
was dissolved. In the autumn elections how- 
ever, notwithstanding administrative pressure 
and clerical pressure, the Republican majority 
was reduced but slightly. De Broglie resigned. 
MacMahon then appointed, not one of the ma- 
jority leaders (as parliamentary usage required), 
but a military man, General Rochebouet, whose 
reactionary cabinet included not a single mem- 
ber of Parliament. This autocratic step gave 
rise to apprehensions of a coup d^etat and led the 
Chamber to refuse supplies. After two or three 
weeks of complete deadlock Rochebouet resigned. 
His retirement meant the collapse of monarchist 



schemes and humiliation for MacMahon, who 
now found it necessary to invite the moderate 
Republican Jules Dufaure to form a ministry. 
MacMahon's position was very uncomfortable 
because, having tried and failed to hand the 
administration over to the reactionaries, he had 
no further means of making his personal wishes 
prevail over the cabinet. When Dufaure began to 
republicanize the army by placing five generals on 
half pay and transferring five others, the Presi- 
dent resigned. He was succeeded by Jules Grevy, 
a septuagenarian, who had been president of both 
the National Assembly and the Chamber of Dep- 
uties, a loyal Republican of spotless reputation, 
but not a man of much force. The Republicans 
now controlled the presidency and both Chambers. 
Pouticai Meanwhile, modifications had been taking 
°^*' place in the political groups of the Chamber. 
(i) The various elements of the right had con- 
solidated in the struggle of 1877. Their conflict- 
ing claims now dropped into the background; 
they called themselves conservatives and be- 
came less insistent in advocating the restoration 
of monarchy. (2) The Left Center had begun 
to decline in importance, their mildly sympa- 
thetic attitude towards the church having brought 
them into discredit with the other Republican 
groups who favored an anti-clerical policy. 
(3) Gambetta, without abjuring the Belleville 
program, had abandoned it for the time as im- 
practicable, and substituted "a policy of results 



for a policy of chimeras." He declared himself 
an opportunist, ready to govern according to 
the exigencies of the moment. Gradually his 
followers fused with the RepubHcan Left and 
assumed the name of Opportunists (Moder- 
ates after 1889, Progressists after 1898, and 
recently Republican Federation). Down to the 
formation of the Waldeck-Rousseau cabinet in 
1899 the Opportunists constituted the most 
numerous and powerful group in the Chamber.^ 
(4) A part of the Extreme Left, unwilling to 
abandon the Belleville program, had become 
known as Radicals. They attacked their old 
leader, Gambetta, and also Jules Ferry who had 
been guilty of remarking that '*the danger is on 
the Left." The most aggressive spirit in this 
group was Georges Clemenceau (afterwards be- 
came prime minister, 1906-1909, and 1917-1920).^ 
Other eminent members were Charles Floquet 
and Henri Brisson. The Radicals steadily ad- 
vanced in strength (except in the elections of 
1889) and dominated the government during the 
first decade of this century. 

^ In a period of twenty years, all but half a dozen of the 
twenty-seven cabinets were headed by Opportunists or by 
men who shortly became known as such. But the anti- 
clerical policy of Waldeck-Rousseau brought about a cleavage, 
the larger faction supporting the premier and entering groups 
further to the Left. 

^ Sometimes called "the destroyer of cabinets" because he 
helped to overthrow eighteen of them in fifteen years. See 
H. H. Hyndraan*s Clemenceau (1919). 

[ 277 ] 


AnM- The Republicans, having put Jules Grevy in 

lerisu- ^^^ place of MacMahon and having temporarily 
Won crushed the hopes of the monarchists, now turned 

jufeY their attention to the church. They wished to 
Ferry curb the power of the clergy and prevent a re- 
currence of the intrigues of 1877. The religious 
orders, firmly intrenched in the schools, molded 
the future citizens of the country and zealously 
instilled anti-Republican sentiments. With few 
exceptions these orders had no legal standing; 
they had never secured from the government the 
authorization which all associations must have. 
Jules Ferry, the minister of public instruction, 
proposed to exclude their members from teach- 
ing in the schools; and when the Senate rejected 
a vital part of his bill, he proceeded to dissolve 
the unauthorized orders by decree. This was 
the first phase of the anti-clerical movement 
which culminated under Waldeck-Rousseau and 
Combes. If the orders had given way at this 
juncture, France might have escaped some of 
the bitter antagonisms of later years; but in 
defiance of law they managed to reorganize af- 
ter dissolution and to continue their work as 
teachers. They also denounced as godless 
Ferry's new system of elementary schools in 
which education was compulsory, gratuitous, 
and non-sectarian, and this in spite of the fact 
that provision was made for religious instruction 
by priests. 

Ferry's name is also identified with the awaken- 



ing of new imperialistic ambitions in France. Colonial 
He believed in colonial expansion as a means of gj^' 
restoring national prestige; and although this under 
policy involved France in controversies with l^^ 
other states, it gave her finally an overseas 
empire second only to that of Great Britain.^ 
Tunis naturally attracted French interest be- 
cause of its neighboring Algeria; and in i88i, 
certain border raids being taken as pretexts, 
French protectorate was established there. Italy, 
also interested in Tunis, felt aggrieved and in 
consequence entered the Triple Alliance with 
Germany and Austria-Hungary in 1882. Cordial 
relations between France and Italy were not 
restored for twenty years. It was Ferry also 
who, while premier in 1883, annexed Tonkin and 
Annam, thus greatly extending the possessions 
acquired in Indo-China two decades earlier. This 
period also marks the forward movement of 
France in the Congo and in Madagascar; but 
her refusal to cooperate with Great Britain in 
suppressing disturbances in Egypt (1882) assured 
British ascendency there and, since Egypt had 
appealed strongly to the French imagination 
from the time of Bonaparte's expedition, tended 
to create a feeling of antagonism between the 
two colonial powers. 

^ On the French colonial possessions see H. Busson, Notre 
Empire colonial (1910); C. Humbert, UCEuvre fran^ais aux 
colonies (19 1 3); and Victor Piquet, La Colonisation f rang aise 

[ 279 ] 


Faflnre The elections of 1881 gave the conservatives, 

hcna^' °^ reactionaries, only some 90 of the 547 seats in 
1881 the Chamber; the Radicals, 46. While the 
split between the Radicals and Opportunists 
had definitely taken place, the Republican Left 
(186 deputies) had not yet coalesced with Gam- 
betta's followers (204 deputies). Gambetta, who 
had been president of the Chamber for three 
years and who had exercised from the chair an 
"occult power" (as Clemenceau termed it), now 
became prime minister. There had been prophe- 
cies of ''a great ministry," a ministry of all the 
talents which would unite the Republican factions. 
The men of established reputation, however, 
regarded Gambetta with jealousy or distrust. 
They held aloof. Gambetta's cabinet, drawn 
exclusively from his personal followers, did not 
commend itself to the country, although it in- 
cluded young men of great promise, such as the 
future premiers Waldeck-Rousseau and Rouvier. 
It maintained itself only ten weeks.^ Several 
things contributed to the fall of Gambetta: his 
attempt to deprive deputies of their patronage 
in the civil service, his passionate interest in the 
army and promotion of able officers irrespective 
of politics, his proposal to reform and subordi- 
nate the Senate, and his insistence on a new 
system of electing the deputies — the general 
ticket. But opposition to Gambetta's policies 

* Nov., 1881, to Jan., 1882. Gambetta died on Dec. 31, 
1882, from an accidental revolver shot, at the age of 44. 


tion" and 


was merely an excuse offered in palliation 
by the politicians who overthrew him; these 
very men reformed the Senate and estab- 
lished the general ticket after his death.^ They 
feared Gambetta because he was so dynamic, a 
man of force and compelling enthusiasm. The 
cult of incompetence and mediocrity which 
Georges Sorel supposes to be inseparable from 
democracy had already set in.^ 

The elections of 1885 were the first and, until "Con- 
1919, the only general elections conducted under 
the general ticket (the election of all the mem- "pacifl- 
bers from each department upon a general ticket 
having been substituted for single-member dis- 
tricts by a law of that year). The extreme groups. 
Conservatives and Radicals, profited by this new 
arrangement, securing respectively about 180 
and 150 seats.^ Henceforth the Opportunists 
(about 250 seats) were unable to govern alone. 
As a rule cabinets were formed by a "concen- 

1 Gambetta proposed to abolish the single-member districts 
and substitute large districts in which several members should 
be elected. This system is described in Chapter VI. 

2 Ernest Dimnet in France Herself Again (1914) says, "If 
the Third Republic has produced but few men of great civic 
virtue, it has not produced many who were remarkable either 
for their eloquence or their political capacities. . . . The roll 
of premiers, when one reads it over from the first days, sounds 
like a list of incarnations of mediocrity." 

' The death of Gambetta and dissatisfaction with Ferry's 
colonial policy contributed to this result by weakening the 



tration" of the two main Republican groups. 
Radicals and Opportunists. The alternative was 
"pacification'* by which one Republican group 
governed with the help or toleration of the Con- 
servatives, this implying abandonment of anti- 
clerical measures. Rouvier formed the first 
pacification cabinet in 1887. In that year Grevy, 
who had been reelected to the presidency in 
spite of his advanced age, was forced to resign 
because of scandals involving his disreputable 
son-in-law, Daniel Wilson, and his steadfast 
refusal to believe in Wilson's guilt or to expel 
him from the Elysee. His successor was, not 
Jules Ferry, the most prominent Republican 
statesman, but a compromise candidate, Sadi 
Carnot. So, too, the American Whigs chose 
Harrison instead of Clay for the election of 1840 
— Harrison's grandfather signed the Declara- 
tion of Independence; Carnot's grandfather was 
the "organizer of victory." Neither Grevy nor 
Carnot were men of action; and so the tradition 
of efl^acement and torpor began to entwine itself 
about the French presidency. 
Bou- The presidency of Carnot (i 887-1 894) was 

crisis' notable for two crises which left a deep impres- 
sion on French political life and upon the for- 
tunes of French parties — the Boulangist 
movement and "Panama." The Boulangist 
movement came very near to ending the Repub* 
lie. Boulanger, the youngest general in the army, 
had won rank and honors by distinguished serv- 


ice In the field; he had been wounded in the 
war of 1870, in Indo-China, in Algeria. As 
minister of war, 1 886-1 887, he became the most 
prominent person in the country. His truculent 
attitude toward Germany led Bismark to observe 
that he was a menace to the peace of Europe and 
made him at the same time the idol of French 
chauvinists. '* Throughout her history France 
has shown a taste for strong men/' says Dimnet, 
as many others have said; and for the moment 
the martial figure of Boulanger suggested the 
strong man who was needed to recover the lost 
provinces for France, restore her credit in the 
eyes of Europe, her unity of spirit, her belief in 
herself. His extraordinary popularity alarmed the 
politicians. They kept him out of a new cabinet 
formed in 1887 and sent him to command an 
army corps far from Paris and from the German 

Boulanger now entered upon a series of in- bou- 
trigues. His secret maneuvers and the singular ^JJ^ci 
alliances which he contracted indicate that, like 
Louis Napoleon, he was playing for his own ends. 
He was everything to every man. At the out- 
set the Radicals entered into close and secret 
relations with him, meaning to embarrass the 
Opportunists. The noisy patriots supported him 
because he would recover Alsace-Lorraine; the 
Bonapartists, because he stood for the Napoleonic 
plebiscite; the Royalists, because he promised 
the restoration; the clergy, because the Royalists 

C 283 ] 


did and because Boulanger let it be known that 
he would tolerate no religious persecution (that 
is, anti-clerical measures). Although several 
Jews were prominent in his entourage, he some- 
times posed as an anti-Semite and thus took 
advantage of a campaign against the Jews which 
had got well under way with the publication of 
Drumont's La France juive in 1886. The enormous 
sums of money which he spent came from the 
Count of Paris (now the Royalist pretender) and 
from a duchess devoted to the Royalist cause. 
Hu sue- He spent lavishly in building up a political 
^reiec- organization and in flooding constituencies with 
uons campaign literature (including portraits of him- 
Budden ^^^^ ^" horscback). Whenever a by-election 
collapse occurred, he became a candidate; and, as the 
general ticket had been in force since 1885, all 
the voters of a department participated in each by- 
election. Hundreds of thousands of votes were 
cast; it was the plebiscite, taken by departments. 
Finally in January, 1889, came his most striking 
triumph. He was elected in the Seine (Paris) 
by 244,000 votes against 179,000 for his two 
opponents, and in spite of the great eflPorts put 
forth by the cabinet. At that moment, appar- 
ently, he might have marched on the filysee 
and made himself dictator. He let the moment 
slip by. Perhaps he was under obligations which 
held him back; perhaps he expected greater 
triumphs in the general election of 1889; more 
probably he suffered from indecision of char- 



acter. At any rate he failed to strike. Soon 
afterwards he was a fugitive in England, con- 
victed in his absence of conspiracy against the 
state. That same year, fearing the appearance 
of some other *'man on horseback," Parliament 
restored the district ticket. 

In the quadrennial elections of 1889 no great 
changes were manifested. The Opportunists, 
now called the Moderates, gained somewhat; 
the Conservatives, while losing twenty or twenty- 
five seats, stood very close to a new group of 
Nationalists or Boulangists which included more 
than forty deputies. The chief losses were in- 
curred by the Radicals whose strange association 
with Boulanger had done them much injury. 
Not only were their numbers reduced by a third, 
but their claim to represent the most extreme 
political doctrine was disputed on the Left by a 
new group of seventeen Socialists. 

Shortly after the collapse of Boulangism the Panama 
Republic had to confront another menacing situa- ^*^*° 
tion. There had already been some evidence and 
much gossip of political corruption; and now, 
at the close of 1892, a scandal was brought to 
light which cast its shadow on many reputations. 
In 1883 a French company had begun to con- 
struct a canal across the Isthmus of Panama. 
Through extravagance and gross mismanagement 
it fell into such straits that, in the hope of pre- 
venting disclosures, lavish subsidies were paid 
to newspapers and Parliament was persuaded, 



apparently by the purchase of votes, to authorize 
the raising of over $100,000,000 by means of a 
lottery. In 1892, after the failure of the lottery 
and the collapse of the company, one of the 
Nationalist deputies asserted that a Jewish 
banker had, on behalf of the company, distrib- 
uted $600,000 among a hundred and fifty depu- 
ties. Two other Jews of German origin were 
said to be concerned in these operations. Con- 
servatives, Nationalists, and anti-Semites made 
the most of the Panama revelations. They dis- 
seminated every rumor and innuendo tending to 
compromise Republican politicians. Men like 
Rouvier, de Freycinet, Floquet, were driven 
from office; Clemenceau lost his seat in the 
Chamber. There was much talk of a mysterious 
list of 104 deputies who had been bribed. The 
truth was never fully revealed; the politicians 
escaped with nothing worse than damaged repu- 
tations. But since some charges had been proved 
and other charges appeared only too plausible, 
"Panama*' bred a deep-seated distrust of poli- 
ticians. It helped to bring about that cynicism 
and disillusionment which seems to be sapping 
the vitality of the democratic regime in France 
as in other countries. 
The The country was still agitated by the "Pan- 

orRe^ ama" charges when the election of 1893 took 
publican place. The Right (Conservatives), that had 
lies. °" hoped to make capital out of the discrediting of 
1893 Republican politicians, met with reverses; it 


carried only about 65 constituencies. Some of 
its former strength had been drawn off by the 
foundation of a new group known first as the 
"RalHes" and later as the "Action Liberale 

In the Seize Mai and in the Bouhmger episode 
the Church had maintained its old alliance with 
the monarchist cause whose leaders were exploit- 
ing the Church for political ends and identifying 
it with reaction. The liberal-minded Pope, Leo 
XIII, was under no illusions; . he saw that the 
French people would cleave to the Republic apd 
that an anti-Republican Church would steadily 
lose ground. In; 1892, just after the Count of 
Paris had declared thax Christianity could be 
saved only by a restoration of monarchy* he issued 
an encyclical urging Catholics to "rally" to the 
Republic. Most of the Royalist leaders received 
this appeal with ill-disguised contftnp,t. Count • 
Albert de Mun and Jacqires Piou,* however, 
organized a campaign in 1893; and though both 
were defeated in the elections, some thirty of their 
followers entered the new Chamber as Rallies. 
The Republicans were frankly sceptical. They 
regarded the movement as an effort to penetrate 
the Republican camp and give it over to the 
enemy.^ For some time the Rallies increased in 

* Perhaps there was ground for this suspicion. Fifteen 
years earlier, a church dignitary had suggested a similar 
strategy to the Count of Charabord. Vizetelly, op. ctU, 
page 282. 



strength and gave support to moderate minis- 
tries (such as that of MeHne, 1 896-1 898). They 
became a more important group than the Right; 
but the conflict between the church and the 
state in the early years of the century inter- 
rupted their development, temporarily at least. 
Kise The elections of 1893 also brought the Socialists 

Socuust ^"^^ prominence. Although the Socialists of this 
Party period belonged to many shifting factions rather 
than to a party, they had made themselves felt 
in French politics for a decade or more. A few 
Socialists found their way into the Chamber; 
in 1889 (as already mentioned) as many as 17. 
In 1893, having used "Panama" as a sad ex- 
ample of bourgeois mismanagement, and having 
condemned the severity of the administration 
in dealing with labor disturbances that year, 
they won 50 seats. Among their leaders were 
► »Guesde, Jaures, Millerand, and Sembat. Alexan- 
dre Millerand laid down the Socialist prograpi at 
Saint-Mande in 1896: Nationalization of all means 
of production and exchange as soon as the time 
should be ripe for such a transformation; Social- 
ist control of the government by means of uni- 
versal suflFrage; and an international understand- 
ing among working people. This did not go far 
enough to suit all Socialists; but it was accepted as 
a minimum program even by the devoted Marxian, 
Jules Guesde. Some of these Socialist deputies 
were already familiar to the Chamber as Radicals 
of yesterday. The Radicals sometimes found it 
C 288 ] 


difficult to remain Radicals without becoming 
Socialists. Their leader, Leon Bourgeois, con- 
demned the Saint-Mande program. "I am not 
a collectivist," he said, "because there is no 
agreement between the French Revolution and 
the ideas of the collectivists, which are un- 
French in their origin.'* But already some of 
the Radicals, while adhering to the principle of 
private property, were ready to go part way with 
the Socialists. They began to style themselves 

The Moderates, with nearly three hundred Homo- 
deputies, remained by far the most powerful ^y^^ts 
group. But "Panama** had produced discords of 
and removed some of the old leaders. New men ^" 
now came to the front: Casimir-Perier, Ray- and 
mond Poincare, Louis Barthou, Paul Deschanel, 
and Charles Dupuy. The differences between the 
Moderates and the Radicals were accentuated 
by the repressive measures taken against the 
anarchists in 1894. For a time an experiment 
was made with homogeneous ministries, that is, 
ministries drawn from a single party: Bourgeois 
(Radical) 1 895-1 896, Meline (Moderate) 1896- 
1898. Of course, such ministries could hold 
office only with the support of outside groups 
secured by legislative favors and promises. 

Presidential elections occurred in 1894 and 
1895. Towards the end of his term Sadi Carnot 
was assassinated at Lyons. This tragic event 
came as the culmination of a long series of 



The anarchist outrages which had led many to be- 

dency- heve in the existence of a vast anti-social con- 
Casimir- spiracy. It greatly strengthened conservative 
^^^^ tendencies for the moment and made possible 
Faure the election of Casimir-Perier, youngest and 
ablest of the Presidents. Like his father 
and grandfather he had held high political 
office; but at the same time he was engaged 
in large business enterprises and ranked as one 
of the richest men in France. He possessed 
exceptional force of character, an imperious will, 
and a fighting spirit which was not well suited 
to the restricted functions of the presidency. He 
remained in office only six months. Subjected 
to abuse and slander in the press,^ kept in the 
dark by his ministers as to the most important 
transactions, he withdrew from the Elysee in 
disgust. Faure succeeded him (January, 1895), 
the son of a carpenter, who (with the help of a 
legacy) had made an ample fortune as a dealer 
in hides. He was a vain man who wished to 
magnify his office, not by autocratic behavior 
toward the cabinet, but by courting popularity 
and. making the filysee once more the center of 
Alliance social life. His vanity was indulged by the visit 
of the Czar and Czarina in 1896 and by his own 
visit to Russia in 1897. It was on the latter 
occasion that the Dual Alliance between France 
and Russia was first formally announced to the 

1 His treatment of labor in the Anzin mines had earned 
him the title of "The Vampire of Anzin.'* 
[ 290 ] 



world. This alliance between democracy and 
despotism came as the necessary answer to the 
formation of the Triple Alliance (Germany, 
Austria, and Italy), and the provocative atti- 
tude of Germany. Although offensive to the 
Socialists, it did give increased security to France 
and removed something of the apprehension 
which had haunted the country since 1870. 

In the early '90*5 it seemed that an era of 
reconciliation was beginning. Spiiller, when 
minister of public instruction in 1894, spoke 
eloquently of the "new spirit" of benevolence 
which was to obliterate old animosities and usher 
in the reign of justice and common sense. The 
Moderates, indeed, showed a disposition to ac- 
cept the proffered hand of the RaUies. Un- 
fortunately, just at this juncture the country 
was rent by a new convulsion, the most severe 
and most disastrous which the young Republic 
had experienced. 

In 1894, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, an Alsatian The 
Jew, was convicted by court-martial of betray- ^ff^"' 
ling military secrets to a foreign power. At first 
the conviction passed unchallenged except by 
his family and friends. But gradually — through 
the efforts of courageous and disinterested men, 
such as Colonel Picquart, Senator Scheurer- 
Kestner, and fimile Zola — startling facts were 
brought to light which seemed to mdicate 
that guilt had been fastened upon Dreyfus in 
order to divert suspicion from a disreputable 



soldier of fortune, Major Esterhazy, and that 
men in high places were deliberately suppressing' 
the truth in order to protect the "honor" of the 
army. In the face of widespread suspicions, 
which tended to become more definite, the 
charges against Esterhazy could not safely be 
ignored; he was brought to trial and acquitted 
— by order, Zola declared. Soon afterwards the 
minister of war made a speech before the Cham- 
ber in which he sought, by means of new docu- 
mentary proofs, to quiet any remaining doubts 
of Dreyfus* guilt. The Chamber was convinced; 
the speech was placarded throughout France; 
and then, to the confusion of the anti-Dreyfus- 
ists, it transpired that the documents had been 
forged by Colonel Henry, head of the intelli- 
gence department of the war office. Henry cut 
his throat. Esterhazy fled. Although Dreyfus, 
granted a new trial, was convicted again, the 
court discovered extenuating circumstances, im- 
posed a very light sentence, and recommended 
mercy. The government granted a pardon 
(September, 1899). In other words, the rancor- 
ous controversy which by this time had divided 
France into two hostile camps, was to be set at rest 
by compromise, a compromise calculated to soothe 
the Dreyfusists and at the same time save the 
face of the army. The Dreyfusists did not accept 
this solution, however; they demanded complete 
vindication. In 1906, after the Court of Cassa- 
tion had set aside the second verdict, Dreyfus was 


restored to the army with the rank of major and 
decorated with the cross of the Legion of 

Naturally the Dreyfus affair had important its 
political effects. It was utilized, says Bodley,^ ^^^^ 
"by the Reactionaries against the Republic, by 
the clericals against the non-Catholics, by the 
anti-clericals against the church, by the military 
party against the parhamentarians, and by the 
revolutionary Socialists against the army. It 
was also conspicuously used by rival Republican 
politicians against one another, and the chaos 
of political groups was further confused by it." 
Every one took sides. The most significant as- 
pect of the controversy was the close alliance 
between army and church — the army which 
had blundered into condemning an innocent man 
and which, to disguise its mistake, had denounced 
every accusation as dictated by unpatriotic 
motives; the church, which had in every other 
crisis (such as the Seize Mai and the Boulanger 
affair) shown its hostility to the Republic and 
whose clergy and newspapers now gave pas- 
sionate support to the army. Both army and 
church suffered for this. Republicans, except 
those of the conservative sort, became pacifists 
and (to put it mildly) anti-clericals. They formed 
a combination known as the bloc which purged 
the army of its reactionary officers, freed the 

* Encyclopadia Britanntca, eleventh edition, Vol. X, page 

C 293 ]; 


of 1898 
and the 

schools of ecclesiastical domination, and effected 
a complete divorce between church and state. 

It was not the elections of 1898,^ occurring as 
they did before the dramatic suicide of Henry, 
but the subsequent developments of the Drey- 
fus affair that led to the new political combi- 
nations. The elections had made no marked 
changes in the complexion of the Chamber. 
While the Right lost some twenty seats, the 
Rallies, or Action Liberale Populaire (who had 
much in common with the Right), gained eight 
seats, and a new group of Nationalists (former 
Boulangists and anti-Semites) won twelve or fif- 
teen seats. Among the Republicans, the Progress- 
ists (or Moderates) were weakened by successes 
of the Radicals and Radical-Socialists (now 178 
deputies) and the Socialists (now 57 deputies). 
For a time it was uncertain what kind of a ma- 
jority could be held together in support of a 
cabinet. Meline, who had been premier since 
1896 with a homogeneous ministry of Moderates, 
was forced out of office when he allied himself 
with the Right, a resolution of the Chamber de- 
claring that the government should rely upon 
"an exclusively Republican majority." He was 
followed by Brisson (Radical cabinet) and 
Dupuy (Republican concentration cabinet). In 
the meantime (February, 1899) the election of 

* Parliament, finding the autumn elections inconvenient, 
had postponed the election period from September, 1897, to 
May, 1898. 



fimile Loubet as President, upon the death of 
Felix Faure, was interpreted as a victory for the 
Dreyfusists. The reactionaries, who felt that 
France was escaping them, made hostile de- 
monstrations; they assaulted Loubet at the Au- 
teuil races; a few months later they actually 
conspired to overthrow the Republic. There 
were ominous signs of insubordination among 
officers of the army. It required a strong hand 
and a definite policy to check such manifesta- 
tions. In June, 1899, Waldeck-Rousseau formed 
his cabinet of "Republican defense." 

"Republican defense" differed from "Re- 
publican concentration" in the fact that it 
implied a policy of retaliation against the ene- 
mies of the Republic in army and church. It 
implied also a wider sweep to the Left. Not only 
were Radicals brought into the cabinet; the 
Socialist Alexandre Millerand, author of the 
Saint-Mande program, became minister of com- 
merce and industry. This union of the groups 
of the Left — a few revolutionary Socialists and 
somewhat more than half the Progressists held 
aloof — soon came to be known as the Republi- 
can bloc. It lasted till 1905 when the Socialists, 
refusmg further cooperation with bourgeois gov- 
ernments, withdrew. 

Waldeck-Rousseau was not opposed to the The 
church, but to those elements in the church ^''^°*^*' 

' ^ lions 

which were most active in propaganda against Law, 
the Republic — the religious orders, and espe- ^^^ 



daily the Jesuits and Assumptionists. He carried 
through Parliament (1901) the Associations Law. 
This law, designed primarily to authorize trade 
unions, dealt specifically with the religious orders 
as well. The orders could be authorized only 
by statute; they could, after authorization, be 
dissolved by decree; and no member of any 
unauthorized order could conduct any educa- 
tional establishment or teach in one. 

It cannot be said that the elections of 1902 
gave evidence of enthusiasm even for this mild 
anti-clerical measure. In the new Chamber the 
ministry had a majority of little more than 50 
votes, the Progressists — led by Meline, Ribot, 
and Charles Dupuy — having allied themselves 
with the opposition.^ On June 6 Waldeck- 
Rousseau resigned. Because of his forceful per- 
sonality and sound judgment, perhaps still more 
because of the formation of the bloc, he had held 
office longer than any premier under the Third 
Republic — almost three years. Ill health and 
the prospect of an embittered struggle compelled 
him to retire. His mantle fell upon £mile Combes 
who lacked both the force of Waldeck-Rousseau 
and his broad vision. 

Combes had, as the fortunes of French pre- 
miers go, a long tenure of office (1902-1905); but 

* The government forces included 48 ministerial Republi- 
cans (former Progressists), 228 Radicals and Radical-Social- 
ists, and 45 Socialists; the opposition forces, 45 Nationalists, 
33 Right, 50 Ralliesy and 140 Progressists. 



during that period he was less the leader than Combes 
the servant of the majority. Under Waldeck- ^^Jj, 
Rousseau the four groups of the Left (Democratic can bioc» 
Union or Ministerial Republicans, Radical Left, ^^^ 
Radicals and Radical-Socialists, and Socialists) 
had begun to act through a joint committee, the 
Delegation of the Lefts. Under Combes that 
committee usurped the direction of policy. 
"The cabinet during the three years he held 
office," says Dimnet,^ "was purely a name; the 
heads of parliamentary groups, meeting regu- 
larly the prime minister and informing him in 
advance of the pleasure of their adherents, did 
duty for the ministers." "Every day the cabi- 
net would meet as usual at the Elysee, and the 
routine of government seemed just the same as 
ever; every day also a consultation of a much 
more practical character was held at the Cham- 
ber in the premier's office. There M. Combes 
met the chiefs and w^hips of the various groups, 
not, of course, in the whole Chamber, but in the 
majority; submitted to them the order of the 
day, took their opinions, made sure by a very 
simple calculation of the number of votes that 
each opinion represented, and decided upon 
ministerial action accordingly." ^ 

In his attitude towards the church. Combes Combes 
was prepared to go much further than Waldeck- ^^^.^ 
Rousseau. He had studied for the priesthood; 

^ France Herself Again, page 62. 
' Dimnet, op. cit., page 115. 



tion of 

he had written an essay on St. Thomas Aquinas; 
and now he hated the church with a deep and ^ 
abiding hatred. Perhaps he represented the 
dominant temper of the country. The hostile 
reception which the church had given to the 
Associations Law, a legitimate and even a gener- 
ous measure, seemed to show that the time for 
moderation was past. If extreme counsels pre- 
vailed under Combes, the church — mixing in 
politics, inculcating anti-Republican doctrines, 
refusing to recognize the claims of modern 
liberalism — clearly must bear a large share in 
the blame. Combes acted with severity. He 
used the law to suppress rather than to regulate 
the religious orders, easily persuading the cham- 
bers to refuse authorization and afterwards, in 
the face of resistance on the part of the monks 
and their sympathizers as well as disobedience 
on the part of certain army officers, closing some 
fifteen hundred establishments. 

It was Combes who took the first steps toward 
the separation of church and state. He had 
become involved in disputes over the appoint- 
ment of bishops, the visit of President Loubet 
to the King of Italy (which gave great offense to 
Pius X), and other matters. A complete breach 
of diplomatic relations ensued. Papers seized 
in the papal legation showed that the nuncio had 
been intriguing actively in French politics. It 
was this situation that persuaded Combes to 
propose the denunciation of the Concordat of 



i8oi, an agreement between Napoleon I and 
the Pope, settling the terms of union between 
church and state. The Separation Law, which 
was adopted at the close of 1905, nearly eleven 
months after the fall of Combes, was largely the 
work of the Socialist Aristide Briand who re- 
ported it from committee. Under this law the 
government gave up all right to nominate or 
appoint bishops, guaranteed pensions to aged 
priests, and left the churches in the hands of 
local associations which the clergy could form 
very much as they saw fit. The Roman Catholic 
Church was simply given a status such as it had 
in England or in the United States. The Vatican 
might have dampened the zeal of its enemies by 
a ready acquiescence; but ignoring the fact that 
a great part of the French people had come to 
distrust the church and even repudiate the form 
of Christianity that the church taught, Pius 
X refused to recognize the law. His bitter 
attacks upon the government merely strength- 
ened anti-clerical feeling. The elections of 1906 
gave the opposition, which included 66 Progress- 
ists of the Meline school, only 174 of the 591 
deputies. The four groups supporting the gov- 
ernment controlled 343 votes. Further to the 
left were the independent Socialists (22 dep- 
uties) and the Unified Socialists (52 deputies), 
groups which, in 1906, no longer adhered to the 
The Combes ministry was pacifist as well as 

[ 299 ] 


anti-clerical. It was, after all, under the control 
Pacifist of the Socialists who, by threats of secession, 
Mfldl" could exact terms for their continued support. 
Jaures, the Socialist leader, was in a position to 
dictate the cabinet policy, on certain points at 
least. The Socialist belief in pacifism and inter- 
nationalism found in Combes a ready convert 
who allowed the red flag instead of the tricolor 
to be displayed on official occasions and the 
"Internationale" to be played instead of the 
"Marseillaise." Throughout the country, in- 
deed, patriotism was at a low ebb. It was said 
that the absorption of France by another State 
would be no calamity for the people; a professor 
in the Superior Normal School condemned pa- 
triotism before his classes and was not repri- 
manded. Never had belief in the fraternity of 
nations been so complete. "War appeared as 
a barbarous impossibility," says Dimnet,^ "and 
the chief preoccupation of the ministers of war 
and marine was to civilize the army and navy, 
turn the ships and barracks into institutions for 
the civic perfection of young Frenchmen, and, 
in short, prepare the world for universal peace." 
Officers were expected to teach the arts of peace; 
they lectured on such subjects as the raising of 
bees and pigeons. General Andre, the minister 
of war, falling in with the pacifist point of view, 
introduced a bill to reduce military service from 
three to two years, a bill which was passed 

* Op. cit.i page 8i. 



shortly after the fall of Combes and which, 
though placing France at an obvious disadvan- 
tage in case of German attack, was not repealed 
till 191 3. Under the journalist minister, Camille 
Pelletan, the navy, like the army, fell into 

Combes wished to republicanize and democ- FaUof 
ratize the army. The Dreyfus affair had shown °°^ ®* 
the need of taking measures of this kind. Year 
after year two hundred thousand young men 
passed into the army and were subjected too 
often to anti-Republican influences. In "purify- 
ing" the army, however. General Andre resorted 
to methods which were quite as objectionable as 
the clerical intrigues denounced by the govern- 
ment. He made use of secret information sent 
in by Freemasons. Officers were spied upon 
even by their fellow-officers; if they went to 
church, if they carried prayer books, if they 
failed to show proper regard for the prefect, the 
minister of war heard about it. Some of the 
secret reports came into the hands of a Catholic 
deputy and, when published by him, damaged 
the cabinet irretrievably. Combes did not wait 
to be voted out. In January, 1905, when his 
majority was reduced to six, he delivered his 
resignation to the President. Not the general 
policies of the cabinet, but the methods of car- 
rying them out had alienated his supporters. 
Maurice Rouvier who succeeded him was a 
milder man. He stopped the removal of army 



officers; he appealed, in a rather cryptic fashion, 
to "an enlarged majority"; and he gained the 
support of a good many Progressists, although 
he admitted none of them to office. He succeeded 
in carrying to final passage the measures reduc- 
ing the term of military service and separating 
Church and State; but, accused by some of 
being too mild, and by others of being too harsh 
in the enforcement of the Separation Law, he 
was compelled to resign in March, 1906, shortly 
after the election of Armand Fallieres as the 
successor to President Loubet. 
"Unifi- Meanwhile a momentous change had been 
^^e taking place in French poHtical life. Hitherto, 
Socialist the Socialist deputies, though increasing in num- 
*^' hers, had been held together by no regular party 
organization. They had professed divergent 
views; they had belonged to divergent factions. 
But, in 1905, after a Socialist congress at Am- 
sterdam had condemned participation in bour- 
geois governments, these factions composed their 
differences, expressed common faith in the pure 
gospel of Karl Marx, and joined hands in the 
Unified Socialist party — the French section of 
the international Socialist party. The new party 
formulated strict rules to bind local federations 
in their choice of parHamentary candidates,^ 

* As to electoral tactics, the local federations were left free 
to recommend compromise candidates whenever Socialist 
candidates had been unsuccessful on the first ballot. (The 
conduct of elections is explained in Chapter VI.) Jaures 




and it not only forbade Socialist deputies taking 
office in the cabinet, but placed them under the 
control of the party's national council. Not all 
the Socialists in parliament entered the party. 
Those who believed in cooperating with other 
groups of the Left remained outside and took 
the name of Independent Socialists or (later) 
Socialist Republicans. Some of them were men 
of great eminence: Alexandre Millerand, Victor ^ 
Augagneur, Aristide Briand, Rene Viviani. The 
cleavage between Unified Socialists and Inde- 
pendent Socialists was illustrated in October, 
1905* when a banquet was tendered to Aristide 
Briand as a tribute for his services in shaping 
the Separation Law. Jaures took no notice of 
an invitation to attend the banquet; Briand, in 
the course of his address, deprecated the attitude 
of aloofness, of criticism without responsibility, 
which the Unified Socialists had assumed. 

The founding of this new party and its steady its effect 
accretion of strength may have a wholesome effect "^"^ 
upon parliamentary conditions. The Socialists, parties 
like the monarchists who have now disappeared 
as a serious political force, are irreconcilables. 
They wish to transform the government, not by 
the slow process of legislative reforms, not by 
cooperating with bourgeois governments as they 
did while Combes was in office, but by revolu- 

favored this concession because it would help the Republicans 
of the Left against the Reactionaries; Guesde opposed it as a 
sacrifice of principle. 



tion. The more formidable the Socialists grow, 
the more ready will the Republican groups be tOv 
combine in defense of existing institutions. The 
new menace on the Left will compel some ap- 
proach to union, as did the old menace on the 
Right; indeed, since the Socialists are much 
better organized than the monarchists were, 
much more united, and much more hopeful for 
the future of their cause, an effective union may 
reasonably be expected. Perhaps something like 
a two-party system may emerge before long. 
"The bourgeois Republicans of all denomina- 
tions," says Guerard,^ "aspire to form a party 
of social conservation, whose sole enemies would 
be the Socialists, trade-unionists, and anti-mili- 
tarists. The sooner this evolution is completed, 
the sooner definite lines are drawn, the better 
for French political life, which suffers from the 
prevailing confusion of party names, principles, 
and policies." 
Th« The consolidation of Socialist factions was 

™*syn- Jtself the outcome of a menace on the Left — 
dicausm Syndicalism.* The workmen, or rather the 
more turbulent spirits among them, had begun 
to show disquieting symptoms: symptoms of 

* French Civilization in the Nineteenth Century (1914), page 

* See L. Levine, The Labor Movement in France (1912: 
revised ed., 1914); G. Weill, Histoire du Mouvement Social 
en France de 1852-1910 (2d ed., 191 2); A. L. Guerard, op. 
cit.; J. A. Estey, Revolutionary Syndicalism (19 13). 



impatience with parliamentary Socialism, which 
seemed to have become "harmless and respect- 
able"; with the Socialist politicians, who were 
nothing but bourgeois after all; and with the 
somewhat distant prospect of establishing the 
Socialistic millennium only when the political 
machinery had been captured. They felt that 
the class struggle was economic, not political; 
and from the economic standpoint they were 
organized in syndicates or trade unions which, 
though formerly submissive to the will of SociaHst 
politicians, were now controlled by the anar- 
chistic General Federation of Labor (Confedera- 
tion Generale du Travail). The Syndicalists still 
adhered to Socialist doctrines, but they wished 
to employ methods of their own. They believed 
in "direct action," in violence, in taking what 
they wanted by force.^ Direct action might take 
the form of slow work, inferior work, destruction 
of property (sabotage), or, above all, the strike. 
By striking, the Syndicalists could not only 
obtain material advantages, but they could at 
the same time accentuate the class struggle and 
open the way to the final goal which was to be 
achieved by means of a general strike. The final 
goal.? Apparently it involved the ownership of 
industries by the operatives and the substitu- 
tion of an industrial state — a federation of labor 

^ Georges Sorel, in his Illusions du Progres and Reflexions 
sur la violence (which may be had in translation), has lent a 
certain dignity to this Syndicalist philosophy of force. 

[ 305 ] 


unions — for the political state. This movement 
threatened seriously to deplete the Socialist 
ranks. In fact, the very existence of the State 
seemed to be imperiled in the years 1906-1910. 
Disorder prevailed on every hand. Syndicalism 
invaded the government services; ^ the postal 
employees struck; the railroad employees struck; 
the vine-growers of the south rose in rebellion. 
The state was saved by the sudden resurgence of 
French nationalism under the stimulus of Ger- 
man aggressions and by the firm leadership of 
Georges Clemenceau and Aristide Briand. 
Inter- For some time the importance of interna- 

reUtions- ^^^^^^ relations had been obscured by a succes- 
the sion of domestic crises. Boulanger, "Panama,** 

^^'^"^ Dreyfus, and the anti-clerical legislation had 
intervened. The Lansdow^ne-Cambon conven- 
tion of 1904 had settled controversies which 
might have drawn France and Great Britain 
into war, France recognizing British predomi- 
nance in Egypt, and receiving in return a free 
hand in Morocco. This Entente Cordiale, which 
was necessitated by the growing power and ambi- 
tion of Germany, gave France a new sense of 
security; the sky was clear; and the man in the 
street, so far as he speculated about the future, 
seemed to have found salvation in the cult of 
pacifism and international brotherhood. Ger- 
many, however — and even German Socialists, 
in spite of their pacifistic mouthings — lived in 
» See Chapter IV. 

Bust by Rodin 


a dream of world domination and wished to make 
that dream an actuality. The collapse of France's 
ally, Russia, in her war with Japan (1904-1905) 
gave Germany a chance safely to test the 
strength of the Entente Cordiale. On March 
31, 1905, the Kaiser, landing at Tangier, declared 
that his visit was a recognition of the independ- The 
ence of Morocco This was an afFront to France ^^^^^ 
with her special interests in Morocco; but France, 
in view of the disorganization of army and navy 
and the prostration of her ally before Japan, 
could not risk the prospect of war, even with the 
assistance of Great Britain. She dropped her 
foreign minister, Delcasse, whose policy had 
tended towards the isolation of Germany, and 
agreed to submit the Moroccan question to 
an international conference. Unfortunately, this v 
conference, which was held at Algeciras in 1906 
and which conceded certain special privileges to 
France, did not bring the controversy to an end. 
Friction continued. It was not till 191 1, when 
war was so imminent that the British ministry 
felt it advisable publicly to announce its support 
of France, that Germany acknowledged the para- 
mount position of France in Morocco in return 
for a large strip of territory in the Congo. Next 
year Morocco became a French protectorate. 

The truculence of Germany had startled and Revival 
angered the French people. It had suddenly 
awakened them to the danger of an unbearable 
foreign domination. "The Tangier affair was a 


of patri- 


flash of lightning. After which the clouds 
lifted," says Ernest Dimnet. "It was one of 
those events which rapidly destroy a whole 
system of thought or, at any rate, throw into 
the shade the protagonists who only a short 
time ago seemed alone to hold the field, mean- 
while liberating another system until then un- 
noticed or disregarded. What has been called 
the regeneration of France dated from that 
shock." "In truth it is on the memory of those 
moments that France has lived ever since, and 
her fountain of new energy rose when she real- 
ized the significance of the Kaiser's demonstra- 
tion in Morocco." * 
vigorous The country now felt the need of capable 
sWp"f' leadership. The Radical-Socialist Georges Cle- 
ciemen- menceau ("The Tiger"), whose role had hitherto 
iw6^ been that of critic and destroyer, came into 
1909 power, first as minister of the interior in the short- 

lived Sarrien cabinet which his forceful personal- 
ity dominated, afterwards as premier (October, 
1906, to July, 1909). He kept the chambers in 
proper submission to his leadership, employing 
at times an almost flippant tone in his explana- 
tions to the deputies. The basis of authority 
was moving from the deputies, who had been so 
capricious in making and unmaking cabinets, to 
the premier. Clemenceau did not wait for the 
whispered orders of the majority as Combes 
had done; the Delegation of the Lefts, so power- 
* Op. cit.f pages 151 and 159. 



ful from 1902 to 1905, had disappeared.^ He did 
not attempt to reconstitute the Republican bloc, 
although the cabinet included Moderates, like 
Barthou and Pichon, and the Independent Social- 
ists, Briand and Viviani. He shaped his own 
course and let the majority, with his own Radical 
following as a nucleus, register approval. His 
program stood firmly against any diminution of 
the military power of France; in view of the 
epidemic of labor disturbances it included a 
number of social reforms; and it favored con- 
ciliatory methods in the enforcement of the 
Separation Law. Outvoted on a minor issue, 
Clemenceau resigned after holding office for two 
years and nine months. 

Briand, who succeeded him, retained half the Briand 
members of the outgoing cabinet and most of its Jgo'^^*^' 
policies. He dealt firmly with the lawless Syn- i9ii 
dicalists, got Parliament to enact a pending bill 
for old-age pensions, and sought to assuage the 
angry emotions which the domestic struggles of 
the past decade had aroused. As always happens 
in France, the government came through the 
elections of 1910 successfully.^ The four parlia- 

* In 1908 the Delegation of the Lefts was brought to life 
again. It included the Democratic Left, the Radical Left, 
the Radical-Socialists, and the Socialist Republicans. The 
Republican Union (Progressists) was not invited to join; the 
Unified Socialists refused to do so. The experiment failed. 
' The new Chamber was composed as follows: 
Independents, 21; Right, 20; A. L. P., 32; Republican 



mentary groups which habitually voted with the 
government (Democratic Left, Radical Left, 
Radical and Radical-Socialist, Socialist-Republi- 
can) won 373 of the 597 seats. The ministerial 
declaration, submitted to Parliament after the 
elections, emphasized two fundamental aspects 
of Briand's policy: conciliation and leadership. 
In view of their victory, Briand said, "Repub- 
licans may face the future with full security; 
but precisely because they are conscious of their 
strength they must resist every temptation to 
misuse it. In no case, under no pretext, should 
it be transfoimed in their hands into an instru- 
Hto ment of tyranny and oppression nor engender in 

concuia- ^^^ couduct of pubHc busiuess violations of per- 
tioa sonal liberty which all right-thinking men would 

condemn. Universal suffrage has expressed itself 
clearly. It intends that justice and liberty should 
be not the exclusive possession of some, but under 
every circumstance assured to all, equal to all. 
. . . Victory is won, but enthusiasm continues; 
the combatants have thoughts of rancor and 
reprisals; they dream of a victory more complete, 
of a more absolute extinction of the enemy; 
they may commit atrocities. It is the moment 
when the commander who respects his army 
and wishes victory to be without stain should 
throw himself between the combatants and cry 

Union (Progressists), 76; Democratic Left, 77; Radical Left, 
113; Radicals and Radical-Socialists, 149; Socialist Republi- 
cans, 34; Unified Socialists, 75. 



to the conquerors: * Enough! Go no farther!*" 
And as to leadership, "the fundamental func- 
tion of the government is to govern; it will not 
allow that function to be endangered. It means 
to employ the executive authority in all its mani- 
festations, with all the responsibilities which it 
involves, without allowing it to be enfeebled by 
abusive interference." 

A few months later, Briand's determination to His 
enforce the law was put to the test by railroad acuoY^ 
strikes which paralyzed the transportation system in the 
and were accompanied by rioting and sabotage. ^^^ 
Briand proved himself a resolute man of action. 
He placed the railroads under military control 
and called the striking employees to the colors. 
Nor was he at all unnerved by the savage attacks 
of Socialist deputies. There is, he said, a right 
superior to all other rights, the right of a coun- 
try to preserve its independence and power. 
"A country cannot allow its frontiers to remain 
exposed; that is impossible. And I am going to 
say something that will startle you: if the gov- 
ernment had not found legal means for retaining 
control of its frontiers, of its railroads — that is 
to say, of the instrument necessary to national 
defense, — if recourse to illegal measures had 
been necessary, very well, the government would 
have gone that far." Socialists and Radical- 
Socialists regarded this as an apology for dicta- 
torship; the Chamber broke into an uproar; and 
although the government was sustained by a 



majority of 146 (all moderate deputies gathering 
about the cabinet), Briand resigned on Novem- 
ber 2. Next day he returned to office with a 
reorganized cabinet, ready to remain as long as 
the four allied groups of the Left should stand 
behind him. On February 24 the government 
was interpellated on the leniency of the courts in 
dealing with the reconstitution of suppressed 
religious estabHshments and with the reopening 
of closed schools. Briand, reasonably enough, 
refused to take responsibility for the decisions of 
the courts. When he found himself deserted by 
two thirds of the Radical-Socialists and his ma- 
jority reduced to 24, he decided that a new 
premier would better be able to carry out the 
policy of pacification and of even-handed 
Monis The new cabinet, headed by Senator Monis, 

Caiiiaux, ^^^ predominantly Radical-Socialist,^ moderates 
1911- like Poincare and Ribot refusing to join it. 
Yet there was no such noticeable shifting of 
policy as might have been expected, and the 
four allied groups of the Left gave almost unani- 
mous support. In less than four months the 
minister of finance, Joseph Caiiiaux, a promi- 
nent, unscrupulous politician, supplanted Monis 
as premier. There was no change of policy. 
Caiiiaux declared that the honor of France would 
be maintained by its alliances and friendships as 
well as by the increasing strength of army and 

^ Eight of the twelve ministers belonged to that party. 


navy. His would be "a government which gov- 
erns and pursues a policy of social evolution." 
He made no concessions to the Socialists, oppos- 
ing motions which would have compelled the 
railroads to reinstate dismissed employees, pro- 
ceeding vigorously against pacifist propaganda 
in the military barracks, and refusing to permit 
Socialist manifestations against the government. 
The high command of the army was reorganized, 
Caillaux himself did not inspire confidence, how- 
ever. When it transpired that he had negotiated 
privately with the German government during 
the last stages of the Morocco crisis, the cabinet 
fell (January, 191 2). 

For the next year Senator Raymond Pbincare, The 
a Republican of moderate views, presided over 2^^! 
the council of ministers. Briand served under car6, 
him as minister of justice; Millerand, as minister ^^^^* 
of war. Conciliation, national defense, and elec- Barthou, 
total reform were the three cardinal points in J^JJ" 
his program. He carried through the Chamber 
a bill providing for proportional representation.^ 
Elected President of the Republic in January, 
1913, notwithstanding the vehement opposition 
of Socialists and Radical-Socialists who thought 
him too conservative and too sympathetic in his 
attitude towards the church,^ he was succeeded 
by Briand. Briand resigned two months later 
when the Senate refused to accept the propor- 

^ Described in Chapter VI. 
* See Chapter II. 



tional representation bill.* Louis Barthou (Demo- 
cratic Left), who stood very close to Poincare and 
Briand politically — he was minister of justice in 
the outgoing cabinet — made no further attempt 
to coerce the Senate, although he himself fa- 
vored electoral reform. He had inherited from 
his predecessor another bill, one which he felt 
to be of more immediate importance, a bill re- 

Miiitary- storing the three-year period of military service. 

service Hateful as it was to the Socialists and to most 


Radical-Socialists, the bill passed both chambers 

with the help of conservative groups. The 
Barthou cabinet did not survive long. The Rad- 
ical-Socialists, who had obtained only three port- 
folios, had regarded it with suspicion from the 
first; it included Thierry, a leader of the Progress- 
ists, and other men of conservative mold; its 
chief was too militaristic, too harsh towards labor, 
too complaisant towards the church. Defeated by 
25 votes on a proposal to exempt a new loan from 
taxation, Barthou resigned on December i. 
The The Radical-Socialists, having been instru- 

^°"' mental in his overthrow, now came to power 
cabinet. Under Gaston Doumergue. Seven of the twelve 
1913- ministers were Radical-Socialists. In view of the 
approaching electoral campaign, the party had 
recently "unified'* itself at the Congress of Pau, 
adopted a minimum program, and elected as 
its president the discredited Joseph Caillaux, who 

* He still had a large majority in the Chamber. See 
Chapter III. 



now became once more minister of finance and 
directing genius of the cabinet. The principles 
enunciated at Pau sat Hghtly on Doumergue. 
He seemed to prefer the principles of the preced- 
ing cabinet, explaining that the proximity of the 
elections made a restricted program necessary. 
The cabinet became involved in scandal. It 
transpired that in 191 1, when Caillaux was 
minister of finance and Monis premier, the former 
asked and the latter obtained for him a post- 
ponement in the public prosecution of a notorious 
swindler. Both Caillaux and Monis (minister of Radical- 
marine) resigned. Nevertheless, in the elections p"^^^^* 
of 1914 the Unified Radical and Radical-SociaHst in decline 
party more than held its own, winning 172 of 
the 602 seats. This must not be taken to mean 
that the party which had played such a promi- 
nent role since the beginning of the century still 
possessed real vitality and still enjoyed the con- 
fidence of the country. It was fast approaching 
bankruptcy. Its president stood convicted of 
rascality. At the very moment when it boasted 
of "unification" and of steadfast principles its 
candidates, anxious for election on any terms, 
flouted the Pau program. The party was pledged 
to repeal the three-year military law, yet Dou- 
mergue spoke strongly in favor of national de- 
fense and declared that he would loyally apply 
the law while the European situation remained 
what it was. Success in the elections was pri- 
marily due to the fact that the party, controlling 


of 1914 


the administrative machinery, had extensive 
influence and patronage at its disposal. There 
is no "swing of the pendulum" in France. The 
government always wins the elections — "makes'* 
the elections, as the phrase goes. 
Elections When the new Chamber assembled in June, 
1914, the deputies indicated their group affiha- 
tions as follows; Right, 16; Action Liberate 
Populaire, 23; Republican Federation (formerly 
Progressists), 36; Democratic Left, 34; Republi- 
cans of the Left, 54; Radical Left, 65; Independ- 
ent Left, 23; Radical and Radical-Socialists, 172; 
Socialist-Republicans, 23; Unified Socialists, 102; 
"Not inscribed,'' 46; ^ Independents, 8. The 
two new groups (Republicans of the Left and 
Independent Left) dated from 1914. The Cham- 
ber was not quite so chaotic as the mere enumera- 
tion of groups would suggest, because most of 
the members of four groups (Democratic Left, 
Republicans of the Left, Radical Left, and Inde- 
pendent Left) were identified with either the 
Democratic-Republican party or the Federation 
of the Lefts, a new party whose formation by 
Briand, Millerand, and others definitely marked 
the end of the anti-clerical coalition, the Republi- 
can hloc,^ 

That is, deputies who belong to no group, but who 
associate themselves for the purpose of securing representa- 
tion on parliamentary committees. See Chapter VII. The 
deputies not inscribed generally vote with the Right. 
* Regarding these parties see Chapter X. 



In the elections the candidates had been called Ren6 
upon to express their attitude on three main ^^^^^ 
issues: the three-year military law, proportional wi*- 
representation, and the ** controlled'* income tax 
(the question being as to whether the govern- 
ment should have authority to investigate and 
check the tax returns). In the new Chamber 
there would be an affirmative majority on all 
three questions, but in each case the major- 
ity would be differently constituted. The Uni- 
fied Socialists, the Socialist-Republicans, and the 
Radical-Socialists were arrayed against the three- 
year law; they formed part of the slender ma- 
jority favoring the controlled income tax; and 
proportional representation could not be carried 
without the support of the Unified Socialists who, 
on that issue, parted company with the Radical- 
Socialists.^ What sort of cabinet could hope to 
carry out the mandate of the country (if the 
election returns may be interpreted as showing 
such a mandate) in favor of all three measures? 
No mere coalitions of groups would suffice. 
Doumergue, not liking the prospects of naviga- 
tion, scuttled his ship. No one seemed anxious 
to face the perils he had shirked. President 
Poincare appealed successively to five politi- 
cians — representing the Democratic left, the 
Radical left, the Radical-Socialists, and the 

^ Five sixths of the Radical-Socialist deputies were op- 
posed to proportional representation; the Socialist-Republi- 
cans were equally divided. 



Socialist-Republicans — before Alexandre Ribot, 
a senator of rather conservative type, consented 
to form a cabinet. The Chamber turned him 
out at once. Rene Viviani, the Socialist-Re- 
publican, then took office with a cabinet which 
resembled that of Doumergue (seven of the 
former ministers reappearing), but reduced the 
representation of the Radical-Socialists and in- 
creased that of the Democratic Left.^ Viviani 
had pledged himself to maintain the three-year 
service law, although his own party and the 
Radical-Socialist party were pledged to repeal 
it. In a vote of confidence the Chamber gave 
him a majority of 223. 
Cabinets Not long after Viviani became premier, the 
during the Qj-^^^ "yy^j- began. In the face of this crisis 

partisan conflicts disappeared; the parliamentary 
groups concluded a truce known as the Union 
sacree; and on August 26 Viviani recognized the 
new situation by reorganizing his cabinet and 
bringing in the moderate Republican Ribot and 
the Unified Socialists Marcel Sembat and Jules 
Guesde. For the moment at least the Socialists 
abandoned their conflict with the bourgeoisie. 
In October, 191 5, after the failure of its Balkan 
policy, the cabinet resigned. The new premier, 
Aristide Briand, adhering to the coalition plan, 
went farther than Viviani; he gave office not 

1 The cabinet included two Socialist-Republicans, four 
Radical-Socialists, two members of the Radical Left, and two 
of the Democratic Left. 



only to three Unified Socialists, but also to a 
deputy of the Right, Cochin. In his endeavor to 
satisfy the claims of all the groups, however, he 
had built up an unwieldy cabinet — twenty- 
three ministers including the undersecretaries; 
and it became necessary, fourteen months later, 
to reduce the cabinet to half its former size and 
to entrust the direction of the war to a group of 
five ministers. Briand resigned in March, 1917, 
after the Chamber had criticized his economic 
policy and driven from ofiice the war minister, 
General Lyautey. The two succeeding cabinets, 
which had to face military disappointments, 
sinister pro-German intrigues on the part of 
certain Radical-Socialists, and the hostility of 
the Unified Socialists, were short-lived. Ribot 
held office for six months, Painleve for two. A 
strong hand was needed. On November 15, 191 7, 
Georges Clemenceau, "The Tiger," now a man 
of advanced age but of indomitable spirit, became 
premier. He abandoned coalition. His cabinet 
included no Unified Socialists, no Socialist- 
Republicans, no conservative Republicans, no 
monarchists; it was more homogeneous than its 
predecessors, more closely identified with the Radi- 
cal-Socialist party. Clemenceau subordinated 
everything to the vigorous prosecution of the war. 
He fought the foreign enemy; he fought the 
domestic enemy — the bolshevistic Socialists, 
the traitors In the ranks of the Radical-Socialist 
party; and the country accepted his leadership 


after the 


with a splendid confidence. The post-war elec- 
tions, while disastrous to the Radical-Socialist 
party, did not weaken the position of the prime 
minister. He retired, however, in January, 1920, 
and was succeeded by Alexandre Millerand. 
PoUticai Under normal circumstances a new Chamber 
would have been elected in the spring of 1918. 
It was considered advisable, however, to prolong 
the life of the existing Chamber until the con- 
clusion of peace. The elections took place on 
November 16, 1919. In order to explain the 
character of the campaign and the results of 
the balloting three circumstances must be men- 
tioned: In the first place France was still under 
the spell of the war. The nation, though saved 
from annihilation, had suffered terrible losses; 
the practical business of supplying necessities 
and at the same time making good the wastage 
of war would absorb the full energies of the 
French people. "Hier la France devait vaincre 
ou perir," said Alexandre Millerand. "Au- 
jourd'hui il lui faut produire ou disparaitre." 
Internal dissensions must be dropped; the nation 
must act as a unit in the work of reconstruction. 
It was not the time to play with social experi- 
ments or revolutionary doctrines. In the second 
place the Unified Socialists, who sympathized 
with the soviet rulers of Russia, were busily 
propagating such doctrines. In 191 7 they had 
broken the party truce and begun to attack the 
government in the Chamber and in the country. 


They demanded peace by negotiation, a pleb- 
iscite to determine the future of Alsace-Lorraine, 
friendly relations with the Russian bolsheviki, 
freedom to attend the International Socialist 
Congress at Stockholm. They had refused to 
enter the cabinets of Ribot and Painleve. The 
extremists were in the saddle. So unpatriotic 
was the official conduct of the party that forty- 
one deputies, afterwards known as Dissident 
Socialists, seceded. It is not strange that sober- 
minded people had fears of a revolutionary out- 
break, a revival of the Commune of 1871. The 
danger was great enough to bring antagonistic 
political elements together in temporary union. 
In a rather unpolished, but characteristic, phrase 
Clemenceau sounded the note of the election 
campaign in his Strasbourg speech: "To hell 
{sus) with the bolsheviki!" Finally a new system 
of election had been adopted, a modified form 
of the scrutin de liste or general ticket having re- 
placed the scrutin d' arrondissement; ^ and the 
new system would undoubtedly w^ork to the ad- 
vantage of the Unified Socialists if separate lists 
of candidates were put forward by the numerous 
parties opposed to them. 

In October therefore the Democratlc-Republi- Foundation 
can party entered into negotiation with the other National 
parties and succeeded in finding a basis of coop- RepubUcan 
eration. "Each party, each candidate," said 
Adolphe Carnot, president of the Democratic- 

* The new election law is described in Chapter VI. 



Republican party, **wlll undoubtedly preserve 
his own ideal; but during the four years of the 
next legislature the grand work of national re- 
construction will be achieved through a program 
common to all Republicans." On this under- 
standing the A. L. P., the Republican Federation, 
the Socialist-Republicans, the Radical-Socialists, 
and a number of other organizations joined 
hands with the Democratic-Republican party 
and formed the National Republican hloc. 
Its program In a manifesto of October 24 the National 
Republican bloc pledged itself to "ensure the 
victory of the democratic Republic in social 
peace and progress; leave each signatory of this 
appeal entire independence as to the program 
he has formulated; but condemn and repudiate 
every alliance with reaction or with revolution; 
and recommend to Republican voters, in every 
district where it may be possible, union in defense 
of the following program." The program dealt 
mainly with questions on which all parties, even 
the Unified Socialists, would be likely to agree: 
the restoration of the devastated areas, eco- 
nomic reconstruction, agricultural development, 
etc. There were, however, two controversial 
clauses. One, directed against the Unified Social- 
ists, declared "war upon bolshevism, upon all 
dictatorships, upon all forms of violence," while 
promising at the same time the development of 
social laws and of the powers of syndicates. The 
other, referring to the anti-clerical laws, insisted 


upon "the absolute neutrality of the state and 
the school as the safeguard of absolute liberty 
of conscience/' ^ The program itself is not of 
much consequence. The vital point is that the 
formation of the blocy loose as its arrangements 
were, made it possible for the five parties to put 
forward a composite list in every district where 
the Socialists showed strength. 

It is perhaps significant that the officers of the Attitude 
Catholic party, the A. L. P., did not sigrf the °|e^^ 
manifesto of October 24. They had been taken party 
to task for adhering to the bloc and had felt it 
necessary, in a communication to the clerical 
organ, La Croix, to emphasize the fact that the 
party had gone into the coalition "with all its 
past and all its beliefs." La Croixy like some of 
the prelates, looked askance at the bloc. Dur- 
ing the campaign it opposed one list because 
some of the candidates were Protestants and 
another list because it bore the name of 
Alexandre Millerand. The archbishop of Paris, 
however, took a different view. "Better to cast 
your votes," he said, "for candidates who, with- 

* During the campaign the question of church and state 
was naturally discussed by the leading politicians. See 
especially the speech of Alexandre Millerand, Le Tempsy 
November 9, 19 19. In the department of the Seine the Hoc 
advocated constitutional amendments to secure the separation 
of powers, to Incorporate the essential principles of the Declara- 
tion of Rights, and to erect a supreme court which should 
protect those principles from Invasion by the government. It 
also advocated administrative reform. 



out giving satisfaction to all our legitimate de- 
mands, would permit us nevertheless to expect 
a course of action useful to the country, than to 
support others whose program might be more 
perfect, but whose almost certain defeat would 
risk opening the door to the enemies of religion 
and the social order." Apparently the A. L. P. 
stood faithfully by its agreement; and a month 
after the elections one of its leaders spoke of 
"the imperious necessity of continuing the 
Union sacree, which has assured victory, and of 
establishing internal peace, social peace, and 
religious peace." 
Attitude As to the Radical-Socialist party, its position 
Radical- ^^'^^ ^ difficult one. The conviction of one of its 
Socialists leaders, Malvy, by the High Court of Justice, and 
the pending trial of its former president, Joseph 
Caillaux, on the charge of treason had struck it 
damaging blows. Led now by Edouard Herriot, 
Senator and Mayor of Lyons, it had broken with 
the Unified Socialists, but it could not look with 
equanimity upon cooperation with its bitter ene- 
mies towards the Right. True, Herriot spoke of 
administering the religious laws in a generous spirit, 
but it is not clear that he carried the left wing 
of the party with him. In many districts the 
Radical-Socialists put forward independent lists. 
Results of In the new Chamber there are 626 deputies, 
oi'ilw °°^4 seats having been assigned to the three de- 
partments of Alsace-Lorraine. Shortly after the 
elections, a table prepared by the Minister of 



the Interior gave the party or group affiliations 
loosely as follows:^ Conservatives, iii; Progres- 
sists, 126; Republicans of the Left, 139; Radicals 
and Radical-Socialists, 138; Socialist-Republicans, 
30; Unified Socialists (including four Dissidents — 
that is, Socialists who oppose violent measures), 
72. In view of the peculiar circumstances of 
the time, the confusion of old party lines in 
the common struggle against the Unified Social- 
ists, it was perhaps impossible to be more 
precise; even when Parliament met in Decem- 
ber, the deputies showed some indecision as 
to whether they would reconstitute the old groups 
or fuse into larger units. It was not till the 
end of January that the official membership list 
of the groups was published: ^ Independents, 29; 
Non-inscrits, 21; Republican and Social Action, 
46; Democratic-Republican Entente, 183; Demo- 
cratic-Republican Left, 93; Republicans of the 
Left, 61; Radical-Socialists, 86; Socialist-Re- 
publicans, 26; Unified Socialists, 68.^ The In- 
dependents and Non-inscrits apparently include 
some of the more conservative elements; the 
regular groups are now reduced from ten to 
seven. The aggregate loss in the elections fell 
mainly upon the Radical-Socialists, who lost 86 

^ The table does not include 10 deputies elected in the 

2 Journal officiel, Jan. 30, 1920. 

^ Four other members were elected, but, being opposed to 
revolutionary measures, refused to join the group. 



seats, and upon the Unified Socialists, who lost * 
34 seats. The aggregate gain, while shared by 
the Democratic-Republican party (Democratic- 
Republican Left and Republicans of the Left), 
went mainly to the two parties that have opposed 
anti-clerical legislation, the Republican Federa- 
tion (Progressists) and the Action Liberale Popu- 
laire. It is evident that the war has produced, 
for the time at least, a Catholic revival. 

Alexandre Millerand, who succeeded Clemen- 
ceau as premier on January 20, 1920, broke away 
from traditional practice in distributing cabinet 
portfolios. He made no attempt to base the 
cabinet upon a coalition of groups. Only three 
of his colleagues could properly be styled profes- 
sional politicians. Millerand appealed for sup- 
port, not to the political coteries in Parliament, 
but to organized and articulate economic inter- 
ests outside. Banking institutions were repre- 
sented by Marsal, minister of finance, who was 
not even a member of Parliament; the federated 
chambers 'of commerce, by Isaac; the federated 
agricultural associations, by Ricard; and the 
new economic council, which includes not only 
artisans and public employees, but manager^ and 
engineers as well, by Coupat. "The Millerand 
ministry emphasizes the passing of parliamenta- 
rism and the rise to power of the economic unit 
in government." ^ 

* E. D. in The Nation (New York), April 10, 1920, page 458. 




F)LITICAL parrties^ once prescribed and out- 
lawed as fomefiters of sedition and solemnly 
condemned by George Washington in his farewell 
address, are ne^ accepted as a con\^nient, even a 
necessary, instrument of democratic control. 
Their function is something like that of attorneys 
in the courts of law: they marshal the arguments; 
the jury decides. By putting forward candidates, 
by drawing up platforms, by conducting cam- 
paigns, they make it possible for the electorate to 
act efficiently. They formulate questions which 
the electorate can answer with a "yes" or "no." ^ 
But while parties exist wherever popular govern- 
ment exists, they are not always of the same type. 
They vary with political conditions. There is, 
for instance, marked difference in the functioning 
of English and American parties, while neither an 
Englishman nor an American can easily penetrate 
the mysteries of party arrangements in the 
countries of continental Europe. Any one who 
attempts to describe foreign party organizations 
should be wary and circumspect. It is easy to be 





* On the function of parties see A. L. Lowell, Public Opinion 
and Popular Government (1913). 



misled by superficial resemblances to familiar 
phenomena at home; it is easy to brush aside 
rebellious facts which will not square with a 
ready-made formula and to ignore vague half 
lights which may really be of great significance. 

Some years ago the French historian, Charles 
Seignobos, sounded a warning against such mis- 
conceptions.^ "The character of the French 
parties differs very materially from that of Ameri- 
can and English parties/' he wrote, "it deviates 
widely from the conception that the theorists of 
public rights have formed for themselves of a 
political party, according to the English and 
American models. Consequently, It Is not as- 
tounding that the French parties are a puzzle to 
foreign observers, and appear to them like a 
monstrous vagary. ... In the English countries 
every party is made up with a definite official 
programme, common to the whole party. In 
France there Is no exact equivalent to the Ameri- 
can platform; the word * programme* means or- 
dinarily the * profession' of the political belief of 
each individual candidate. Each one presents 
himself with his own personal declaration, and 
there is no general declaration in the name of the 
party. . . . Often two deputies who belong to 
the same party speak a very different language 
according to the sentiments or customs of their 
electors. Even the same deputy will change his 

1 ** The Political Parties qf France" International Monthly, 
August 1901, pages 139-165. 



speech from one ballot to another, according to 
the allies of which he feels the need." And again: 
"In France the parties have no programme in a 
direct sense, no precise formula that defines their] 
politics and their demands. They have senti-j 
ments, passions, if you prefer it so, and general t 
tendencies which suffice to classify the politicians ! 
and those who elect them. Politics in France is ! 
purely an affaire de sentiment: the elector votes i 
for the candidate whose political feelings approach 
most nearly to his own. . . . French politics are 
directed, not by parties, but by tendencies, and 
those who desire to understand them must give 
heed, not to the programmes of the candidates 
but to the sentiments of the electoral masses." 

Part of what Professor Seignobos says is a Noef- 
little cryptic. To describe French politics as !^^* 
"purely an affaire de sentiment'* and in that way organi- 
contrasting with Anglo-American politics serves ^f°,^ 
only to make the mystery still more mysterious; woi 
such things as "sentiment" and "tendencies" 
may be observed in American politics; American 
voters have on occasion shown a sentimental 
tendency to stand by a party which has broken 
free from its principles and pledges. This much 
deserves emphasis, however: at the beginning of 
the century, when the article in question was 
written, there were no parties in the American 
sense, no political associations with a hierarchy 
of committees and conventions, with detailed 
platforms and discipHned ranks. 



In 1901 the seven groups in the Chamber of 
Deputies could hardly be called parties. They 
were, with the exception of the monarchist Right 
and the revolutionary Socialists, unorganized 
factions of the Republican party which had dis- 
integrated more and more after its chief mission 
of establishing the Republic had been accom- 
plished. It is true that they had a certain con- 
tinuity, each group persisting through successive 
parliaments, and principles of a sort, usually in- 
definite and formulated not by an official party 
convention, but by some prominent parliamentary 
leader, as Gambetta had formulated the Radical 
program at Belleville in 1869 and Millerand the 
SociaHst program at Saint-Mande in 1896. They 
were embryo parties, as yet unprovided with 
machinery for making nominations and fighting 
campaigns. In the election campaign each candi- 
date announced his own program or "profession 
of faith"; whether he came forward as the sup- 
porter of some parliamentary group or as an in- 
dependent, he framed his principles to suit his 
own taste or the predominant local interests. He 
might pose in the first election as a member of 
the Democratic Left, in the second election 
(necessary when no candidate received a majority 
on the first) as an "indefinite liberal," and, upon 
entering the Chamber, identify himself with the 
Progressist Union. He might, indeed, affiliate 
with several groups. In looking over the lists in 
the Annuaire du Parlemgnt one finds that some- 



times half, sometimes three quarters of the mem- 
bers of particular groups were at the same time 
identified with other groups. Under the circum- 
stances it was impossible to determine, except in 
the roughest fashion, the relative strength of the 
different parties or tendencies. The membership 
lists of the parliamentary groups of that day 
must be used with caution since tTie deputies, 
elected on individual platforms of their own in- 
stead of party platforms, often found it advan- 
tageous to work simultaneously with two or more 
groups. Nor could the election returns safely be 
taken as a guide. The newspapers attempted 
then, as they do now, to show the popular strength 
of the party groups in the country by adding 
together the votes received by candidates profess- 
ing to belong to particular groups. Such statistics 
were, however, misleading. "In the electoral 
districts, which are sufficiently numerous, where 
a single candidate presents himself," says Pro- 
fessor Seignobos,^ *'the number of votes attrib- 
uted to this candidate alone gives a false idea of 
the proportion of parties; and in the still more 
numerous electoral districts, where there is only 
one Republican and one Conservative in competi- 
tion, it is impossible to recognize the parts of the 
different Republican groups. The totals obtained 
by these additions are consequently valueless." 

Since the opening of this century momentous 
political changes have taken place. France has 
* Op. cit., page 148. 



Forma- evolved a party system which resembles the party 
MUticai system prevaihng in Great Britain or the United 
parties. States, and which will, under the process of con- 
I9ii~ solidation, now apparently setting in, come to 
resemble it still more. The fluctuating and 
I chaotic system of parHamentary groups is passing 
\ away. There are still groups in the Chamber, 
more of them, in fact, than fifteen or twenty years 
ago: Right, Action Liberale Populaire, Republican 
Federation, Democratic Left, Republicans of the 
Left, Radical Left, Independent Left, Radical- 
Socialist, Socialist-Republican, and Unified So- 
.1 cialist.^ But alongside of these groups or merged 
with them are elaborate party organizations 
national in scope, with membership dues, annual 
congresses, central and local committees, and 
nomination machinery. The transformation took 
place within a very short period. The singular, 
almost feverish activity which within little more 
than a decade brought eight parties into being 
may be explained in some measure by the success 
of the Socialists; for the Socialists, while suffering 
from factional discords until the "unification" of 
1905, had set the example of holding annual con- 
ventions and of formulating a set of principles to 
which all adherents must subscribe. In 1901 the 
Radical-Socialist party was founded and also the 
Democratic-Republican Alliance which ten years 

^ These were the groups in the nth legislature (1914-1919). 
For the new groups in the 12th legislature, elected after the 
war, see supra, page 325. 



later adopted a more definite program and became 
known as the Democratic-Republican party; in 
1902 the Action Liberale Populaire (A. L. P.), 
descended from the RalHes group of 1893; in 
1905 the Unified Socialist party and the royalist 
Ligue de TAction francaise; in 1906 the Republi- 
can Federation; in 191 1 the Socialist Republican 
party; and in 1913 the Federation of the Lefts. 

Naturally the new parties have close relation- Relation 
ship with the parliamentary groups, the latter ^^^iti^^ 
tending to become real party groups like the to the 
Republicans and Democrats in the American ^nfjjy 
House of Repreyentatives or the Laborites and groups 
Liberals in the English House of Commons. The 
A. L. P., Republican Federation, Radical-Social- 
ists, Socialist-R-epublicans, and Unified Socialists, 
including considerably more than half of the 
personnel of the Chamber between 1914 and 1919, 
are real party groups bearing the party name. 
Such is not the case with the Right, although 
the Royalists have a form of party organization 
in the Ligue de I'Action francaise; or with the 
Democratic Left, Republicans of the Left, Radi- 
cal Left, ajid Independent Left, although many 
of their members belong to the Democratic- 
Republican party; but we may safely assume that 
isolated groups, without party organizations of 
their own to support them in the country^, will 
eventuaHy succumb before the compact, dis- 
ciplined forces arrayed against them. Electoral 
victorifis cannot be improvised. A waving plume 



nized in 
rules of 

decides nothing in the mass movements of modern 
warfare. *'The introduction of universal suffrage 
in the political order," says Charles Benoist,^ 
"resembles closely the introduction of steam in 
the economic order; both equally have inaugu- 
rated the reign of the machine.'* The machine 
has come to its own in France much later than in 
Great Britain or the United States because the 
French have had a much shorter experience in 
the working of popular representative institutions. 
Through the influence of party organizations 
the groups are now officially recognized in the 
procedure of the Chamber of Deputies. They 
choose the members of the nineteen standing com- 
mittees,^ each being represented or; the committees 
in accordance with its numerica.' strength. In 
consultation with the president of the Chamber 
they fix the "order of the day," derermining how 
time shall be apportioned among the measures 
awaiting consideration. Because of the new 
functions entrusted to the groups, deputies are 
no longer allowed to enroll in two or three of 
them at the same time. When a new Parliament 
convenes after the elections, each deputy an- 
nounces himself as belonging to some one particu- 
lar group or to no group at all (non-ins crit)^ and 

* Rmuf des Deux MondeSy April, 1904, page 542.. 

2 See Chapter VII. 

' The deputies not inscribed in any group (46 in 1914) are 
regarded as forming a group for the purpose of choosing 
committee members. 



a membership list of the groups is printed in the 
Journal officiely a list which provides the only safe 
basis of determining the result of the elections.^ 
In the Senate, however, the groups remain as 
chaotic as they used to be in the Chamber; for ex- 
ample, Antonin Dubost, the president until 1920, 
appeared as a member of all three RepubHcan 
groups.^ It should be noted that the Senate, 
which responds slowly to political changes, does 
not, except in the case of the Right, use the group 
designations current in the Chamber. The Re- 
publican Left corresponds with the Republican 
Federation of the Chamber; the Republican 
Union with the Democratic Left; the Democratic 
Left with the Radical-Socialists. 

French Party Organization 

It IS true as a general proposition that the 
parties towards the Left are more highly or- 

* The returns printed in the newspapers before the meeting 
of Parliament are quite unreliable. Thus the London Chronicle 
(May 12, 1914) gives the Radical-Socialists 136 seats when 
they actually won 172; the Right 26 instead of 16; the A. L. P. 
34 instead of 23; the Republican Federation 54 instead of 36; 
the Socialist-Republicans 31 instead of 23; and these errors 
reappear in the Statesman's Year-Book (1916, page 853). 
There is further confusion in the fact that the group names 
used in different newspapers do not always correspond. 

* For the composition of the groups in both chambers and 
data regarding the careers of the politicians see Samuel et 
Bonet-Maury, Les Parlementaires franqais (1914), a volume 
which is somewhat similar to the American Congressional 



French ganlzed and more efficiently disciplined than the 
P*^^ parties towards the Right. The machine of the 
Mtion Unified Socialists is a model of efficiency. The 
Conservatives (''reactionaries" their enemies call 
them), who include the sixteen members of the 
Right and a good many of the forty-six deputies 
"not inscribed,"^ can hardly be said to have a 
machine at all. The term "Conservative" is 
applied to Royalists and Imperialists alike; for 
these two monarchist factions, so long allied in a 
common and hopeless opposition to the Re- 
public, have been blended together as far as 
parliamentary action is concerned. Outside of 
Parliament, however, they have separate party 
organizations of a primitive kind and separate 
The ' The Royalists ^ maintain an office in the capital 
RoyaUsts vvhere members are enrolled; local committees in 
the eleven zones into which the pretender, the 
Duke of Orleans, has divided the countiy for 
political action; newspapers such as (in Paris) 
Le Soleily U Action frangaisey and La Gazette de 
France; and an energetic political association, 
La Ligue de TAction fran^aise. This league, 

* The figures given here relate to the eleventh legislature 
(1914-1919), the composition of the groups in the new Chamber 
not being available at the time of writing. The election seems 
to have made little change in the strength of the monarchists. 

* Charles Maurras, " Les Idees royalistes" Revue hebdoma- 
daire, March, 1910, pages 34-58; Leon Jacques, Les Partis 
politiques sous la f Republique (1913), pages 171-191. 



founded in 1905, does not believe in the negative, 
Fabian attitude which formerly characterized 
Royalist tactics. It strives to popularize the idea 
of an anti-democratic monarchy, of a king who 
will reign as well as govern. It seeks to show that 
RepubHcan institutions, hostile to the army, 
operating through a "sterile and ruinous" party 
system, have brought about a general demoraliza- 
tion, a national decadence; and that unmistak- 
able signs of resurgent nationalism, of a yearning 
for stable authority favor the reestablishment of 
the traditional monarchy. This neo-royalism 
condemns political democracy and endorses vio- 
lence quite in the manner of the Syndicalists. 
"The democratic ideal is false, not in its details 
or its accidents, but in principle and essence." ^ 
"The new government will necessarily rely upon 
the army. . . . The monarchy must be estab- 
lished by force; a vigorous and even violent 
solution would not be unpopular." ^ Under the 
monarchy there will be special privileges for 
the Catholic church; an hereditary aristocracy; 
assemblies representing "rights and interests," 
instead of individuals, and entrusted with a very 
limited function of control; administrative de- 
centralization; and the withdrawal of the state 
from the field of labor regulation. With this 
absolutist ideal of the league the Duke of Orleans 
apparently sympathizes. In his introduction to 

* Quoted by Jacques, op. dt.y page 177. 

* Quoted by Jacques, op. cit.y page 186. 



La Monarchie frangaisey a volume of documents 
in which the declarations of the Count of Cham- 
bord are given the greatest prominence, he speaks 
the language, not of his own branch of the royal 
house, but of the Legitimists.^ 
The im- 'pj^g Bonapartists or Imperialists ^ resemble the 

perlallsts ... 

Royalists in little more than their desire to sub- 
stitute monarchy for republic. They would 
preserve intact the institutions created in the 
Revolutionary and Napoleonic period; harmonize 
the principles of order and democracy; combine 
hereditary rule with popular designation (or 
acceptance) of the ruler, dynastic right with the 
right of universal suffrage exercised by means of 
the plebiscite. They deny, as the Royalists do, 
that they constitute a party. Napoleon, says 
Jules Delafosse,^ "is not the pretender of a party, 
but the eventual head of a system of govern- 
ment which will take as collaborators, without 
distinction of origin, the worthiest and the most 
meritorious. ... It would be unjust and even 
absurd to wish to convert this marvelous heritage 
of grandeur, of power, and beauty into the posses- 
sion of a party. . . . The Napoleonic epic is a 
national treasure which all Frenchmen possess in 
common.** The Imperialists have a committee in 

* Jacques, op. cit.t page 173. 

* Jules Delafosse, " Le Bonapartism," Revue hebdomadaiu, 
February, 1910, pages 308-332; Jacques, op. cit.y pages 191- 

* Op. cit., pages 309, 322. 



Paris which keeps in communication with the 
exiled Victor Napoleon; newspapers like Le Petit 
Caporal and UAppel au Peuple; political groups 
which hold banquets and listen to speeches, says 
Delafosse, like vestals keeping alight the sacred 
fire. But the attitude is one of expectation, 
reserve, passivity. It is not through party propa- 
ganda that the Empire will be restored. The 
Republic — a collective tyranny, discredited by 
scandals and abuses — will destroy itself; political 
and social anarchy will inevitably open the way 
to the predestined man. "The Empire is not a 
party; it is a refuge. No one recognizes it in the 
days of prosperity. The deluge comes. It ap- 
pears then as the rock of salvation on which all 
the miserable, threatened with submersion, throw 
themselves pell-mell, frightened and confounded."^ 
Royalists and Imperialists, like the Syndicalists, 
build their hopes upon the failure of the Republic 
to fulfill its early promise. It is perhaps true 
that France, weary of political intrigues, almost 
contemptuous of Parliament and politicians, 
would accept a resolute leader with equanimity. 
In his "France Herself Again*' Ernest Dimnet 
contends that a coup d'etat could easily be ac- 
complished. He is even considerate enough to 
give a recipe: the appointment of the right men 
as minister of the interior and prefect of police; 
the arrest of a handful of deputies and senators 
(specifying Caillaux and Clemenceau) who might 
^ Delafosse, op. cit., page 331. 



cause trouble; a sudden blow in the night. The 
cardboard giant would topple over. The Pari- 
sians, reading of the dramatic episode in their 
newspapers, would regard it at first with acquies- 
cence, then with enthusiasm; suppression of the 
newspapers would be a capital blunder — it would 
spoil breakfast. Dimnet, however, while explain- 
ing how the thing should be done, does not believe 
that it will be done. A necessary element is miss- 
ing. The hour is propitious; but there is no 
The The A. L. P. whose members ^ sit next to the 

Lib6raie ^^g^^> ^s descended in direct line from the RaUies 
Popu- of 1893.^ The new name, assumed in 1899 when 
Waldeck-Rousseau had definitely taken an anti- 
clerical position in his famous Toulouse speech, 
indicated a mission to defend popular liberties 
(in this case the privileges of the Catholic Church) 
from invasion. Three years later the group trans- 
formed itself into a party. It is a CathoHc party 
which accepts the Republic; CathoHc first and 
by conviction, Republican by conversion and as a 
, matter of expediency and tactics. Its objects 
\ have been defined thus:^ "To defend and conquer 

^ Twenty-three in the eleventh legislature (1914-1919); 
more than seventy in the twelfth legislature. 

* Jacques Piou " VA. L. P.," Rroue hebdomadaiu, February, 
1910, pages 476-492; Jacques, op. cit.y pages 320-344; E. 
Floumoy, La Lutte par association; V Action liberate populaire 
(1907). Parker T. Moon of Columbia University will soon 
publish a volume dealing exhaustively with the A. L. P. 

* Quoted by Jacques, op. cit.y page 321. 

C 340 ] 


all liberties necessary to the life of the nation, 
particularly religious liberty which is of a superior 
order and which today is subjected to the most 
serious assaults. To defend public liberties con- 
stitutionally by all legal means and in particular 
by electoral propaganda, to support legislative 
reforms, to create or develop social activities and 
institutions, to improve the lot of the working 
class." The program is by no means connected 
with religion alone; its political and economic 
aspects are highly important; ^ but the interests 
of the church take first place in the preoccupa- 
tions of the party and in determining its attitude 
towards other parties. 

The A. L. P. is bitterly opposed to the legisla- its reiig- 
tion which has separated church and state, secu- ^'Jftj^J^ 
larized the schools, and debarred the unauthorized program 
religious orders from teaching. As to the status} 
of the church no legal organization is possible 
without the previous approval of the Pope; and 
diplomatic relations with the Vatican should 
forthwith be reestablished. As to education the 
state has no right to instruct Catholic children in 

^ In the campaign of 19 14 the party advocated (Journal des 
D eh ats, Ythvxizxy 22): maintenance of the three-year military 
service law; proportional representation; economy in ex- 
penditures; an income tax levied upon external signs of 
wealth and not by unjust and inquisitorial methods; restora- 
tion to the religious orders of the right to teach; distribution 
of public funds to private schools on the basis of attendance; 
instruction in duty towards God in public schools; revision 
of the constitution. 



the doctrines of the Masonic lodges and to impart 
religious indifference and unbelief. There should 
be absolute educational freedom; Catholic schools, 
freed from state interference, should receive from 
the state a share of the public funds based upon 
the number of scholars {repartition proportionnelle 
which, with representation proportionnelle in elec- 
tions and representation professionnelle in the field 
of commerce and industry, constitutes the three 
"R. P/s" of the program). The chief political 
demand is amendment of the constitution which 
now permits **the omnipotence of an anonymous 
. and irresponsible collective power." The Declara- 
1 tion of the Rights of Man ("modified in certain 
points*') should be incorporated in the constitu- 
tion and protected from legislative infringement, 
as in the United States, by a supreme court; the 
President should be chosen by a special electoral 
college and thus relieved of dependence upon 
Parliament; the chambers should be deprived of 
their power of deciding election contests; and a 
referendum should be required on all laws touch- 
ing rights and liberties. The party advocates 
; proportional representation, administrative de- 
\ centralization, and a national civil-service law. 
Its The economic demands of the platform are in 

proCTam*^ some respects very advanced and bring the party 
closer to the Left than to the Right and Republi- 
can Federation with which it is usually associated. 
[ Laissez-faire is denounced as "the dream of 
j chimerical theorists" and "the refuge of egoism." 


"If State Socialism is a peril, the complete ab- 
stention of the state is a desertion; in face of the 
growing antagonism of capital and labor it [the 
party] should cooperate in the task of pacifica- 
tion." The platform endorses vocational training, 
Workingmen's compensation, conciliation and arbi-\^ 
tration, limitation of working hours, a minimum 
wage for home workers, and extension of the civil 
capacity of syndicates (unions). "Professional 
representation," however, must be regarded as 
its most original and striking feature.^ "The 
syndicate, maintained on a professional [voca- 
tional] basis, is a means of social pacification and 
prepares the way for the stable organization of 
the world of labor. . . . The epoch of purely 
political parliaments has closed; national repre- 
sentation must become political and economic^* 
Parliament and the other governmental organs 
of today will continue to represent the general 
interests of the country, but alongside of them 
will appear a council representing the special 
interests of vocational syndicates, syndicates 
organized in each commune and composed of 
both employers and employees. The government 
must consult the council on every proposed law, 
decree, or order which affects the interests of 
these vocational syndicates. The council itself 
will have an extensive ordinance power, subject 
to the referendum. 

' The A. L. P. admits to membership either \ 
* See on this subject Jacques, op. cit.y pages 328-330. 



Its or- groups or individuals, the latter being termed 
^^' membres societaires when they pay five hundred 
francs or at least twenty-five francs a year and 
membres adherents when they pay at least one 
franc a year. The party organization includes: 
(i) Local committees in the communes, cantons, 
and departments; (2) a central committee, com- 
posed of the founders and coopted members, 
which formulates the party rules and elects the 
party officers; and (3) a general assembly or 
convention meeting every two years. The general 
assembly includes the founders and delegates 
from the local groups, each group having one vote 
as a minimum and an additional vote for every 
one hundred members up to a maximum of 
twenty-five votes. The president of the party is 
invested with very extensive powers; in fact, 
says Dr. Jacques,^ *'the A. L. P. is almost the 
property of M. Piou, its president." 
The Re- The Republican Federation is the rump of the 
Federal former Moderate or Progressist party, reorganized 
tion and renamed in 1906.^ For twenty years (1878- 

j 1898) the Moderates governed France under 
Gambetta, Ferry, Ribot, and Meline, sometimes 
allied with the Radicals, occasionally even dis- 
; placed by them. Then came a period of hesita- 
tion and schism. Half the members of the group 

1 Op. cit., page 445. 

' J. Thierry, " L^ Parti republicain modere" Revue heb- 
domadairey March, 1910, pages 478-487; Jacques, op. cit., 
pages 199-222. 



followed Waldeck-Rousseau in his evolution 
towards the Left. The other half, repelled by his 
anti-clerical policy and by the still more radical 
position of his successor Combes (1902-1905), 
found themselves acting in concert with the 
Right. From that time the Radicals and Socialists 
have classified them as reactionaries. The Re- 
publican Federation is, indeed, the most con-' 
servative of the Republican parties. Imbued 
with the principles of 1789, it is very tolerant inj 
religious matters, strongly individualistic, and at- 
tached to the classical school of political economy | 
(laissez-faire). Above all it stands for personal \ 
liberty; and for the sake of that principle it ' 
broke with the other Republican groups and op- 
posed anti-clerical legislation. "It appeals to 
the moderation and wisdom of men," says Leon 
Jacques,^ "to their calm, reasoned, and measured 
ideas, to their disinterested devotion to public 
affairs; and it proclaims that the progress of 
democracy depends in great measure upon moral 
progress. Only the imperious necessity of main- 
taining public order and social progress can 
justify restrictions upon the liberty, initiative, 
activity, and responsibility of individuals." The 
party has no love for reform; but it is ready to 
give way (without enthusiasm) before the neces- 
sities of evolution and the logic of events. Re- 
ferring to proposed labor legislation, Jules Meline 
said in the party congress of 1912:^ "Since it 
* Op. cit.i page 203. * Id. 



must be done and since it is better that it should 
be done with us than against us, let us strive at 
least to do it methodically, scientifically and pro- 
gressively." The attitude toward reform was 
thus expressed by the congress of 1908: "Order 
by progress, progress with order. The weakness 
of the old conservative party lies in the attempt 
to conserve without reforming, the weakness of 
the revolutionary parties lies in their attempt to 
reform without conserving; our strength lies in 
the will and the power at once to conserve and 
develop." On the political side the party plat- 
form is very much Hke that of the A. L. P.: 
constitutional amendments to incorporate the 
Declaration of Rights and to erect a supreme 
court as its guardian; trial of election contests 
by an extra-parliamentary commission; propor- 
tional representation; administrative decentrali- 
zation; a civil-service law; an income tax levied 
without inquisitorial methods; and in the matter 
of education entire liberty except that the state 
may enforce proper hygienic standards and see 
that teachers are properly qualified. In economic 
policies, however, the Federation parts company 
with the A. L. P. Stanchly individualistic, it 
would reduce state intervention to a minimum 
compatible with humanitarianism and social 
soHdarity. It has favored old-age pensions and 
the protection of women in industry, for instance, 
but opposed the minimum wage and other limita- 
tions upon the freedom of contract. Stateism is 




an "Immense danger" which would suppress / 
liberties, endanger the productive forces of the ' 
country, and culminate In a crisis of collectivism. 

The Federation admits to membership either itsor- 
groups which pay from five to fifty francs a year 
according to their numerical strength or indi- 
viduals who pay from five francs {adherents) to 
five hundred francs a year (founders). The party 
organization includes: (i) an annual congress 
consisting of individual members of the party 
and delegates from local groups; ^ (2) a general 
council of at least fifty members chosen by the 
congress, one fifth retiring each year; (3) a 
bureau of party oflficlals chosen by the council 
every two years; and (4) an executive commit- 
tee consisting of the bureau and twelve others 
chosen by the council. 

The Democratic-Republican party — the party The 
of Poincare, Barthou, and Deschanel — was cratil> 
founded In 1901 with the idea of uniting iso- Repubu- 
lated Republican groups against "triumphant ^^y 
antl-semitism and the menaces of the Nation- 
alists."^ It has oscillated between the moderates 
and the radicals, seeking to preserve the happy 
mean and combine as judiciously as possible the , 

^ Each group is entitled to one delegate for every fifty 
members up to a maximum of ten. 

* Paul Deschanel, ''L' Alliance republicatne," Revue heb' 
domadairey April, 1910, pages 34-52; Jacques, op. cit., pages 
350-361. It was at first known as the Democratic-Republi- 
can Alliance or (popularly) the Republican Alliance or the 
Democratic Alliance. It took the name of party in 191 1. 



principle of progress and reform with the principle 
of order and stability. It supported the Radical- 
Socialists in passing the anti-clerical laws, but 
afterwards, antagonized by the intolerant spirit 
of the Radical-Socialists and their growing con- 
fidence in State intervention, drew closer to the 
Republican Federation. The party wishes to 
establish "equal justice for all, liberty for all, 
social peace." It favors "neither reaction nor 
revolution." It is "anti-clerical but not anti- 
religious; anti-Nationalist ^ but vigilant guardian 
of the honor and strength of the country; respect- 
ful of all rights, but resolutely bent upon reform; 
adversary of communist Utopias, distinctly hostile 
to violent methods, but constantly preoccupied 
with all forms of progress and, above all, social 
progress." To realize the Republican ideal there 
must be formed "a close and loyal union of all 
democratic forces against the reactionaries, the 
anti-patriots, and the collectivists. It wishes to 
base this necessary union upon a program exclud- 
ing fantastic formulas and rash promises. Only 
ideas and programs serve to classify parties." ^ 
Its I The Democratic-Republican party sees the 
need of a government which will really govern, 
which will recover forgotten or abdicated rights, 
and insist upon respect for the law — a govern- 
ment, as Raymond Poincare has said,^ "firm in its 

* That is, opposed to the jingoes. 

* Annuaire du Parlement, 1909, page 244. 
3 Quoted by Jacques, of. cit., page 352. 




initiatives, courageous in its responsibilities, and 
disinclined to sacrifice the very dignity of its 
existence and the force of its authority in the 
effort to remain in office." Among the proposed ' 
reforms are: proportional representation, a civil- 
service law, an income tax designed to equalize 
burdens and not to equalize fortunes, and es- 
pecially decentralization. The power of the 
prefect, says Paul Deschanel, in explaining the 
importance which the party attaches to decentrali- 
zation,^ is an anachronism and a peril — a peril 
because it accustoms Frenchmen to the idea of 
one-man power and prepares the way for a despot. 
In other countries citizens serve their apprentice- 
ship in local government; in France local govern- 
ment is conducted by officials. "We shall have 
to choose between a system of government which 
consists in holding France at the end of a tele- 
graph wire and a system of government which 
consists in making men and citizens." While 
denouncing clericalism — the exploitation of relig- 
ion for political ends, — the party pledges itself 
to maintain religious liberty. "Religion," said 
Louis Barthou in the election campaign of 1914,* 
"has passed from the domain of the state into 
the domain of the individual conscience; and we 
think that the state would be guilty of an in- 
tolerable wrong if it made use of its power and its 
influence against religion." In the matter of 

^ Op. cit.y page 44. 

* Journal des DebatSy February 28. 



education there should be state inspection of 
private schools and state diplomas to insure the 
capacity of teachers; all doctrines, all creeds, 
should be treated with equal respect. In other 
words the party favors state control, but will 
have nothing to do with the scheme of a state 
monopoly of education, now making headway 
among the Radical-Socialists as a punitive 
measure against the Catholics. The party favors 
social and economic reform. It proposes, for 

. instance, the public operation of utilities, as in 
England and Germany; insurance against acci- 
dent, sickness, and unemployment; the enlarge- 
ment of the civil capacity of syndicates; the 
erection of permanent courts of arbitration and 
conciliation; measures which will encourage the 
workmen to become co-proprietors in industrial 
enterprises and thus transform salaried labor into 
"associated labor." But the basis of the existing 
social order must not be undermined by exag- 

1 gerated reforms. "We consider it dangerous," 
said Louis Barthou,^ " to discourage capital, with- 
out which no enterprise can live, and to wreck 
the vitality of labor in a sort of state officialism, 
depriving the workers of all initiative and trans- 
forming them into what may be termed ad- 
ministrative and irresponsible automata." With 
regard to foreign relations France, while desiring 
righteous and honorable peace, needs a strong 
army and navy to protect herself from attack. 
1 Journal des DehatSy February 28, 1914. 

C 350 3 



The party admits to membership individuals itsor- 
who pay from two francs {adherents) to one 
hundred francs a year (founders) and groups 
which pay in proportion to their size and re- 
sources, but not less than thirty francs a year. 
The party organization includes: (i) A bureau of 
officers chosen by the central executive com- 
mittee; (2) a central executive committee chosen 
by the superior council for three years; (3) a 
superior council which includes the members of 
Parliament, the members of the executive com- 
mittee, one hundred notables in arts, letters, 
science, commerce, and industry, paying two 
hundred francs a year and named by the execu- 
tive committee, and general delegates from the 
departments also named by the executive com- 
mittee; and (4) an annual assembly which all 
members of the party are free to attend. The 
party has no separate group of Its own in the 
Chamber; but more than one hundred deputies 
belonging to the groups seated between the 
Radical-Socialists and the Republican Federation 
were elected as candidates of the party in 1914. 

The Federation of the Lefts, because it gave The 
expression to political readjustments which were ^^j^^^' 
to display themselves more clearly after the close the Lefts 
of the Great War, deserves an important place 
in the recent history of French parties. It was f 
founded at the close of 191 3 after Aristlde Briand, 
in a speech at St. fitlenne, had urged Republicans 
to consolidate their ranks in resistance to dema- 



gogy and revolution. It did not put forward any 
elaborate program in the electoral campaign of 
\ 1914. The principal points were national defense 
i (the maintenance of the three-year military 
service law), proportional representation, and 
application of the anti-clerical laws in a generous 
spirit. The first two points in no way distin- 
guished the Federation of the Lefts from the 
Right, the A. L. P., or the Republican Federation; 
all three were urged in the same campaign by 
the Democratic-Republican party. A foreign 
observer finds it hard to understand why Briand 
and Barthou, leaders of the Democratic-Republi- 
can party, should launch a new movement with- 
out distinctive policies and be active in promoting 
simultaneously the interests of two organizations. 
Why should there be both a Democratic-Repub- 
lican party and a Federation of the Lefts, led 
by the same men, propounding very much the 
same doctrines? Apparently the answer is that 
the Democratic-Republican party, formed to 
resist the seditious agitation of jingoes and 
clericals at the beginning of the century and com- 
promised by its support of the anti-clerical legis- 
lation of the next few years, could not easily 
become the vehicle of Briand's policy of "pacifi- 
cation" and "conciliation." Briand as premier in 
1910 had declared that, victory won, the conflict 
with the church should be brought to an end, 
and that the moment had come "when the 
commander who respects his army and wishes 


victory to be without stain . . . should cry to i 
the conquerors 'Enough! Go no farther!'" He 
and his Heutenants felt the necessity of allay- 
ing the antagonisms evoked during the Combes 
period and of tempering the asperities of the 
anti-clerical laws. The new situation demanded 
a new party, a party which should announce 
definitely the collapse of the old Republican bloc \ 
and marshal the Republican forces to resist, not |' 
the old danger on the Right, but the exaggerated \ 
hostility of the Radical-Socialists and Unified . 
Socialists towards the Catholic Church and 
towards the army. It was for this reason that 
the Radical-Socialists constantly referred to the 
Federation as "of the Lefts improperly so-called." 
The new party does not seem to have maintained 
any organization after the election campaign of 
1914. But the purposes which had animated it 
did not die. When the war was over they served 
as the basis of agreement in the formation of the 
National Republican hloc. 
The Radical-Socialist (or, more correctly, the '^^^ . 

TT • . ... Radical- 

Unified Radical and Radical-Socialist) party was sociaUst 

until 1919 much the strongest party in the ^"^ 

Chamber and, except for the Unified Socialists, 

much the best organized.^ During the first decade 

of the century it dominated the government as 

* A. Charpentier, Le Parti radical et radical-socialiste a 
tracers ses congres (1913); F. Buisson, "La Politique radicale- 
socialiste" Revue hebdomadairey February, 1910, pages 159- 
181; Jacques, op. cii., pages 223-266. 



the Moderates had done in the preceding twenty 
years. Never having a clear majority, it main- 
tained itself in power first by means of the anti- 
clerical Republican bloc with a managing com- 
mittee known as the Delegation of the Lefts and 
afterwards, when the Unified Socialists seceded, 
by means of an alliance with the Democratic- 
Republican groups and the Independent SociaHsts. 
After the fall of the Clemenceau cabinet in 1909, 
however, and the formulation of Briand*s policy 
of appeasement, Radical-Socialists and Demo- 
cratic-Republicans separated. From that time 
until the outbreak of the war there was no settled 
majority in the Chamber; and this worked to 
the advantage of the Democratic-Republican 
party which — under Briand, Poincare, and 
Barthou, — dictated the national policies for 
three-quarters of the period. Imposing as are 
the past achievements of the Radical-Socialists, 
their strength in the country has greatly declined, 
i The party is rent by fatal discords which persist 
; in spite of the formal "unification" of 1913. The 
Right right and left wings, tending respectively towards 
^UToi individualism and collectivism, stand so widely 
the apart that complete separation seems not im- 

"^^ probable. "Better the rivalry of two groups 
knowing what they want and saying it than the 
unstable equilibrium of a single group which 
unceasingly advances and retires, votes the princi- 
ple and refuses the applications, affirms dogmas 
which it tramples under foot, and maintains the 




appearance of an imposing unity at the price of 
an eternal equivocation/* ^ Doumergue, while ' 
premier in 1914, did nothing to repeal the three- 
year service law, although bound by the minimum j 
program of his party to do so. He declared that ; 
military service could not be reduced until the'j 
European situation changed. A Radical-Socialist 
candidate, denounced by other Radical-Socialists 
for endorsing the three-year law, replied: "I 
pray them to summon to their bar Messrs. 
Deloncle, Steeg, G. L. Bonnet, Doumergue, 
Leon Bourgeois, and many others whose opin- 
ion and attitude have been identical with my 
own." 2 

The party has sought a middle ground between ] official 
the extreme wings: "We have repudiated the ^JJJ^^^g 
selfish individualism which, under pretext of SociaUsm 
liberty, submits liberty and justice to the dicta- 
tion of the money power. Nor do we wish a 
rigid and tyrannical organization in which, under 
pretext of equality, we should take part in neu- 
tralizing initiative and restricting human effort." ' 
The congress of 1908 adopted unanimously a 
declaration to the effect: (i) that social classes 
as defined by Marx do not exist; (2) that the 
theory of the class-struggle is an error and a 
practical danger as involving anarchy; (3) that 
private property should be maintained as a 

* Charpentier, op. cit., introduction by F. Buisson, page xi. 

* Quoted by de Lanessan, La Crise de la Republiquf, page 27. 
' Declaration of 1910 quoted by Jacques, op. cit., page 229. 

C 355 ] 



I sacred thing; but (4) that "private property 
should give way whenever the interests of the 
; owner are found to be in manifest conflict with 
the interests of society." Although the Radical- 
Socialists officially condemn collectivism, they 
maintain friendly relations with the collectivists. 
Without describing the various changes in those 
relations since the collectivists (Unified Socialists) 
abandoned the blocy it may be noted that the two 
parties worked together in the elections of 1914 
by supporting the same candidates on the second 
ballot. After the elections Emile Combes said:^ 
"Ever since the dissolution of the bloc the Re- 
public has marked time. The country has just 
indicated its will to move forward. It has re- 
constituted the bloc, seeing that in most districts 
on the second balloting, and in some on the first. 
Radical and Socialist votes have been blended.'* 
In the Socialist congress there was even a proposal 
openly to reconstruct the bloc as a union of Uni- 
fied Socialists, Radical-Socialists, and Socialist- 
Republicans. Apparently the Radical-Socialists, 
having broken with the Democratic-Repub- 
licans, can make their future alliances only on 
the extreme Left. 
The ' The Radical-Socialist party draws its strength 
SociaUst roairity from the lower middle class — from the 
program shopkeepers, the peasant proprietors, the govern- 
ment officials. It is, as Ferdinand Buisson has 
said, a bourgeois party with the soul of a popular 
^ De Lanessan, op. cit., page 186. 



party; that rare thing in the history of democ- 
racies, a class which seeks to confound itself with 
the nation. It has been described in the party 
conventions as ''passionately attached to the 
cause of the people, to the well-being of the great 
disinherited masses." It is definitely evolution- 
ist. "In politics sleep is death. More than ever 
we must show that we are a party which remains 
young, a party of combat and conquest." It is j 
sharply anti-clerical, pledged to the supremacy of \ 
the civil power as expressed in the phrase ''free  
churches in the sovereign state." This anti- 1 
clericalism, which has been the most pronounced 
characteristic of the party, is seen in its insistence 
upon secular education, upon education divorced 
from all religious creeds and confined to lay 
teachers. Many Radical-Socialists wish to make 
education a government monopoly as a means of > 
circumventing the activities of the Catholic 
church. Several times (in 1903, 1905, 1910) 
this proposal has been endorsed by the party 
congress; but no further action has been taken; 
the weapon is still held in reserve. The party, 
setting great store by education, wishes to equalize 
opportunity by making all branches free and 
greatly to expand the facilities for vocational and 
technical training. Much attention is given to \ 
measures for improving the condition of labor; 
minimum wages; reduced working hours; co- 
operative societies; profit sharing; pensions; 
insurance against accident, sickness, and unem-  



f ployment. The program, which is more complete 
and practical than that of any other party, also 
proposes: a civil-service law; administrative de- 
centralization; judicial reform (elective judges, 
improved procedure, reduced costs, etc.); a 
system of commercial and industrial credits; a 
progressive income tax with means of discovering 
hidden wealth; heavier and graduated inheritance 
taxes; compulsory processes of conciliation and 
arbitration; public operation of municipal utili- 
ties; new ports and transportation routes to 
develop commerce; expansion of public health 
activities, and much else. On the subject of 
electoral reform the party has hesitated, some- 
times disguising its uncertainty in vague phrases, 
more often endorsing the general ticket; unlike 
, the Socialist party it has always opposed propor- 
1 tional representation. With respect to inter- 
national relations its program reflects to some 
extent the pacifistic tendencies which showed so 
plainly during the Combes period. The party 
has recommended a cordial understanding with 
all nations, recourse to arbitration, reduction of 
armaments; it has condemned the policy of ad- 
venture, which openly or secretly seeks new 
colonies, and the excesses and abuses of the 
military spirit. Just before the outbreak of the 
war it made the repeal of the three-year military 
service law the chief issue of the election 
The Radical-Socialists have a very complete 



organization, as may be gathered from the fact^ Rad^ai- 
that the party rules (relating to such matters as o°g^_^* 
membership, discipline, party machinery, propa- zation 
ganda, and finances) would occupy twenty-five 
or thirty pages of this book. Membership in- 
cludes: (i) local groups which have been approved 
by the departmental federation and admitted by 
the national executive committee; (2) newspapers 
admitted by the executive committee; and (3) ex- 
oflicio deputies, senators, general councilors of the 
departments, and councilors of the arrondissement 
belonging to the party. All must pay annual dues: 
groups, eight francs; councilors and newspapers, 
thirteen francs; senators and deputies, two hun- 
dred francs; and these dues cover the three-franc 
subscription to the Bulletin du Parti which is one 
of the agencies of propaganda. The party mem- 
bers, besides being required to accept the minimum 
program and to aflliliate with no other party, must 
always support Radical-Socialist candidates in all 
elections. This is a "rigorous duty." If a mem- 
ber fails in any of his obligations, the national 
executive committee may warn him, censure him, 
or expel him from the party; and publicity is 
given to censure or expulsion in the Bulletin and 
in the party newspapers. An expelled member 
may appeal to the annual congress against the 
committee's decision. The members of the party 
in each commune constitute the communal com- 
mittee and send delegates to the committees 
higher up (in canton, arrondissement, and depart- 



ment);^ and the departmental committee or 
federation sends delegates to the annual congress. 
This annual congress, which has power to regulate 
all the affairs of the party, is also attended by- 
representatives of the party newspapers and by 
the senators, deputies, and councilors. It adjusts 
controversies, draws up a party program, and 
elects an executive committee of more than six 
hundred members, each departmental delegation 
nominating a number of committeemen propor- 
tional to the population of the department.^ The 
I executive committee meets once a month or 
oftener and through numerous subcommittees 
occupies itself with all the interests of the party: 
preparing the business which shall come before 
the next congress; admitting and disciplining 
members; passing upon the nomination of candi- 
dates for elective office; sending out campaign 
speakers and campaign arguments; distributing 
pamphlets at cost price; arranging local rallies; 
keeping in close touch with party groups all 
through the country and harmonizing their ac- 
tivities. The cooperation of the committee with 
lower units is shown in the making of nominations. 
Within each department the federation issues the 
call for every nominating convention and deter- 

1 Committees are also being organized in "regions" which 
include several departments. 

2 Each department is entitled to at least two members and 
to two additional members for every two hundred thousand of 



mines its composition subject to the rule that all 
party groups within the constituency shall be 
represented. The nominee of a convention before 
entering the campaign as a Radical-Socialist 
candidate must receive the sanction of the de- 
partmental federation and official investiture at 
the hands of the executive committee. In view 
of the rather unmanageable size of the committee 
important functions are entrusted to its bureau 
which consists of the president of the party, six- 
teen vice presidents, and sixteen secretaries. The 
president holds office for a year and is not reeH- 
gible; the rest of the bureau hold office for two 
years, half retiring annually. The members of ^ 
Parliament, who are ex-officio members of the 
executive committee and entitled to half the vice 
presidencies and secretaryships of the bureau, 
take a leading place in the direction of the party. 
Although the Radical-Socialists and Freemasons 
have been closely allied in the conflict with the 
Catholic church, there is no official connection 
between them. 

The Socialist-Republican party, which pro-  The 
claims "the indissoluble union of SociaHsm and lep'SbU-' 
the Republic," was founded in 1911.^ It is not a can 
class party in the dogmatic sense. It believes ^"*^ 
that "reforms should be considered as steps in a 
more complete transformation and in the progres-; 
sive establishment of a social order in which the 
workers will secure, with their share of prop- 
1 Jacques, op. cit., pages 361-367. 




erty and the whole fruits of their labor, complete 
emancipation." Its policy conforms to economic 

^ realities. In enterprises where the development 

of machinery and the concentration of capital 
have definitely reduced the workers to the posi- 
tion of wage earners collective ownership must 
be established; and by way of preparing for this 
change the party advocates the formation of 
syndicates and cooperative societies, the participa- 
tion of workers in management and profits, and 
the substitution of state services for private 
monopolies. The party does not strive, as the 
Unified Socialists do, to assimilate the peasant 
proprietors, who cultivate their own land, to 
the proletariat; an association of independent 
producers will suflice to adapt them to the exi- 
gencies of modern economic life. The party 
favors fiscal reform, including a progressive in- 
come tax with means of checking the declarations 
of taxpayers; administra:tive reform, including 
participation by employees in the management 
of public services; an understanding among the 
workers of all countries; resolute defense of the 
anti-clerical laws; and pacificism (not excluding, 
however, resistance to foreign aggression). The 
party has right and left wings. There is a Briand- 
ist faction,^ a faction that looks with approval 
on the new policy of appeasement; but its oppo- 
nents, having control of the party congress in 

^ Briand, originally a Socialist, resumed membership in 
this party after the war. 




1914, put forward a declaration almost identical ; 
with the minimum program of the Radical- ' 
Socialists: Return to two-year military service; 
progressive taxation of income and capital with 
means of checking the returns; and defense of 
secular education, with state monopoly of educa- 
tion as an ultimate resort. It has already been 
noted that the Socialist-Republican Rene Viviani, 
becoming premier after the elections of 191 4, stood 
by the three-year service law, as his predecessor, 
the Radical-Socialist Doumergue, had done. 

Members of the Socialist-Republican party in itsor- 
return for an annual payment of twelve cents *^*^^^^" 
receive a party card.^ The local groups in each 
department form a federation and send delegates 
once a year to the national congress.^ There is an 
administrative committee composed of the Parlia- 
mentary group, nine members elected by the 
congress, and one delegate from each depart- 
mental federation. The body meets every three 
months. It appoints an executive committee of 
fifteen members and a bureau. Candidates must 
subscribe to the party platform and have their 
nominations confirmed by the appropriate federal 
committee; after election their conduct is under 
"the exclusive control" of the federation. 

^ Members of Parliament are subject to an assessment the 
amount of which is not specified in the rules of the par4:y. 

* In the congress each federation has one vote as a minimum 
and one additional vote for each one hundred members and 
for each seven thousand votes cast in the national elections. 



The The Unified Socialist party/ founded in 1905, 

^^*j^^ is, like the monarchists, irreconcilable, bent on 
Party overthrowing the Republican state. Even when 
it cooperates with those in power for the defense 
of proletarian rights and interests, declared the 
congress of 1905, it "remains always a party of 
fundamental and irreducible opposition to the 
whole bourgeois class and to the state which is 
the instrument of that class. . . . The SociaHst 
group in Parliament should withhold from the 
government all the means which insure the domi- 
nation of the bourgeoisie and its maintenance in 
power.'* And again: "The Socialist party is a 
class party whose object is to socialize the means 
of production and exchange — that is, to trans- 
form capitalistic society into a collectivist and 
communistic society — and whose method is the 
economic and political organization of the prole- 
tariat. By reason of its object, by reason of its 
ideal, by reason of the method which it employs, 
the Socialist party, while seeking the realization 
of immediate reforms demanded by the working 
class, is not a party of reform, but a party of 
class struggle and revolution." The Socialists 
' believe that small industry and small commerce 
will disappear before the growing concentration 
• of capital; that society tends to become divided 
into two classes, capitalists and wage earners, 

^ Marcel Sembat, ^* Les I dees socialistes,'* Revue hebdoma- 
daire, March, 1910, pages 325-350; Jacques, op, cit., pages 



bourgeois and proletarians; and that between the 
two classes there exists an antagonism, a class 
struggle, which will not end until the proletariat 
has triumphed and taken control of society. 
There are practical objections to this doctrine, 
and not the least serious is found in the fact that 
the peasant proprietors, at once owners and tillers 
of the soil, give no sign of disappearing and of 
being merged in the class of wage earners. The 
Socialists do not know how to face this disquieting 
enigma. Some would modify the application of 
their theory to suit exceptional cases when there 
is no divorce between capital and labor; others, 
striving to explain away the facts, insist that the 
party must propound the same theory of economic 
evolution in the cities and in the country. All ! 
unite in persuading the peasant proprietors that ; 
their situation is miserable and that eventually 
they must be the victims of capitalism. While • 
the Unified Socialists are definite enough in their 
criticism of the existing capitalistic state, they 
have made no attempt to describe the character 
of the communistic state which will supplant it. 
Marcel Sembat has said ^ that new forms of 
organization will be devised by experiment; "we 
are as pretentious as science and as modest." 
According to him the new "joint-stock company 
of France" will be directed, not by a state bureau- 
cracy, but by the producers themselves. 
The Unified Socialists, besides advocating a 
* In the article cited. 



Its new society, are activel}^ engaged in the ameliora- 

towards ^^*^" °^ ^^^ existing one. At the outset the party 
reform committed itself "to the extension of the political 
liberties and rights of the workers, to the pursuit 
and realization of reforms" that would improve 
living conditions and better equip the proletariat 
for the class struggle. And the election manifesto 
of 1914 declared:^ "We are trying to give the 
world of labor increased opportunities for carry- 
ing on the struggle, thus preparing it for the 
great work of social renovation which is incumbent 
upon it. We wish to secure, to seize, the maximum 
of political and social reforms obtainable under 
the present social system." The party must live 
politically; it must gain the sympathy and 
confidence of the proletariat; and therefore, while 
awaiting the revolution which will install collectiv- 
ism, it cannot stand aloof from the reform move- 
ment. And yet in promoting reform there is an 
obvious danger, a danger of compromising the 
future, of consolidating the bourgeois state, of 
erecting a barrier to the establishment of collectiv- 
ism. The farther reform is carried, the harder it 
will be to persuade the proletariat that its cir- 
cumstances are intolerable; the more the existing 
social order is improved, the harder it will be to 
justify the substitution of a different social order. 
In the face of this dilemma many Socialists look 
coldly upon reform. The majority, however, 
accept the position of the late Jean Jaures. 
* W. E. Walling et al., Socialism Today (1916), page 64. 



"Precisely because the Socialist party is essentially 
a party of revolution/' he said in 1908, *'it is the 
party most actively and genuinely bent upon 
reform." In 1914 the party demanded: ^ electoral 
reform (proportional representation) as a pre- 
liminary to constitutional revision; immediate 
return to the two-year service law and gradual 
substitution of a militia for the regular army; 
progressive taxation of income and capital with 
means of checking the returns; freedom for all, 
including government officials, to organize syndi- 
cates; a complete system of national insurance 
against old age, sickness, accident, and unemploy- 
ment; development of education by all possible 
means. It expressed abhorrence of nationalism 
and militarism and advocated a Franco-German 
rapprochement "which will permit of a definite 
alliance between England, France, and Germany, 
a condition necessary to the peace of the world." 

Members of the Unified Socialist party must ' its or- 
belong to their proper labor union and to their *^*^^^" 
local cooperative society; they must also pay five 
cents a year for a membership card and one cent 
a month by way of dues to the central organiza- 
tion.^ In each commune the members form a j 
"section" which acts through a general assembly 
meeting monthly and an administrative com- ' 

* Proposals made in the platform and in the election mani- 
festo are combined here. See Walling, op. cit., pages 58-60, 64. 

* Payment is made by means of stamps which are put on 
the membership card. 




mittee meeting fortnightly. In each department 
these sections form a federation with a delegate 
council and an executive committee. The federa- 
tion must pledge itself to respect the principles 
and program of the party as well as decisions 
taken by national and international congresses. 
The affairs of the party are regulated by an annual 
congress composed of delegates from the federa- 
tions. Representation is based upon paid mem- 
bership.^ The parliamentary group, which makes 
an annual report to the congress and transmits it 
to the federation a month before the congress 
meets, is represented only for consultative pur- 
poses, that is, for convenience in discussing ques- 
tions relative to the report. In the interval 
between congresses the management of the party 
is in the hands of: (i) a national council com- 
posed of delegates from the federations,^ delegates 
from the parliamentary group,^ and the members 
of the permanent administrative committee; 
(2) a permanent administrative committee of 
twenty-three members elected annually by the 
congress; and (3) a small salaried bureau chosen 

* A federation is entitled to at least one "mandate" with 
an additional mandate for every twenty-five members; and 
to two delegates for the first ten mandates and an additional 
delegate for every additional ten mandates. If one tenth of 
the delegates demand it, the congress must vote by mandates. 

* Two delegates for the first thirty mandates in the con- 
gress with an additional delegate for each additional thirty. 

' Equal in number to one twentieth of the federation 



by the national council from among the members 
of the administrative committee. 

The party rules give much attention to the Party 
maintenance of discipline. They entrust the ^^ 
national council with control over the parlia- 
mentary group, the party workers, and the party 
press. Although the press is free to discuss all \ 
matters of doctrine and method, it is subject \ 
to restraint in dealing with party action; "all 
socialist newspapers and reviews must conform 
to the decisions of national and international 
congresses as interpreted by the national council." 
The party owns several important publications, 
among them Le Socialiste (weekly), to which all 
sections and federations must subscribe, and 
UHumanite (daily). Nominations, which are 
made by the combined sections in each con- 
stituency, require the approval of the appropriate 
federation. Candidates must sign a pledge to 
observe the principles and program of the party. 
Electoral tactics are fixed with some precision 
by the annual congress. Thus in 1914 the con- 
gress decided upon cooperation with the Radical- 
Socialists on the second ballot, that is, in cases 
where no candidate received the required majority 
on the first ballot. "Wherever it will be im- 
possible to win a direct electoral victory, the de- 
partmental federations will declare themselves 
in favor of Republican candidates who give them 
the maximum guarantees . . . against the dan- 
gers of war and in favor of a Franco-German 



understanding, of the secular idea, and of fiscal 
reform." The administrative committee was 
given jurisdiction in cases where federations 
should violate the rule. Members of Parliament, 
who are controlled individually by the federations 
and collectively by the national council, are sub- 
ject to an assessment of two hundred and fifty 
francs a month, one hundred francs being paid to 
the national council and one hundred and fifty 
to the group which defrayed the election ex- 
penses. Those who fail to make payments for a 
period of three months are liable to expulsion 
from the party. Any Socialist who, after election 
to public ofliice, voluntarily leaves the party or is 
expelled from it, is expected to resign his office. 

Tendency toward Consolidation 

There is an aspect of party government which 
many writers have described without explaining. 
In France, as in the countries of continental 
Europe generally, the parties or groups are quite 
numerous; in England and the offshoots of 
England (the United States, Canada, Australia, 
etc.) the two-party system normally prevails. 
Such a variation in practice challenges serious 
attention; for today it is the parties which impart 
vitality to government and which, by the charac- 
ter of their activities, determine how government 
shall be carried on. 

In England the two-party system evolved very 
slowly and as a result of practical adjustments 



rather than conscious purpose. The evolution The two- 
was still incomplete in the middle of the eighteenth syg^eni 
century when the Torieis were tainted with dis- inEng- 
loyalty and the domm^t Whigs were split into America 
factions or group^omewhat in the manner of the 
French Republicans at the close of the nineteenth 
century. Aa»the system took shape, with, two 
major x>artfes contending for t4ie mastery, with 
government and opposition^ engaged in a| con- 
tinuous debate in their appeaEf^ popular support, 
its virrfies came to be understood, and a philoso- 
phy was devised to explain and justify it. No 
doubt the logician may find in it, as in other 
institutions which have had a natural growth, 
provoking anomalies; he may affect amusement 
at the strange phenomenon (to quote "lolanthe'*) 

" That every boy and every gal 

Who's born into this world alive 
Is either a little Liberal 

Or else a little Conservative.** 

But there is always an answer to such criticism: 
practically speaking, the system works; it is 
intelligible to the masses who can decide between 
alternatives, but who are likely to become con- 
fused and helpless when half a dozen solutions, 
with fine shades and nice distinctions, are set 
before them. Two parties reflect the peculiar i 
limitations of the human mind, which, as Henri 
Bergson maintains, reaches its final solutions 
through the conflict of extremes. They best \ 



satisfy those combative instincts which are the 
underlying cause of party. 
Possible The question here, however, is not to determine 
ttonof " whether Anglo-American practice is better than 
thenu- French practice, but why the difference between 
^°"^ them exists. Is it only a matter of accident, the 
in France two-party system having been developed in Eng- 
land through local circumstances and transmitted 
to the colonies along with other political institu- 
tions? If that were the sole explanation, the 
system would not have persisted so long, outside 
of England and especially in the United States, 
without profound modifications. Is it a matter of 
racial temperament, of the hard-headed, practical 
sense which disposes the Anglo-Saxon to reach 
concrete results by way of compromise? The 
continental nations, with their numerous political 
groups, are not all lovers of abstraction and 
theory. Is it because certain issues which have 
inspired the formation of continental parties are 
lacking in the English-speaking world ? Monarchy 
as a political issue disappeared in the United 
States with the Revolution; it disappeared in the 
British empire with the attenuation of royal 
power, with the rise of the responsible prime 
minister as Carolingian mayor of the palace con- 
t ducting the government in the name of the roi 
^faineant. The Catholic religion as a political 
issue disappeared with the fall of the house of 
Stuart. Until recently labor manifested far less 
inclination than in France or Germany or Italy 


to assert separate class interests and to organize 
outside the existing parties. Whatever weight 
may be given to these various arguments, they 
are obviously insufficient, even in combination, 
to explain the phenomenon adequately. President 
Lowell has suggested a very different explanation.^ 
The two-party system, he contends, marks a 
later stage in political evolution than the con- 
tinental group system, the system of numerous 
parties. The tradition of self-government runs 
far back in England and in the United States; 
long experience has taught the advantage of | 
cooperation, of subordinating doctrinaire antag- 
onisms and impracticable dreams to the accom- 
plishment of immediate objects. On the other 
hand the continental nations, though long familiar 
with the ideal of self-government, have had rela- 
tively a very short acquaintance with its practice. 

If it were true, as some maintain, that the two- is th« 
party system is now disintegrating and that in JT 
the future American and English politics will ap- system 
proximate the chaos of continental politics, Presi- ^^'^^ 
dent Lowell's hypothesis would naturally be under ing? 
suspicion. Disintegration is suggested by many* 
famiHar facts: by the decay of partisan fealty, 
by the remarkable increase of the independent! 
vote, by the launching of new party organizations, 
by the startling progress of the Socialist, or labor,j 
movement. It is not the two-party system, how-l 

* Public Opinion and Popular Government (191 3), pages 81- 



ever, that is disintegrating; it is the two major 
parties functioning under that system that are 
disintegrating. This is a time of transition when 
new issues are forcing their way to notice and 
' when the parties which do not wish to face theni. 
must be swept aside by a new alignment bas/ra 
, on realities instead of memories. The Lalx)r 
party in En^and and the Labor party in Aus- 
tralia do not simply add a new element; they 
compel the old elements to make coalition against 
them; and furthermore, by precipitating a conflict 
on real issues, they restore all of the old fervor 
and devotion and discipline to the rank and file, 
igcon- Turning to France, do we find any conclusive 

Jl^jj " signs of a tendency towards party consolidation.? 
possible Do the facts lend support to President Lowell's 
Fnmce? hypothesis.'* Certainly the emergence of strong 
party organizations, the locking of the parlia- 
mentary groups, and the recognition of those 
groups in legislative procedure show that a 
leavening process is at work. Equally significant 
of a transition to new things is the history of the 
Republican bloc which, nearly twenty years ago, 
brought together the Socialists, Radical-Socialists, 
and the groups identified more or less with the 
Democratic-Republican party and which, operat- 
ing through the Delegation of the Lefts, intro- 
duced a cohesion and discipline hitherto unknown. 
True, the bloc did not long survive the secession 
of the Unified Socialists in 1905. It continued 
for a few years as a rather shaky alliance of 

[ 374 ] 


Democratic-Republicans, Radical-Socialists, and 
Independent Socialists; and it fell utterly to j 
pieces when Briand, as a leader of the Demo- I 
cratic-Republitan party, declared that the anti- 
clerical conflict was at an end and that the time 
had come to make a generous peace. But the j 
collapse of the bloc does not by any means portend 
a return to chaos. It requires no prophetic eye 
to discern a tendency in the opposite direction. 
While the secession of the Unified Socialists 
wrecked the bloc, that party, with its steadily! 
increasing strength ^ and its vigorous discipline, j 
will be an important factor in bringing about a' 
redistribution of political forces, as the labor 
party has been in England and Australia. In 
the first place those who fear "the danger on the 
Left" are already showing a disposition to work 
in harmony. Briand's rupture with the Radical- 
Socialists on the religious question makes it pos- 
sible for his followers to join hands with the 
Republican Federation, if not with the A. L. P.* 

* The Unified Socialists lost thirty seats in the election of 
1919, but this was due to their unpatriotic attitude towards 
the war, the widespread fear of Bolshevism, the combination 
of the other parties in the National Republican blocy and 
above all to the operation of a new election system; on the 
basis of voting strength the Socialists should have gained 
at least 30 seats. See Chapter IX. 

^ In the campaign of 1914 Jacques Piou, president of the 
A.L.P. said that on the religious question there was little to 
choose between the "soft manner" of the Briandists and the 
"harsh manner" of the Radical-Socialists. 

C 375 ] 


This was evident in the campaign of 1914. For 
example, Charles Benoist, president of the Re- 
publican Federation, urged union in opposition 
to the ''impious compact" between Radical- 
Socialists and Unified Socialists, "the latter 
openly and as master, the former secretly and as 
a suppliant seeking a wretched electoral profit in 
the ruin of the country. . . . You call yourselves 
Federation of the Lefts, Democratic-Republican 
AlHance, Republican Federation, and Liberal 
Action. That makes little difference. All of you 
who call yourselves Frenchmen, we beg of you no 
longer to think of anything but France." It 
would be easy to multiply illustrations of this sort. 
In the second place it is safe to assume that as 
the Unified Socialists, drawing nearer to the re- 
sponsibilities of office, discard something of their 
doctrinaire and revolutionary attitude, they will 
absorb, or at least establish an hegemony over, the 
Socialist-Republicans and the Radical-Socialists.^ 
The Radical-SociaHst party, having exhausted 
its anti-clerical role, has become divided and con- 
fused. It hesitates before the problems of the 
future. It sought to save itself from isolation by 
acting in concert with the Unified Socialists in 
the elections of 1914; and that electoral bloc 
seems to foreshadow a parliamentary bloc. After 
the elections Emile Combes said:^ "I am more 

* In such a case the right wing of both parties would pass 
over to the Briandists. 

' De Lanessan, La Crise de la Rgpublique (1914), pages 185- 


I— ( 











than ever attached to the bloc. First and fore- 
most because I do not consider democratic 
progress possible without that battle formation. 
There are two majorities possible: one altogether 
on the Left, established without limitation on 
democratic progress; the other depending on a 
vague concentration which would involve the 
worst deceptions." ^ He advocated the revival of 
the hloc as an imperious necessity. "In that part 
of their program which is really practical the 
Unified Socialists are almost in accord with the 
Independent Socialists and the Radical-Social- 
ists." Camille Pelletan spoke in a similar vein. 
The Unified Socialist congress of January, 1914, 
while rejecting a proposal to reconstitute the 
bloc (as "likely to impair the party's combative 
vigor"), was divided in its opinion. Gustave 
Herve, editor of La Guerre sociale and fomenter 
of Syndicalist demonstrations during the Morocco 
crisis, insisted upon the necessity of uniting "all 
the forces of the Left." "If we make an alliance 
on the second ballot," he argued, "why should 
we not continue the alliance afterwards? I am a 
blocard up to this point: that, were an Incident 
like that of Morocco to recur, I should like to 
have in the cabinet a Socialist minister who would 
give warning of the danger and bring it to the 

186. This is one of the most illuminating books that has 
been written on contemporary French politics. 

^ He is here referring to the inclination of Leon Bourgeois 
and others of the right wing towards the Briandists. 

C 377 ] 


attention of his bourgeois colleagues. ... In 
substance you all reach the same conclusion as I. 
Only, before accepting the dish, you spit upon it." 
Evidently an understanding between the Unified 
Socialists and Radical-Socialists is at least within 
the range of possibility, 
opinion The time is ripe for party consolidation in 
leadera France. On every hand evidence of its approach 
abounds.^ Leaders of all parties speak of the 
futility and incoherence of Parliament, its in- 
capacity for any prolonged enterprise of reform; 
and for the most part they agree — men like 
Combes and Poincare who agree in little else — 
! that Parliament suffers, as the late Jean Jaures 
said, from "its ambiguous parties and fluctuating 
program, its confused and hesitating majorities." 
This view is entertained so generally that the 
consolidation of parties, when once the movement 
gets under way, should proceed at a rapid pace. 
That movement has in fact already got under 
way. First, in the years preceding the war, 
Aristide Briand formulated his policy of concilia- 
tion, appealing on the one hand to the Action 
Liberale Populaire and the Republican Federa- 
tion, on the other hand to the Socialist-Republican 
party and the Democratic-Republican party; and 
the Federation of the Lefts was organized to 
promote this new policy in the elections of 1914. 
Then came the war and with it the party truce, 
the Unio7i sacree. Gradually the Unified Socialists 
* On this subject see especially de Lanessan, op. ciu 



drew away from this coalition, resuming their 
traditional attitude of opposition. In the elec- 
tions of 1919 they stood alone, faced by the 
formidable alliance of parties known as the 
National Republican bloc. It is not to be ex- 
pgjcted that all the parties which gave their 
adhesion to the^ hloc will ffhd permanent coopera- 
tion 'possible. No settlement of the rehgious 
question can satisfy both the A. L. P. and the 
Radical-Socialists. But even on the assumption 
that the A. L. P. will eventually reassert its full 
independence and that the Radical-Socialist 
party, or at least its left wing, will make common 
cause with the Socialists, the other elements of 
the bloc are almost certain to coalesce — by a 
sl6w and interrupted process perhaps — in a 
,/great liberal Republican party. The Unified 
Socialists will constitute an effective opposition. 
Discredited as they were by the prevalent fear 
of bolshevism and hampered by an election system 
which played into the hands of the majority, 
they lost 30 seats in the last elections, 14 in 
Paris alone. But far from indicating a collapse, 
as some journalists have supposed, the showing 
which the party made under adverse circumstances 
puts its future as one of the major parties quite 
beyond any doubt. ^ 

^ The Unified Socialists cast more than one fifth of 
the aggregate popular vote in 1919. Under a real system 
of proportional representation they would have gained 30 
or 40 seats instead of losing 30. 




Adminis- TN England and those countries that have de- 
Uiwln rived their institutions from England it may 

France be said, with certain reservations, that the law 
does not discriminate between the private in- 
I dividual and the public officer. The latter, hav- 
ing committed a wrongful act in the service of 
the state, cannot, because of his official character, 
escape the jurisdiction of the courts of law. He 
is held personally responsible. But in France, 
as in continental countries generally, "every 
effort is made to cover the responsibility of the 
.servant of the state behind the liability of the 
state itself, to protect him against, and to save 
him from, the painful consequence of faults com- 
mitted in the service of the state.'* ^ As against 
private citizens he holds a privileged position. A 
separate body of law, called administrative law, 
determines his rights and liabilities as well as the 
rights and liabilities of citizens in their relations 
jwith him; and special courts, called adminis- 
jtrative courts, have been established to enforce 
these rights and habilities. Public law and private 

* Hauriou quoted in Dicey, Laiv of the Constitution (8th ed., 
I9iS)» page 400. 



law are two distinct branches of jurisprudence inj 

The contrast between EngHsh and continental How it 
practice has been variously explained. Perhaps, J^^' 
as Professor Hauriou believes/ it rests upon the 
relatively high centralization of government in 
continental Europe and the consequent sub- 
ordination of the abstract principles of justice to 
the requirements of public policy. Aside from 
this larger aspect, the development of adminis- 
trative law in France came as the result of ex- 
perience with a different system under the Old i 
Regime.^ In the eighteenth century serious con- 
flicts arose between the royal administration and \ 
the law courts; and while the independence of | 
the latter was menaced, the authority of the j 
former was subjected to intolerable restraints. I 
When the Revolution came in 1789, all parties 
looked askance at the pretensions of the courts: 
those who stood by the old order, because the 
old order had suffered encroachments; those who 
wished to establish a new order, because the new 
order must be protected from similar encroach- 
ments. Moreover, Montesquieu's doctrine of 
the separation of powers, as understood by French- 
men, implied that the courts must under no pre- 

* Hauriou, Precis dc droit administratif (8th ed., 19 14), 
page 2. 

* Berthelemy, Traite Hementaire de droit administratif (7th 
ed., 1913), page 18; Chardon, V Administration de la France: 
Us fonctionnaires (1908), page 347. 




text interfere with the liberty of- administrative 
action. This principle was recognized in the laws 
and constitutions of the revolutionary period. A 
law of 1790, for instance, declares that judicial 
functions are distinct and must always remain 
distinct from administrative functions; and the 
Constitution of 1791 forbids the courts to take 
any action that trenches upon the administrative 
I field. 
Advan- This system, which has continued down to the 

ti^e^° present time, makes the administration the 
French arbitrary judge of its own conduct. Apparently 
> it leaves private rights without protection. "The 
government has always a free hand," says Presi- 
dent Lowell, "and can violate the law if it wants 
to do so without having anything to fear from 
the ordinary courts." ^ But as a matter of fact 
the system is arbitrary only from a theoretical 
standpoint. Such safeguards have been evolved 
during the past century — in the creation of 
administrative courts with a settled procedure 
and a coherent body of case law for their guidance 
— that the Frenchman is no more exposed to 
official oppression than is the Englishman or the 
American; in some respects his situation affords 
larger guarantees. On the other hand, the 
existence of a separate body of administrative law, 
slowly matured by the decision of cases and ad- 
justed to the necessities of efficient service, has 

1 Governments and Partus in Continental Europe (1896)* 
Vol. I, page 58. 



much to recommend it.^ It relieves officials from 
the vexatious and even absurd obstacles that 
American and English courts sometimes inter- 
pose; and, because the procedure is better 
adapted to its purpose, it permits a more real 
penetration of the law into administrative matters. 
That our system of common law entails irritating 
abuses must be patent to any intelligent observer. 
Whenever some small administrative irregularity is 
alleged, satisfaction may be sought only through 
courts which are expensive, technical, and dilatory. 
Thus a man by the name of Collins, being dis- 
missed from his post as superintendent of high- 
ways in New York City and claiming that the 
dismissal violated civil-service regulations, began 
action for reinstatement in 1904. Apparently the 
question was very simple; it would have been 
settled by a French administrative court in a few 
hours. But such is the nature of American civil 
procedure that, though Collins always won, he 
could never get a final judgment. On some 
technicality or other the suit went to the appellate 
division of the Supreme Court twelve times and 
to the Court of Appeals three times. Finally, in 
July, 191 6, the litigation was ended by an agree- 
ment between the parties! 

From the standpoint of effective government 
there is a still more serious difficulty. Officials 
are often discouraged from performing their | 

^ For criticism of administrative law see Dicey, op. cit., 
page 396, and Lowell, op. cit., Vol. I, page 58. 




(1) the 

duties because they know that, though acting 
with the best intentions in the world, they may 
subject themselves to damage suits taken on 
some nice technical point. In this way provisions 
of the English Merchant Shipping Acts, which 
permit the Board of Trade to detain unseaworthy 
ships, have been rendered nugatory; the agent 
of the Board knows that he is personally liable 
for damages if a jury disagrees with his conclu- 
sions as to the condition of a ship.^ In France 
the official is sheltered behind the liability of the 
state; and if, obeying in good faith the orders of 
his superior, he does injury to private individuals, 
they may seek redress against the state in the 
administrative courts, knowing that the claim 
will be decided promptly, that the costs will be 
negligible, and that the state can pay the damages 
awarded. Here are advantages which both the 
official and the citizen equally recognize. 

There are t>yo administrative courts: the 
Prefectoral Council {Conseil de Prefecture) and 
the Council of State {Conseil d'Etat). In each 
department the Prefectoral Council, consisting of 
three or four members, acts as a court of first 
instance. Its jurisdiction includes a variety of 
matters that are not, strictly speaking, ad- 
ministrative (contested municipal and district 
elections, offenses against national highway regu- 
lations, etc.)) but extends mainly to complaints 
against official acts, as when a citizen alleges that 


* Dicey, op. cit., page 392. 


he has been taxed inequitably or that the prefect 
has authorized the erection of an insanitary- 
factory. The procedure is exceedingly simple 
because, by means of an official investigation, the 
court ascertains the facts in the case before the 
hearing takes place. Nevertheless, it cannot be 
said that the Prefectoral Councils inspire any 
high degree of public confidence; and that there 
are substantial reasons for this lack of confidence 
appears from the fact that almost all important 
decisions are brought before the Council of State 
on appeal and that two of them out of every 
three are there modified or reversed.^ Indeed the 
composition of the councils gives no sufficient 
guarantee of judicial capacity. The salaries, 
ranging from ^400 to ^800 outside Paris, do not 
as a rule attract able men. The members, being 
appointed and removed by presidential decree, 
have no security of tenure; the only check upon 
political patronage is found in the provision that 
the nominees must have had a legal training or 
an experience of ten years in some government 
office. The character of the council is partly 
explained by its history. It was originally, and 
still remains, an advisory body; in some matters 
the prefect must, in all matters he may, seek its 
advice, though his ultimate course need in no 
way be influenced thereby. Legally he is en- 
titled to preside; that he does not exercise this 
right when the council acts as a court is simply 
* Chardon, op. cit., page 368. 



a concession to the proprieties. Latterly proposals 
have been made to reform the councils or abolish 
them altogether. 
(2) the The Council of State occupies a very different 

of°state position; no English or American court enjoys 
higher prestige. Like the Prefectoral Council, 
however, it plays a double role, having originally 
possessed only executive or advisory functions. 
In some measure the development of its jurisdic- 
tion as a court, the separation of its executive 
and judicial functions through the establishment 
of distinct committees, recalls the process by 
which the judicial committee of the privy council 
evolved as the highest court for the British 
Empire.^ Fortunately, adequate precautions have 
been taken to free the Council acting as a court 
from political influences and to give it a position 
of independence over against the government. 
The Council does include political elements: the 
minister of justice, who, though nominally its 
president, makes only one formal appearance 
during his term of office; and twenty-one "coun- 
cilors in special service** who, representing the 
various ministries, expound the official point of 
view, when the Council is asked for advice, and 
help to determine the nature of that advice as 
well. But these political members are excluded 
from the Council when it decides cases. Only the 

^ The judicial functions of the Council of State are regu- 
lated by the law of April 8, 19 lo, and by a number of decrees 
issued in the same year. 



professional members, the thirty-five "councilors 
in ordinary service," act as judges. They are ap- 
pointed by presidential decree, as the constitution 
requires; but half of them must have served for 
a considerable period in certain important posi- 
tions connected with the Council, this preliminary 
service being open only to those who have demon- 
strated their fitness in competitive examinations. 
Such men bring to the Council of State a mature 
knowledge of the law and fine ideals of judicial 
conduct. The other half, though appointed with- 
out restriction of any kind, are men of proved 
capacity who have won reputation in the practice 
of law or in the higher ranges of government 
service. The personnel therefore includes two 
elements: one strictly professional and, by virtue 
of a long preliminary training, familiar with the 
procedure of the Council and with the juris- 
prudence which a mass of decisions has built up; 
the other drawn mainly from the active adminis- 
tration, acquainted with the practical aspects of 
questions which the Council has to decide, and less 
apt to be influenced by technical considerations. 
The mingling of these two elements has produced 
admirable results. The councilors, as Duguit 
says,^ "do not inspire in the governmental mind 
the distrust or jealousy which judges of the 
ordinary courts might inspire; and, on the other 
hand, they confront the government v^thout that 
timidity which Is not infrequently displayed by 
* Political Science Quarterly, Vol. XXIX (1914), page 393. 



of the 
of SUte 

the ordinary judges." ^ Nor has the government 
sought to impair this spirit of independence. No ^ 
councilor has been arbitrarily removed since 1879. 
It might be observed that th-e salary of ^3200, 
which would be small indeed for such an august 
tribunal in England or the United States, is con- 
sidered liberal in France; and a pension is granted 
upon retirement. 

The advisory functions of the Council, though 
less important in practice than in theory, occupy 
a good deal of its time. Upon a large number of 
questions (having to do with public works, civil 
and military pensions, the creation of commerce 
courts, etc.) the ministers must seek its advice 
before taking final action. This happens in 
something like thirty thousand cases each year.^ 
Frequently too the statutes, which are enacted 
in general terms and applied by means of detailed 
ordinances, require the ministers to frame these 
ordinances in consultation with the Council. The 
latter discharges its duties conscientiously. But 
in any case, and even where an opinion has been 
supported by elaborate explanations, the ministers 
are free to act as they choose. It is only in 
technical matters that they show a disposition to 
accept guidance. Naturally enough this attitude 
grieves the Council, whose best efforts have been 

* On this and other points consult Rene Brugere, Le Conseil 
d'JEtat (1910). 

* Chardon, op. cit., page 391. Four-fifths of the cases have 
to do with civil and military pensions. 



expended to no purpose; but, on the other hand, 
the cabinet, under a parliamentary system, can 
hardly share serious responsibiHties with a non- 
political body. It has been suggested that 
the ministers, unless excused in each case by 
Parliament, should be compelled to act upon 
the Council's recommendations. An alterna- 
tive solution would be to leave the Council 
completely free for the conduct of its judicial 

The Council of State as an administrative itsorfg- 
court, besides entertaining appeals from the dictio^^ 
Prefectoral Council, exercises original jurisdiction 
in three important classes of suits. In the first 
place it may annul administrative acts that are 
attacked as ultra vires, an act ultra vires being 
one which the official concerned was legally in- 
competent to perform, or which he performed 
without due observance of the settled procedure, 
or which involved the violation of some law^. 
The complainant need not show that he has been 
injured by the act; it is sufficient that he has an 
interest, even an indirect moral interest, in its 
annulment. Thus an association of government 
officials may attack the appointment of an official 
if it seems to have been made in violation of the 
ministerial ordinance regulating such appoint- 
ments. In the second place the court may annul 
any act which, while legal in itself, has been 
performed for a purpose not contemplated by the 
* Brugere, op. cit., page 165. 



law.^ Thus the court has held invalid a decree 
dissolving a municipal council because of irreg- v 
ularities in the election, for such a dissolution 
can legally take place only for the purpose of 
correcting abuses in the local administration; and 
when a prefect granted to a bus company the 
exclusive privilege of meeting trains at a railroad 
station, it was held that he had not acted, as he 
professed to have done, under the police power. 
In 1879 the court found that the closing of a 
match factory was not justifiable under the police 
power (sanitation). The factory had been closed 
by the prefect, acting on the order of his superior, 
not really because of insanitary conditions, but 
because the state wished to save the expense of 
compulsory purchase necessitated by its estab- 
lishment of the match monopoly. Such decisions 
are based upon the doctrine of "misapplication 
of power "; they involve an examination into 
the motives that lie behind the act. But the 
complainant does not have to bring positive 
proof that the act was dictated by improper 
motives; he needs merely to show the absence of 
facts that would be necessary to justify the act. 
In the third place relief is granted to persons who 
are injured by the operation (even the normal 
operation) of the public services. ^ "It seems that 
today the Council of State recognizes the liability 

* Duguit, Les Transformations du droit public (191 3), pages 

* Duguit, op. cit.f pages 254-262. 



of the administration even in cases where there 
has been no fault in the conduct of the public 
service." ^ It did so, for instance, where a police- 
man pursuing an offender, collided with a 
pedestrian and injured him; and where a gen- 
darme, firing at a mad bull, wounded a passer-by. 
The Council of State has, however, no power to ^®*^" 

. . I , sions not 

enforce its decisions. When damages have been always 
awarded to an injured party or when the dis- «nforced 
missal of a government employee has been de- 
clared ultra vires, the Council must rely upon 
the proper administrative authority to grant 
redress. Normally the decision will be accepted ' 
as a matter of course. But now and then officials 
show a disposition to resist the movement by 
which the Council of State is steadily extending 
its control over administrative acts. They boycott 
the Council of State, as Professor Hauriou ex- 
presses it. A case may be cited for illustration. 
Under the municipal code a mayor may suspend 
a garde champetre for one month, but not remove 
him. The mayor of Cotignac sought to accom- 
plish the latter object by ordering the suspension 
of a garde champetre and renewing the order 
each month. When in 1909 the Council of State 
annulled the first ten orders, the mayor continued 
in his course. Next year seven orders were 
annulled. Under such circumstances, orders 
being issued and annulled indefinitely, the sus- 
pended officer could find only one means of relief. 

* Political Science ^uarterlyy Vol. XXIX, page 402. 



He could bring action in the ordinary courts; 
for since the mayor knowingly refused to conform , 
to the decision of a competent court, he was 
guilty of a personal fault. Nevertheless a person 
of humble position would hesitate to avail himself 
of this opportunity, the procedure before the 
ordinary courts being regarded as too complicated 
and too costly. 
Proce- Procedure before the Council of State is simple, 

Sldidai ^ expeditious, and inexpensive. The complaint 
commit- may be filed at a cost of twelve cents.^ One of 
**** the officials attached to the court prepares a 

statement of the case, including the pleas of both 
parties to the suit, adds his own observations, 
and passes the documents to a government com- 
missioner for further scrutiny. Before the hearing 
takes place the councilors have acquainted them- 
selves with all the details. They proceed rapidly 
to a decision, brushing aside technicalities which 
so often absorb the attention of lawyers and stand 
in the way of substantial justice. The Council of 
State has two judicial committees or sections du 
contentieux. One of these (composed of twelve 
councilors) deals only with cases relating to elec- 
tions and direct taxes; the other (composed of 
nine councilors) has a much wider jurisdiction 
including such matters as highway offenses, dam- 
ages occasioned by public works, pensions, danger- 
ous or unhealthy establishments, etc. Both are 
divided into three subcommittees; but while in 
1 Political Science RevieWf Vol. IX, page 644. 


the case of the first section the subcommittees are 
competent to render decisions, in the case of the 
second section their work is altogether preparatory. 
The most important questions (such as excess of 
power) are reserved for hearing by the Council of 
State in "pubHc assembly" — that is, by the 
whole body of councilors of state in ordinary 
service; and at the request of the government, 
or one member of a committee, or the vice- 
president of the Council any case may be with- 
drawn from the committees and decided in public 
assembly. The activity and zeal of the Council 
of State, as well as its business-like methods, are 
universally recognized. But unfortunately, with 
its existing organization and with the prodigious 
increase of litigation which social and economic 
reforms have entailed, the Council is quite unable 
to clear its docket. The congestion of business 
steadily increases. In 1909 more than four thou- 
sand cases (representing then more than three 
years' work) had accumulated.^ In 1916, not- 
withstanding changes in organization which had, 
six years before, increased the efficiency of the 
Council, the situation had grown worse.^ Mean- 
while, because Parliament has hesitated to spend 
a few thousand francs in enlarging the Council of 
State, litigants remain without relief, uncertainty 
prevails as to the meaning of new laws, and the 
government is rendered liable for interest when 

* Brugere, op. cit., page 120 et seq. 

* Revue du droit puhlicy Vol. XXXIII (1916), pages 65-67. 



damages are finally awarded against it. This is 
another illustration of the evils which attend the 
lack of responsible and effective leadership in ' 

Now although a well-established principle of 
French law forbids the ordinary courts to interfere 
with the exercise of executive power, that principle 
is not without exceptions. First of all, criminal 
cases are tried in the ordinary courts. But this 
does not constitute a serious invasion of official 
privilege, because normally criminal proceedings 
must be set in motion by the state prosecutor and 
because under Article 114 of the penal code 
offenders cannot be prosecuted when they have 
acted in conformity with the orders of their 
Personal superiors. If, nevertheless, an official is prosecuted 
fault o? ^^^ convicted, the government can exercise its 
service right of pardon. In the second place, the ordinary 
courts will hold an official responsible for his 
personal faults — for negligent or malicious con- 
duct in carrying out the orders of his superior. 
While the Council of State has jurisdiction where 
a "fault of service" has been committed — that 
is, where acts are illegal because of ** excess of 
power" or "misapplication of power," the ad- 
ministrative entity, not its agent, then being 
defendant — the ordinary courts have jurisdiction 
where the agent has committed a "personal 
fault." It is important, therefore, to distinguish 
between a personal fault and a fault of service.^ 
^ See on this subject Duguit, of. cit., page 271 et seq, 


If the mayor of a commune authenticates a 
signature without observing the precautions laid 
down by the minister of the interior and if the 
signature proves to be fraudulent, he has com- 
mitted a personal fault; but if he has observed 
the precautions and yet been mistaken, the fault 
is a fault of service. In this case the distinction 
is easily made. But frequently the facts are 
more complicated. In a doubtful case, when the 
ordinary courts assume jurisdiction, and proceed 
to try an official for personal fault, the jurisdiction 
may be contested by the prefect. Who shall 
decide between the prefect and the judges.^ Not 
the ordinary courts, because such authority 
would enable them to encroach upon adminis- 
trative prerogatives; not the prefect himself, or 
even the Council of State, because the ordinary 
courts would then be at their mercy. For this 
purpose a special court called the Court of Con- Court of 
fiicts has been established. It is formed in such 
a way as to insure impartiality. There are nine 
members: the minister of justice as president, | 
three councilors of state chosen by their peers i 
for three years, three members of the Court of ! 
Cassation (highest of the ordinary courts) chosen 
in the same way, and two members chosen by 
the other seven for three years. Reelection being 
the rule, the personnel of the court is more or 
less permanent. The minister of justice rarely 
presides, his place being filled by a vice-president 
named by the judges from among their own ; 



number. It is the duty of the Court of Conflicts 

to designate the competent court in all cases of 

disputed jurisdiction. 

Ordi- There is still another way in which the ordinary 

nances courts may exercise control over the administra- 

" legally tion. According to the penal code "those violat- 

°^ * ing ordinances legally made by the administrative 

authority shall be punished by a fine of one to 

five francs." The words "legally made" are 

significant; they imply that illegal ordinances 

may be violated without penalty. Therefore, 

when some one is brought into court and charged 

with the infringement of an ordinance, he can 

plead the fact of its illegality; and the court may 

find that no offense has been committed. But 

while the Council of State has power to annul an 

illegal ordinance altogether, the ordinary courts 

can only refuse to apply it in a particular case. 

Such are the chief exceptions to a system which 
differentiates French public law sharply from our 
own. Administrative law is a subject that has 
serious interest for American students. The 
process of centralization is becoming more and 
more accelerated in the United States, as in 
England; and there are indications that, without 
any conscious imitation, we are being driven 
slowly toward the development of an adminis- 
trative law. The Interstate Commerce Commis- 
sion and the Federal Trade Commission illustrate 
this tendency. But far more significant is the 
marked change of attitude on the part of leading 



students of government, a change that may be 
said to have had its beginning with the appearance 
of President Goodnow's Comparative Adminis- 
trative Law in 1893. Today there are many who 
accept his conclusions as to the superiority of 
the continental system and who see in it a ref- 
uge from the intolerable abuses of our technical 


of the 



Justice TJRIVATE law, civil and criminal, is adminis- 
^ tered in courts that are styled "ordinary" 
to distinguish them from the "administrative" 
courts. In every canton (and there are more than 
twenty-nine hundred of these) a justice of the 
peace holds court. In civil cases his jurisdiction 
is very limited, and appeal is allowed whenever 
the amount involved exceeds sixty dollars. His 
criminal jurisdiction extends to petty offenses 
called contrave7itions. Now in the criminal code 
crimes fall into three main categories: crimes^ 
which correspond roughly to our felonies (as 
murder, burglary and forgery); delits, or mis- 
demeanors which are punished by an imprison- 
ment of more than five days or a fine of more 
than three dollars; and contraventions, which are 
themselves subdivided into three classes. The 
decision of a justice of the peace is final only as 
regards the first class of contraventions, that is, 
when the fine does not exceed one dollar and 
when no sentence of imprisonment is imposed. 
Under this arrangement ten per cent of the deci- 
sions could be appealed; it speaks well for the 
reputation of the court that not more than one 
per cent of them actually are appealed. But the 



justices are not expected merely to decide cases. 
They are expected to bring parties to an informal 
conference and to adjust disputes by methods of 
conciliation. In view of the complex social and 
economic facts of today, however, this process 
has become more difficult than it was a century 
ago; and everything depends upon the confidence 
and respect that the justices command. Un- 
fortunately the salaries are exceedingly meager; 
unless the justice is finally appointed to one of 
the coveted posts at the capital, he can look 
forward to a maximum of only a thousand dollars. 
Since he is not ranked as a member of the regular 
magistracy, promotion to a higher court can 
come only in exceptional cases. There seems to be 
a very general feeling that the justice of the peace, 
whose ability and standing are all-important in 
view of his contact with the masses, should be 
better paid and have a higher official rank.^ 

In each arrondissement there is a District District 
Court {Tribunal d' Arrondissement) ^ which enter- 
tains appeals from the justice's court and exercises 
original jurisdiction as well. In civil cases its 
decisions may be appealed when they involve 
personalty to the value of more than three 
hundred dollars or realty yielding an income of 

* J. Coumoul, Traite du pouvoir judiciaire (2nd ed., 191 1), 
page 347; Chardon, L' Administration de la France (1908), 
page 263. 

* Sometimes called the Court of First Instance or, when 
acting in criminal matters, the Correctional Court. 



more than twelve dollars. The presence of at 
least three judges is necessary; as a rule this 
number is exceeded. In fact the only French 
court in which a single judge presides is the 
justice's court; and authoritative opinion seems 
generally favorable to existing arrangements, 
which reduce to a minimum the danger of eccentric 
or venal decisions and which, measured by their 
results, have given good satisfaction.^ Neverthe- 
less, it has been urged that a reduction in the 
number of judges (there are fifteen in each 
chamber of the highest court) would make larger 
salaries possible, increase the feeling of responsi- 
bility on the part of individual judges, and perhaps 
lead to the establishment of more stringent tests 
for appointment to the bench. 
Court of Civil and criminal cases may be appealed from 
the District Court to the Court of Appeal. There 
are twenty-eight of such courts: one each in 
Corsica, Algeria, and Tunis; twenty-five presiding 
over areas which correspond roughly to the old 
provinces. The presence of five judges is neces- 
sary for a decision. Each court includes one or 
more civil chambers, a criminal chamber, and an 
"accusation" or indictment chamber. As will 
presently appear, it is the function of the accusa- 
tion chamber to decide finally whether a person 
charged with committing a felony shall be prose- 
cuted; and when a misdemeanor has been com- 

* Coumoul, op. cit.y page 352; Chardon, L' Administration 
de la France: Us fonctionnairesj page 276. 





mitted, it may, at the request of the prosecutor 
or of the injured party, overrule the examining 
magistrate and order the accused to be brought 
to trial. Judges of the Court of Appeal are also 
assigned to service in the Court of Assizes which 
sits quarterly in the chief town of each department. 

The Court of Assizes is the great criminal Court of 
court, having jurisdiction over all felonies and 
over certain press offenses (such as libel). There 
are always three judges: a president, who conducts 
the proceedings and who is designated by the 
minister of justice on the recommendation of the 
prosecutor-general; and two assistant judges who 
may be drawn from the Court of Appeal or from 
the local District Court. The judges impose 
sentence, but a jury — the only jury employed 
in French courts — determines the question of 
guilt or innocence without any charge by the 
president and without any statement of the law 
except in the precise language of the criminal 
code. Certain excellent features of the French 
jury system will be discussed later on. In spite 
of them, however, the system does not appear to 
have achieved practical success. *' Nobody enter- 
tains any illusions," says M. Chardon, "there are 
few institutions more discredited than the jury. 
. . . When we read in the best authors that the 
Court of Assizes is one of the most singular 
institutions devised by the imagination of man, 
we cannot find the criticism excessive." ^ Juries 

1 Op. cit.y page 213. 



' oscillate between extreme rigor and extreme in- 
dulgence. Their attitude is severe when offenses 
against property are concerned (forgery, arson), ' 
but lenient when an eloquent barrister has stirred 
their sympathies on behalf of the defendant or 
when life has been taken without premeditation 
and in the heat of passion. If a wife has killed 
her husband or a husband has killed his wife 
because of marital infidelity, acquittal seems to 
follow as a matter of course. It may be safer to 
commit murder than to commit mayhem; for 
while a case of murder is tried before a jury in 
the Court of Assizes, a case of aggravated assault 
and battery goes before three judges in the 
District Court. "On one occasion a husband 
who had an unfaithful wife gave her a tremendous 
thrashing and broke her arm, for which he was 
sentenced by a correctional court to a year's 
imprisonment. As he left the dock, he exclaimed 
ruefully, * That's what one gets for being too 
gentle.'" * Under these circumstances the state 
frequently escapes the jurisdiction of the Court 
of Assizes by charging the prisoner with a mis- 
demeanor instead of a felony. 

It is interesting to notice that occasions arise 
when the Court of Assizes, though a criminal 
court, decides civil suits. Crime is an offense 
against society; in France, as in the United 
States, the government prosecutes. But crime 

. also involves injury to individuals, who may seek 
* American Law RevieWf Vol. XLVII (1913), page 467. 


redress by means of a civil action for damages. 
This procedure has been greatly simpHfied in 
France. Instead of bringing a separate suit, the 
injured party may claim damages at the criminal 
trial and be represented there by counsel.^ The 
success of his claim does not, however, depend 
upon the verdict of the jury; there are no juries 
in civil cases. Even in the face of a verdict of 
acquittal, the court has authority to award 
damages. Such circumstances have arisen from 
time to time. In the celebrated trial of Prince 
Pierre Bonaparte the court ordered him to pay 
damages forthe murder of a prominent journalist 
whom, according to the jury, he had not mur- 

In order to preserve the harmony of French Court of 
private law and to prevent the miscarriage of *^^*^°° 
justice a supreme appellate court was established 
in 1790. This is the Court of Cassation. Its 
function is not to review the facts that have 
been established in the lower court, but to sustain 
or reverse {passer) the decision; and in the event 
of reversal, it cannot substitute an affirmative 
decision of its own; the case is then sent back 
for retrial.^ Reversal takes place when the judges 
are found to have violated the law or failed to 
observe the essential forms of procedure. "This 


* Garner, *^ Criminal Procedure in France^^ Yale Law 
Review, Vol. XXV (1916), page 283. 

^ For exceptional cases see Garner, "Criminal Procedure in 
France" Tale Law Review, Vol. XXV (1916), page 281. 




court," says Raymond Polncare, "has gradually 
introduced, in the body of judicial decisions, 
certain concordant views. Unity is not at once 
established upon each litigious question, but it 
tends toward a rapid evolution, and when the 
supreme court has pronounced upon any given 
point or cause, its opinion rapidly prevails in all 
the trials in which the same juridical problem 
occurs. Thus, side by side with the written law, 
a jurisprudence is created which fills lacunae and 
dissipates obscurities." ^ Nevertheless, the deci- 
sions of the Court of Cassation are not legally 
binding upon the lower courts in subsequent 
cases. It has happened occasionally that its 
doctrine has been modified or transformed by 
the persistence of the lower courts in a different 
interpretation of the law. The court is divided 
into three sections, each with a president and 
fifteen judges: the criminal chamber, the chamber 
of requests, and the civil chamber. Criminal 
appeals go direct to the criminal chamber, but 
civil appeals are subjected to a more elaborate 
procedure, petitions not being entertained by 
the civil chamber unless the chamber of requests, 
after a careful examination, has come to the 
conclusion that there are substantial grounds for 
reversal. The Court of Cassation has no power 
to question the validity of acts of Parliament.^ 

* How France is Governed (1913), page 240. 
' This aspect of judicial power is discussed In Chapter I, 
pages 21-26. 


There are two other French courts that find 
no counterparts in the United States: the Coun- 
cil of Experts (Conseil des Prudhommes) and the 
Commerce Court. The former, originating in 
the time of Napoleon, has jurisdiction over dis- 
putes between employers and workmen. A 
council may be created by decree whenever the 
municipal council, the chamber of commerce, 
and certain other local bodies desire it. The 
members of the court, including an equal number 
of employers and workmen, are elected for six 
years by their peers, women being eligible. In 
the event of deadlock, which the constitution of 
the court renders not improbable, the law of 1907 
provides for a rehearing under the presidency of 
the justice of the peace. Judgments may be ap- 
pealed to the District Court when more than 
sixty dollars is involved. 

The judges of the Commerce Court are also 
elective: merchants chosen by merchants and 
serving gratuitously for two years. They have 
jurisdiction over an enormous mass of commercial 
cases which may relate to the smallest or the 
largest transactions, to the purchase of a penny 
loaf of bread or to the bankruptcy of a great 
trading corporation. In fact commercial law is 
so complex and difficult to interpret that in 
almost half of France it is administered in the 
District Courts. The idea that a business man 
is best qualified to settle business disputes has 
definite limitations; it is not clear that a grocer 




as a 

ment and 
tenure of 

y is well qualified to deal with the operations, let 
us say, of the General Transatlantic Company. 
Nor does the elective system work well. In' 
Paris hardly more than four per cent of the 
qualified voters participate in the choice of the 

In the United States judicial office sometimes 
crowns a successful career at the bar (this being 
the normal condition in England), but it is more 
often sought by ambitious young lawyers as a 
means of gaining recognition and laying the 
foundations of lucrative practice. In France, 
however, the bench offers a career by itself. 
The college student may decide to become a 
judge just as he may decide to become a doctor 
or a civil engineer. That stands as a general 
principle at least, although it is true that one- 
fourth of the vacancies occurring each year in 
the courts may be filled by barristers of ten years 
practice, professors of law, members of the 
Council of State, and certain officials.^ 

Judicial appointments are now regulated by a 
decree of 1908. Qualifying examinations, both 
written and oral, are held annually in Paris. 
Practical in nature, they seek to determine the 
candidate's knowledge of law and judicial pro- 
cedure rather than his capacity to acquire that 
knowledge. Hence the candidate, besides having 
taken a law degree, must have either served in 
the office of a public prosecutor for one year or 

* Decree of Feb. 13, 1908, Art. 16. 


practised as an attorney for two years. Those \ 
passing the examinations may be assigned by the 
minister of justice to certain subordinate positions 
where they gain further insight into the conduct 
of judicial business and await appointment to 
vacancies in the District Court. Then step by 
step, seniority and merit both contributing, they 
pass from one grade to another through the 
hierarchy of courts. PoHtical influence, exercised 
through the minister of justice, continues to play 
some part in determining promotions; senators 
and deputies still journey to the Place Vendome 
in the interest of their friends. But the minister 
no longer has a free hand. His discretion is con- 
fined to the limits of a promotion list which is 
compiled by a judicial board and which cannot 
contain the names of more than a quarter of the 
judges of each grade; and moreover no judge 
can be promoted until he has served two years 
in a particular grade or, in the case of such promo- 
tion, be accorded a salary increase of more than 
six hundred dollars. The judges hold office 
during good behavior. They cannot be disciplined 
or removed by the executive; they are answerable 
for their conduct to the Court of Cassation alone.^ 
The highest court and the lowest court are not, 
however, protected by these arrangements. The 
judges of the Court of Cassation are appointed 
and may be rem.oved at the will of the government. , 

* In the matter of removals the court acts through a 
committee of seven judges. See law of July 12, 1918. 



The justices of the peace, who technically do not 
form a part of the regular magistracy, are subject 
to special rules.^ Appointed by presidential 
decree, they must possess the qualifications of a 
legal training and of a period of service as a court 
officer (such as clerk of court) or as a political 
officer (such as mayor or general councilor), the 
required period of service varying with the extent 
of legal training. For their removal or reduction 
in grade the formality of a decree is not required. 
But the danger of favoritism or political bias is 
minimized by the fact that the minister of justice 
must act on the advice of a board consisting of 
three judges of the Court of Cassation, the state 
prosecutor attached to that court, and certain 
high officials of the department of justice. 
Sman Small as American judicial salaries are in com- 

parison with the English,^ they are large in com- 
parison with the French. Judges of the Court 
of Cassation receive $3600 or less than a fourth 
of the salary paid to justices of the United States 
Supreme Court; judges of the Court of Appeals, 
$1400; judges of the District Court, ^600 to 
$1200 according to grade; and justices of the 
peace, $500 to $1000, seventy-five per cent receiv- 
ing the minimum amount. It is true that magis- 
trates who are fortunate enough to be stationed 

* See law of June 14, 1918. 

' The judges of the highest court in Great Britain receive 
$30,000; there are many other judicial officers receiving 




in Paris receive an additional remunerarion 
(amoundng in the case of the Court of Appeals 
to $800); but the average remains singularly low.^ 
There are two reasons for this: first, that any 
substantial increase would, owing to the large 
number of judges (49 in the Court of Cassation 
alone), involve a very considerable aggregate 
sum; and second, that a satisfactory personnel 
is secured under existing conditions. Men of 
scholarly tastes are attracted naturally to a pro- 
fession which gives them a certain amount of 
leisure for study and which, though poorly paid, 
has the advantages of permanent tenure and a 
retirement pension. The dignity and social pres- 
tige of judicial office appeal to young men who, 
through inheritance or marriage, are possessed of 
independent means. The social amenities receive 
more attention in France than in America. When, 
for instance, the judges of assize arrive in a French 
town a prescribed etiquette must be rigorously 
observed. "They are bound to call first on the 
Prefet, on the commander of the garrison if he 
be a general of division, . . . and the visits in 
such cases must be paid in their scarlet robes. If, 
however, the garrison commander be a general 
of brigade, . . . the assize president and his 
assessors return to their hotel after calling on the 
Prefety for they rank higher for the once than all 

* It should be observed that the presidents of the courts, 
on whom the conduct of trials really devolves, are paid more 
than twice the maximum salaries mentioned. 


law sys 


Other officials, and are entitled to receive first 
visits from them. The prefect, accompanied by 
his secretary and the councilors of the prefecture, 
all in full uniform, speedily arrives at the hotel 
to pay his return visit, and after him come, in 
whatever order they please, the general, . . . the 
mayor of the town, the president, assessor, and 
public prosecutor of the local tribunal, the central 
commissioner of police, and divers other function- 
aries. They make but a short stay, and as soon 
as they are gone the judges divest themselves of 
their robes, and set out to pay their return visits 
in evening dress." ^ 
The case- Of the fundamental points of Contrast between 
French jurisprudence and Anglo-American juris- 
prudence the most striking perhaps lies in the 
different degree of authority given to decided 
cases. '^ Anglo-American jurisprudence rests upon 
the principle of stare decisis — adherence to de- 
cided cases. The English or American court is 
not so much concerned with doing justice to the 
parties in a case as with following the precedent 
set by the earlier decision of a similar case. Thus 
the unwritten law or case law, which the judges 
have made and which is scattered through innu- 
merable reports and digests, is as binding as the 
written law. This system is supposed to possess 
great advantages: for one thing the advantage of 
certainty. The lawyer feels that he is not de- 

1 American Law Review^ Vol. XLVII (1913), page 150. 

• American Law Review, Vol. XLVII (191 3), pages 790-795- 



pendent upon the ambiguous phrasing of the law 
or the capricious attitude of the judge, because 
reported decisions fix the law's meaning and Hmit 
the judge's discretion. And again, the system is 
elastic. Upon the original law is grafted an inter- 
pretation; and while the original interpretation 
stands as a guide, the judges do as a rule slowly 
shift their ground so as to reflect changes in social 
and economic matters. Judges legislate; case 
law is judge-made law. As Professor Dicey re- 
marks, English and American jurists are opposed 
to the adoption of legal codes because this might 
limit "the essentially legislative authority" of 
judges.^ Mr. Justice Holmes of the United States 
Supreme Court said in one of his opinions that 
"judges do and must legislate"; but he added 
that "they can do so only interstitially; they 
are confined from molar to molecular motions." ^ 

Now, the civil and criminal law of France has No case 
been codified since the time of Napoleon;^ and 
the codes expressly declare that judges shall build 
up no case law. According to article 13 51 of the 
civil code, "the authority of a decision applies 
only to the case which the court is called upon to 
decide." If the judge has been mistaken in a 
first interpretation, says one of the commenta- 

* Law of the Constitutiouy 8th ed., page 369. 

* See Thomas Reed Powell, "The Logic and Rhetoric of 
Constitutional Law" Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and 
Scientific Methods, Vol. XV, page 653. 

* Brissaud, History of French Private Law (1912). 


law in 


tors, that is no reason why he should feel com- 
pelled to follow the same line in later cases. 
"Justice will suffer less from two contradictory de- 
cisions than from a series of bad decisions which 
harmonize with each other. . . . The judicial 
authority must not give decisions on matters 
which have not occurred in the past and must 
not make any disposition for the future; and so 
we see the difference of this situation from that 
of the legislator who gives a guide for the future 
without any reference to the past." ^ When, there- 
fore, a barrister cites cases in support of his argu- 
ment, he does not presume that these should be 
binding upon the court; perhaps he may attempt 
to show that the highest court, though having 
always in view the satisfaction of justice in par- 
ticular cases, has incidentally built up a doctrine 
on some point of law and that the doctrine is in 
itself logical and just. The court is asked to 
follow precedent, not because it is precedent, but 
because it is just. There is, however, one branch 
of French law which has not been codified and 
which is not subject to these rules. Administra- 
tive law, as evolved in the last century, is based 
upon reported decisions, these decisions them- 
selves being profoundly influenced by textbook 
writers. But in the future, no doubt, when the 
case law of the Council of State has reached 
greater maturity, the legislature will formulate it 
in a written code. 

* American Law Review, Vol XLVII (19 13), page 793. 


The French system has found scant favor 
among American jurists, largely because they 
are so little acquainted with its practical opera- 
tion. Careful observers have concluded that 
French courts are freer from technicalities than 
ours, that they are trusted more than ours to do 
substantial justice, and that the law, as they 
apply it, is less likely to be tortured out of its 
obvious meaning. In one sense French judges 
possess a wider discretion than ours, for they are 
controlled by no precedents; in another sense 
they are more circumscribed, for the law can be 
modified only in express terms by the legislature 
itself and not through the subtlety of scholastic 
reasoning. In the development of judge-made 
law there comes a time, especially in a country so 
large and populous as the United States, when the 
very virtues of the system are a reproach. Such 
is the mass of decisions, often confused and con- 
flicting, that the ablest lawyers cannot discover 
with any certainty what the law is. As for the 
layman he has learned that the simplest English 
words can have a strange and distorted signifi- 
cance. Justice threatens to break down under 
the burden of precedent. 

In the field of criminal law French procedure, 
like that of the continental European countries 
generally, differs widely from English and Ameri- 
can procedure.^ The former, which is sometimes 

1 See on this topic "The Docket'* articles in the American 
Law Review, Vol. XLVII (1913), pages 143-151, 300-312, 


Merits of 



** Inquis- 
justice " 


termed "inquisitorial," lays emphasis upon the 
rights of society and looks to the prompt repres- ^ 
sion of crime; the latter, which is sometimes 
termed "accusatorial," lays emphasis upon the 
rights of the accused and seeks to safeguard him 
from possible injustice. Both systems have their 
excellent features; both are liable to exaggeration 
and abuse. On the whole, perhaps, criminal law 
IS more effectively applied in French courts 
than in American. 
Prepwa- The first step in a criminal case is taken by 
acrimi- ^^^ State ptosecutor who, when a charge is laid 
naicAse before him, collects what evidence he can and 
reports to the examining magistrate. There is 
no grand jury, no indictment. The magistrate 
determines himself whether a prima facie case has 
been made out. If it has, he subjects the accused 
and the witnesses to a relentless private examina- 
tion, this differing from our informal "third 
degree," however, in the fact that it is a regular 
legal proceeding and that the accused may bring 
his counsel with him. The record thus compiled 
includes not only all the facts, and even rumors, 
which tend to incriminate the suspected man, but 
also a survey of his past life, which does not over- 
look suspicious and discreditable incidents. If 
the crime is a misdemeanor {delit), trial begins in 
the District Court. If it is a felony {crime), the 
record is sent to a body of five to fifteen judges 

458-469; Chardon, op. cit.y pages 158-230; and Garner, 
Yale Law RrcinOy Vol. XXV (19 16), pages 255-284. 


known as the "accusation chamber." These 
judges decide whether a "true biir* has been 
found, or they may first require the examining 
magistrate to make further Investigation. Severe 
as the Inquisitorial process may seem, the purpose 
is to discover the truth, not to establish guilt, 
and It Is said that innocent men are rarely sent 
before the Court of Assizes for trial. French law 
does not adopt the rather hypocritical formula of 
Anglo-American law which presumes the accused 
to be Innocent until he has actually been convicted. 
As an American lawyer has said. It does not "in- 
dulge In any such grotesque flight of fancy. . . . 
It merely says: *You have, after a most thorough 
and patient examination of yourself and of every- 
body that knows anything about the case, by an 
officer of the state charged with the prosecution, 
by a judge charged with the Investigation and by 
a jury of judges who have considered and passed 
upon the evidence — you have been declared to 
be, so far as can be ascertained, guilty of the 
charge brought against you. But we give you 
one more chance; if you can explain your con- 
duct to the satisfaction of twelve of your fellow 
citizens, they may free you If they want to.*" ^ 

An American lawyer, watching the progress of cnminai- 
a trial before the Court of Assizes, would experi- !J^^ 
ence a succession of shocks. First of all, the dur© 
written and authenticated statements of law 
officers (as to their investigation of the crime) 
* American Law Review^ Vol. XL VII (1913), page 148. 



are accepted in evidence; far from needing sub- 
stantiation, they are in many cases regarded as 
superior evidence which cannot be contradicted 
by witnesses. So that the jury may not know 
which side has called them, the witnesses appear 
in an order fixed by the prosecutor. They tell 
their stories to the jury without interruption or 
prompting of any kind and in their own way. 
They may describe what they saw, or what some 
one else told them he saw, or what conclusions 
they have reached as to the guilt of the prisoner. 
Neither prosecution nor defense can object to 
testimony as irrelevant or inadmissible. In that 
matter the president of the court has absolute 
discretion. He may, says the criminal code, 
"avail himself of anything which he thinks will 
contribute to the discovery of the truth," the law 
relying upon his honor and his conscience alone. 
Obviously this disregard of technicalities removes 
what is in America one of the most frequent 
grounds of successful appeal. After the witness 
has concluded his testimony, there is no cross- 
examination: only the president may question 
him, though counsel and jury may ask that cer- 
tain questions be put. A curious means is taken 
to test conflicting evidence. When two witnesses 
contradict each other, they are placed on the 
stand together and, without any interference from 
the court, allowed to argue the point for the bene- 
fit of the jury. This is called "confrontation of 


The president of the court, as these facts show, Active 
plays a very important (and, to Americans, ^^^^ 
anomalous) role.^ He questions the witnesses; he court 
determines the relevancy of evidence. In fact, 
having obtained before the trial an intimate ac- 
quaintance with all the details of the case, he 
conducts the proceedings from beginning to end. 
Although there are three judges in the Court of 
Assizes, two of them sit in silence and immobility 
while the president is incessantly active. Imme- 
diately after the opening address of the prosecutor 
comes the "judicial interrogation" of the accused; 
for the latter cannot, as in American practice, 
excuse his silence under a rule that failure to tes- 
tify shall not be counted against him. The presi- 
dent conducts the interrogation very thoroughly 
and does not hesitate to use methods that 
to us seem unbecoming in a judge. Indeed 
the prosecutor is so well satisfied that he con- 
tents himself with making an address at the be- 
ginning and at the end of the trial. The following 
excerpt from the proceedings of a murder trial 
will serve as an illustration.^ 

The President, Your name is Bertha Blanc 
Vilette; you were born at Vichy forty-two years 
ago. Your parents were honest people; you were 
sent to school by them; later you entered the con- 

* There are occasions, as in the first trial of £mile Zola, 
when the presiding judge displays an improper anxiety to 
hamper the defense. 

* American Law Review^ Vol. XLVII (19 15), page 304. 



vent of Ste. Marie at Lyons where you remained 
for four years. You did not always conduct your- 
self well there; there were constant complaints 
about your conduct, and in the end your parents 
were asked to take you home, which they did. 

Madame V. Oh! no, sir, I left because I was 
taken ill with a fever, and I was always good — 

The President. Have a care, prisoner; two of 
the sisters say differently. I shaH go on. At 
nineteen they apprenticed you to learn a trade. 
You went to a dressmaker's at Lyons. One day 
some velvet and silks were missing, and you were 
charged with stealing them. 

Madame V, Oh ! no, sir, I did not go back to 

The President. Wherever it was, you were 
charged with a theft. 

Madame V. No, sir. 

The President. But I have the charge here in 
writing made by Madame S., your employer. If 
I show you this, will you still persist in the denial ? 

Madame V. If you had said that at first, sir, 
I would have said that I was innocent — the 
magistrate said so, and I was discharged. 

The President. My good woman, you know 
what you are charged with. I represent justice 
and am here only to get the truth. A few years 
later you came to Paris, etc. 

In continental countries this system is con- 
sidered better than ours. The witnesses are not 
badgered; the substantial facts are not obscured 




by technicalities; the trial proceeds with great 
expedition. The president, of course, must be a 
man of ability and sound common sense. 

In American courts, where technicalities com- Grounds 
mand more reverence than they should, it is ° '^^^^^ 
difficult to secure a conviction. Indictments 
have been set aside because of faulty spelling or 
faulty punctuation; a new trial has been granted 
because the jury reached its verdict on Sunday 
or because the prisoner left the court room for a 
moment to get a drink of water. But formal 
defects in procedure or pleading or evidence can- 
not be taken as ground for appeal in France. 
The verdict of the jury is practically final. "The 
judges have no power to grant a new trial. They 
may grant an appeal to the Court of Cassation. 
But there is no chance there for the French law- 
yer to urge technical questions of evidence or 
procedure. They are not listened to. The ap- 
pellate court considers only a question of juris- 
diction or whether the verdict has been obtained 
by false or fraudulent testimony or whether it is 
absolutely wrong and the result of passion and 
prejudice on the part of the judge and jury. And 
in point of fact this court (the supreme court of 
France) very rarely interferes with the verdict 
and judgment of the Assizes." ^ Nor can there 
be mistrial because of the failure of the jury to 
agree; agreement is not necessary. Conviction 
is by simple majority vote except that when the 
* American Law RevieWt Vol. XLVII, page 362. 



French vote Stands seven to five the three judges may 
^em interpose and acquit the defendant — in other 
words, add their three votes to the votes of the 
minority. Hallam called the principle of unani- 
mous verdict, which is peculiar to Anglo-American 
law, a "preposterous relic of barbarism." If the 
jurors agree, the agreement is often due to in- 
difference or to pressure that approximates com- 
pulsion. If they disagree, then the case must 
be tried again; and when the defense can hope 
for nothing better than a disagreement, the temp- 
tation to secure that result by bribery is partic- 
ularly strong. French juries are rapidly selected, 
a circumstance that contrasts favorably with 
the formidable delays which are so common in 
the United States. Prospective jurors are not 
examined as though themselves on trial, nor are 
they challenged because they have formed 
opinions. The number of challenges is limited 
by the fact that the jury must be selected from 
a panel of thirty-six names. French practice is 
obviously superior on another point. With the jury 
of twelve at least two alternates are chosen, and 
these, sitting through the trial and hearing all 
the arguments and evidence, may at any time re- 
place a disabled juror. It can never be necessary 
towards the end of a trial to begin all over again 
simply because a juror has fallen ill or (as in the 
second Hyde trial at Kansas City) gone insane.^ 

* In the state of Washington the law provides for the 
selection of alternate jurors. 


The state prosecutor belongs to what is known 
as the ** standing magistracy" from the fact that 
he stands when speaking, while the judges 
("seated magistracy") do not. Clad in red silk 
robes and sitting beside the judges, he cannot 
easily be distinguished from them. He is indeed The 
appointed in the same way (by virtue of an ex- J^^j^^ 
amination system) and may, in the course of cutor 
promotion, become a judge just as a judge may 
become a prosecutor. But since the government is 
held responsible for the efficient administration of 
the criminal law, it does not concede him security 
of tenure. He may be transferred to a less agree- 
able locality or reduced in grade or removed by 
presidential decree — that is, by the minister of 
justice. When a criminal offense is brought to 
his attention by complaint or rumor, he is ex- 
pected to make an investigation and determine 
whether the complaint is well founded. The sub- 
sequent proceedings have already been sketched. 
But it may here be pointed out that in the case 
of a misdemeanor, when the prosecutor feels that 
he has gathered sufficient evidence to convict, he 
may proceed immediately to trial in the District 
Court without authority from an examining magis- 
trate. This procedure, which resembles prosecu- 
tion by information in the United States, has the 
advantage of simplicity. There seems to be a 
tendency to follow it in doubtful cases. Three 
fourths of the criminal trials are begun in thisway.^ 
^ Chardon, op. city page 201. 


control of 


The prosecutor is also supposed to take an 
active part in certain civil cases such as those 
that affect minors, communes, or public insti- 
tutions; and, under any circumstances, he may 
interpose after the pleadings and propose a solu- 
tion to the court. 

The police, though constituting another im- 
portant element in the repression and detection 
of crime, are under the supervision of the minister 
Centnd of the interior. While their primary function of 
preserving order relates closely to the adminis- 
tration of justice, yet it must be remembered that 
the police power has a very wide range in France, 
embracing such matters as factory inspection, fire 
prevention, and public health. The control 
exercised by the minister, through a subordi- 
nate known as the director of general security, 
varies according to the size of the municipality 
and the class of police officials concerned. He 
has complete control over the secret service, the 
detectives who guard the person of the Presi- 
dent, keep revolutionary agitators under sur- 
veillance, and in the chief ports and railway 
terminals lie in wait for notorious characters who 
are to be expelled from the country or otherwise 
limited in their movements. The gendarmes (or 
state police), however, are regarded as forming 
part of the army and come mainly under the 
jurisdiction of the minister of war. This admi- 
rable force, led by army officers and for the most 
part mounted, maintains order in the country 



districts and along the highways. It includes 
nearly twenty-two thousand men who receive 
twenty dollars a month with free lodging and a 
small pension after twenty-five years' service. 
Like the Canadian mounted police and the Penn- 
sylvania and New York constabulary, the gen- 
darmes have proved highly effective in dealing 
with disturbances that the local police cannot 

In the three largest cities of France (Paris, 
Lyons, and Marseilles), in Toulon (fifteenth city 
in point of size) and La Seyne ^ a special form of 
police administration has been established, this 
being due to the fear of insurrection or dangerous 
and prolonged rioting. In Paris a prefect of 
police, amenable in no way to the departmental 
prefect, has autocratic power in the management 
of the force. He must, it is true, appear before 
the municipal council to justify his annual budget 
and answer questions, for the state merely grants 
a subvention equal to about a third of the cost 
of maintenance; but should the council refuse 
appropriations, as it has recently done on several 
occasions, the minister of the interior may inter- 
vene and force it to comply. The system in 
the other communes is somewhat different. 
There the departmental prefects manage forces 
which are maintained by national funds; the 

* The police of Toulon and La Seyne (both in the de- 
partment of Var) were nationalized by the law of Nov. 14, 



cities have not even a nominal control over 
the expenditures, being obliged by law to assist 
the state with subventions amounting In the case 
of Lyons to about thirty-five per cent, In the case 
of Marseilles to about fifty-five per cent.^ Out- 
side these five communes central control is not 
very effective. It is true that in cities of more than 
forty thousand population all details of organiza- 
tion (even as to salaries) are fixed by presidential 
decree; that in every city of more than five 
thousand population the police commissioner is 
appointed (and disciplined or removed) by the 
central government; and that the municipal coun- 
cils can be compelled to vote the appropriations 
asked for. But in regulating police organization 
and in appointing commissioners the govern- 
ment consults local feeling as manifested by 
the mayor and council. In practice the mayor's 
influence over the police is preponderant.^ 

This modified local autonomy, as compared 
with the centralized judicial administration, has 
not given good results. Louis Barthou, formerly 
prime minister, declares "that the municipal 
PoUcein- police Is deplorably organized in France and that 
there does not exist ... a serious rural police." * 
"It is a matter of daily observation," says M. 

* Toulon and La Seyne are required to contribute to the 
state the sum of the ordinary expenditure of 1913 and half 
the additional expenditure. 

' Chardon, op. cit.y page 186. 

• Revue hebdomadaire, 191 1, Vol. IV, page 632. 


Chardon,* ''that in almost the whole of France 
we have really no police.*' If an abnormal situa- 
tion arises — a strike, a riot, a concerted resist- 
ance to the enforcement of law — anarchy prevails 
for the time. Robbery, pillage, and murder can 
occur without the intervention of a policeman. 
"The civilization of France is at stake." ^ The 
gardes champetres or police of the rural com- 
munes, appointed by the mayor with the ap- 
proval of the subprefect, are "absolutely 
inefficient.'* It is a matter of patronage: some 
cobbler, carpenter, or farmer is paid a small wage 
for doing nothing (except at the approach of elec- 
tion time);^ blind men and paralytics have been 
appointed."* M. Chardon, describing these dis- 
mal conditions and observing that a third of all 
the criminal offenders escape apprehension, de- 
clares that the police should everywhere be 
organized and directed by the state alone. He 
is astonished that "the laws and ordinances which 
regulate the conditions of a Frenchman's life can 
be modified, mutilated, or ignored altogether 
through the negligence or hostility of the muni- 
cipalities." ^ These words, written in 1908 shortly 
before the government took control of the Mar- 
seilles police, may have some significance for the 

* Op. cit.y page 174. 

* Id.y page 187. 

* Revue des deux mondes, 1911, Vol. IV, page 633. 

* Chardon, page 190. 

* Op, cit., page 206. 



future. "I do not conceal the fact that the 
nationalization of the police is a radical solution," 
says Louis Barthou. "But I should be surprised' 
if it were not the solution found necessary, per- 
haps in the near future." * 

* Revue hebdomadairef 191 1, Vol. IV, page 634. 




MANY changes have taken place in French 
government since Bodley and Lowell de- 
scribed its structure and its operation more than 
twenty years ago. Parliamentary procedure, for 
instance, has been greatly modified; party organi- 
zation has been quite transformed. In the 
preparation of this volume the author has at- 
tempted to utilize the fairly abundant literature 
which has appeared recently in France and 
which, besides dealing with actual changes, has 
occupied itself with the discussion of projected 
reforms. No one can pursue the study of French 
government very far without consulting the 
French authorities; and in order that the stu- 
dent may satisfy his curiosity on particular points 
as they arise, it has seemed imperative to furnish 
in text and footnotes some indication of the 
materials which have been drawn upon. The 
following short bibliography supplements the 
footnotes. It brings together most of the works 
cited there, as well as others which have not 
been cited, and groups them under convenient 
heads for the purposes of systematic reading. 
For later publications see the bibliographies ap- 



pearing in each number of the American Political 
Science Review (quarterly), La Revue du droit, 
public (quarterly), and La Revue politique et par- 
lementaire (monthly). 


(i) In English: 

BoDLEY, J. E. C. France (2 vols., 1898; also 
I vol. ed., 1900). A work of established 
reputation written by an Englishman who 
had lived in France for several years and 
obtained a first-hand acquaintance with her 
political and social institutions. Its value 
has, of course, been much impaired by the 
rapid movement of events in the last two 
decades. Mr. Bodley, like many Frenchmen 
of the time, had no faith in the permanence 
of the Republic and adopted a critical atti- 
tude that at times clouded his judgment. 

Burgess, J. W. Political Science and Compara- 
tive Constitutional Law (2 vols., 1893). The 
chapters on French government in the second 
volume, though limited in scope and written 
so long ago, still command attention because 
of the admirably lucid presentation. 

Lowell, A. L. Governments and Parties in Con- 
tinental Europe (2 vols., 1896). See Vol. I 
for France. A suggestive and penetrating 
analysis by the foremost American authority. 
Two abridgments have appeared: The Gov- 



ernments of France, Italy, and Germany (1914) 
and Greater European Governments (191 8). 
Unfortunately, in neither case have the edi- 
tors brought the subject matter up to date. 

Ogg, F. a. The Governments of Europe (191 3), 
Those who wish to make at the outset a rapid 
survey of the whole field will find the chap- 
ters on P'rench government particularly use- 
ful; they are compact (sixty-two pages) and 
systematic. Extensive bibliographies are 
given in the footnotes. 

PoiNCARE, Raymond. How France is Governed 
(translation, 1914). This volume, apparently 
designed for the use of French school chil- 
dren, is short and rather elementary. The 
chapters on education, justice, and finance 
give facts not readily obtainable elsewhere. 

(2) In French: 
DuGUiT, Leon. Traite de droit constitutionnel 
(2 vols., 191 1). This is, with the possible 
exception of Esmein's Elements the best 
general treatise. The student should become 
thoroughly familiar with it or at least with 
all of the second volume and that part of the 
first volume which is not occupied with theo- 
retical and philosophical considerations. It 
is to be regretted that Duguit, like Esmein, 
gives no attention to the organization and 
activities of political parties. A revised 
edition is being prepared. 



DuGUIT. Manuel de droit constiiuiionnel (3d ed., 
191 8). Of equal authority with the above, 
but less detailed. The new edition discusses 
the effects of the war on the functioning of 
the padiamentary system. 

EsMEiN, A. Elements de droit constitutionnel 
(6th ed., edited by Joseph Barthelemy, 1914). 
Should be used along with Duguit whose con- 
clusions frequently differ from those of the 
late Professor Esmein. 

JizE, Gaston. Elements de droit public et ad~ 
ministratif (1910). A small book of some 
three hundred pages, very simple and clear, 
with emphasis upon general principles. 

MoREAU, F. P. L. Precis elementaire de droit con- 
stitutionnel (8th ed., 1917). Completely re- 
vised. This work, as the numerous editions 
indicate, is widely used as a textbook. 

Pierre, Eugene. Traite de droit politique y elec- 
toraly et parlementaire (3d ed., 1908; supple- 
ment, 1 91 4). This is a work of reference 
rather than a textbook. Prepared by the 
general secretary (or, as we should say, the 
clerk) of the Chamber of Deputies, it ranks 
as the standard authority on parliamentary 
procedure, although it is not confined to that 
field. The supplement (143 1 pages) is ar- 
ranged in sections corresponding with those 
of the original text. 
The numerous works on administrative law, 

while mainly concerned with technical questions, 


describe the structure of central and local govern- 
ment. See "Berthelemy** and "Hauriou" under 
"G" of this Appendix. 


For the text of the Constitutional Laws of 
1875 and related documents see: 

Anderson, F. M. The Constitutions and Other 

Select Documents Illustrative of the History of 

France (2d ed., 1908). 
DoDD, W. F. Modern Constitutions (2 vols., 

DuGurr et Monier. Les Constitutioiis et les 

principales his politiques de la France depuis 

j^8g (3d ed., 191 5). 

The character and content of the constitution 
are discussed by Duguit and Esmein in the 
general texts already noticed. On special as- 
pects see: 

AuFFRAY, Jean. £tude sur lafacilite de la revision 
de noire constitution de 1875 (1908). 

Desfougeres, Henri. La Controle judiciaire de 
la constitutionnalite des his (191 3). 

Saleilles, R. " The Development of the Present 
Constitution of France, " Annals of the Ameri- 
can Academy of Political and Social Science, 
July, 1895. 

Santoni, a. De la distinction des his constitU" 
tionnelles et des his ordinaires (191 3). 



(i) In English: 

BoDLEY, J. E. C. France, History, in Vol. X of 
the Encyclopedia Britannica (nth ed., 1910), 
pages 873-904. An excellent review of the 
period from 1870. Somewhat cynical in 
dealing with party conflicts, but free from 
the strong partisan bias which colors most 
of the contemporary histories. 

The Church in France (1906). 

Bracq, J. C. France under the Republic (1910). 

Cambridge Modern History, Vol. XII, fhe 
Latest Age (1910). 

Coubertin, Pierre de. The Evolution of France 
under the Third Republic (1897). 

Dawbarn, Charles. Makers of New France 
(191 5). Biographical sketches of eminent 
Frenchmen, including Raymond Poincare, 
Georges Clemenceau, Aristide Briand, Theo- 
phile Delcasse, Louis Barthou, and the late 
Jean Jaures. 

Dimnet, Ernest. France Herself Again (191 4). 
Drawing evidence from many phases of the 
national life — from politics, education, liter- 
ature, journalism, Dimnet seeks to show 
that, with the adoption of the Constitution 
of 1875, France entered upon a period of 
progressive decline and that she was rescued 
from this decadence by the shock of German 


aggressions. His sympathies are with the 
Church and the army. A striking plea for 
conservative and patriotic ideals. 

EsTEY, J. A. Revolutionary Syndicalism (191 3). 
Treats of a recent phase of social unrest which 
had important political effects. 

GuERARD, A.-L. French Civilization in the Nine- 
teenth Century (19 14). This is not a mere 
compilation. Professor Guerard shows a 
rare originality and analytical power in the 
interpretation of his facts. 

Hanotaux, Gabriel. Contefnporary France (4 
vols., translation of Histoire de la France 
Contemporaine, 1 903-1 909). Confined to the 
first twelve years of the Republic. 

Hyndman, H. H. Clemenceau (1919). Valuable 
not only as a study of the eminent Radical 
statesman, but also as a commentary on 
phases of the political history of the Repub- 
lican period. 

Levine, Louis. The Labor Movement in France 

ViZETELLY, E. A. Republican France (191 3). 
By an English journalist who fought in the 
war of 1870, gave Zola sanctuary in England 
during the height of the Dreyfus affair, and 
who had a first-hand acquaintance with poli- 
tics and politicians. A lively book, full of 
anecdote and reminiscence. Covers the 
period 1870-19 12. 

Wright, C. H. C. A History of the Third French 



Republic (191 6). A well-written, well- 
balanced narrative of only 200 pages. 

(2) In French: 

Bertrand, a. Les Origines de la Troisieme Re- 
publique, 1871-1876 (1911). 

Debidour, a. U£^glise catholique ei Vetat sous la 
troisieme Republique (2 vols., 1909). 

Despagnet, F. La Republique ei le Faiican, 
i8y6-iQo6 (1906). 

HosoTTE, Louis. Histoire de la Troisieme Re- 
publique (Vol. I, 1 870-1 909; Vol. II, 1909- 
191 2). Favorable to the church. 

Marechal, E. Histoire contemporaine de 1879 a 
nos jours (3 vols., 1900). 

Weill, G. Histoire du mouvement social en 
France, 1852-1910 (2d ed., 1912). 

Zevort, E. Histoire de la troisieme Republique 
(4 vols., 1 896-1901). 

(3) Tear Books and Periodicals: 

For a summary review of each year's political 
events see In English the American Year Book 
(since 1910), the Annual Register, and the Po- 
litical Science Quarterly (Record of Political 
Events); and In French the Annuaire du Parle- 
ment (since 1898), V Ann'ee politique (i 875-1905), 
and La Vie politique dans les deux mondes (since 
1906). A brief chronicle appears each month In 
La Revue politique et parlementaire (since 1894) 
and quarterly In La Revue du droit public (since 



1894). In the former, and at greater length in 
La Revue generate d* administration (published 
monthly by the ministry of the interior since 
1877), appear abstracts of laws, decrees, circu- 
lars, and other official documents. For transac- 
tions in Parliament see Le Journal officiel de la 
Republique frangaise. The Almanack National 
gives the personnel of the cabinet, the chambers, 
the administrative bureaux, the law courts, etc. 


The party system is described by Bodley and 
Lowell (in the works already noticed under "A" 
of this appendix) and more briefly by Charles 
Seignobos in the International Monthly (August, 
1901, pages 139-165). The latter contends that 
Bodley and Lowell, examining French parties 
from the standpoint of English and American 
experience, failed to grasp their inward character 
and regarded them simply as a "monstrous 
vagary." Since his article was written, however, 
the parties have passed through something like a 
metamorphosis. We are now almost entirely 
dependent upon French books and periodicals for 
our information. There is, fortunately, one recent 
systematic treatise: Jacques, Les Partis poli- 
tiques sous la troisieme Republique (1913). This 
describes the history, policies, organization, and 
tactics of the existing parties and in an appendix 
gives in extenso the platforms and rules. 



Charpentier, Armand. Le Parti radical et 
radical-socialiste a tr avers ses congres, IQOI- 
iQii (1913). This is a documented work of 
high value. 

EsTEY, J. A. Revolutionary Syndicalism (191 3). 

GuERARD, A.-L. French Civilization in the Nine- 
teenth Century (1914). See especially Chap- 
ter IV on the evolution of Socialism and 

Jacques, Leon. Les Partis politiques sous la 
iroisieme Republique (1913). A systematic 
and scholarly work which covers the whole 
field. Disappointing on the historical side. 

Lanessan, J.-L. de. La Crise de la Republique 
(1914). An argument for the two-party sys- 
tem. The author makes concrete proposals 
which are based upon analysis of prevailing 
conditions. He hopes to see the numerous 
parties consolidate into two organizations — 
the "authoritarian" Left and the " liberal** 
Right, the latter seeking to protect personal 
liberty and property rights. 

Levine, Louis. Syndicalism in France (1914). 
Revision of The Labor Movement (19 12). 

Mac Gibbon, D. A. "French Socialism Today, ^* 
Journal of Political Economy, Vol. XIX, pages 
36-46 and 98-110. 

MiLHAC, L. ** Les Partis politiques frangais dans 
leur programmes et devant le suffrage," An- 
nales des sciences politiques, July 15, 1910. 

Revue hehdomadaire, February-April, 1910. A 



series of articles describing all the parties of 
today except the Socialist-Republican party 
which was organized later. For the titles 
of these articles see the footnotes to 
Chapter X. 
Weill, G. Histoire du mouvement social en 
France de 18^2 a 1910 (2d ed. 191 2). 


Barthelemy, Joseph. Le Role du pouvoir execu- 
tif dans les repuhliques modernes (1906). 
Barthelemy gives a clear and sound state- 
ment of the President's position as titular 

BoMPARD, R. Le Veto du President de la Repub- 
lique (1906). 

Garner, J. W. **Tbe Presidency of the French 
Republic," North American Review, March, 
1913, pages 334-349. Best description of 
the presidency in English. 

Laferriere, J. "Z<f Contreseing ministeriel," 
Revue generale d^ ad^ninistration, April and 
May, 1908. 

Leyret, Henri. Le President de la Republiqzie 
(191 2). Critical examination of the presiden- 
tial powers. Leyret maintains that the Presi- 
dent has the means of freeing himself from 
his present abject dependence upon the minis- 
ters and of exerting real initiative. 

Lubersac, G. de, Les Pouvoir s constitutionnels 
du President de la Republique (191 1). 



Matter, P. De la Dissolution des assemhlees parle- 
mentaires (1898). A highly controversial 
subject that deserves careful study. 

MoREAU, F. P. L. Le Reglement administratif 
(1902). Legislative powers of the President. 

Nadal, J. Attributions du President de la Re- 
publique en France et aux £tats Unis (1909). 


Most of the books recommended under "E" 
and "G" of this Appendix consider the relations 
of the ministers either to the President or to the 
civil service. 

Garner, J. W. "Cabinet Government in 
France," American Political Science Re- 
vieWy Vol. VIII, pages 353-374. A valuable 
article which cites a great number of French 

NoELL, H. V Administration de la France: les 
ministeres, leur organisation, leur role (1911). 

For the personnel of the numerous cabinets 
see Publication de la societe d'histoire moderne: 
les ministeres fran^ais, ijSg-igog (1910) and 
Annuaire du Parlement, Vol. X, which gives the 
cabinets from 1900 to 1913. 


Ashley, P. W. L. Local and Central Government 
(1906). Concerned mainly with the rela- 



tlons between central and local authorities in 

France, England, and Germany. 

Berthelemy, H. Traite elementaire de droit ad^ 
ministratif (7th ed., 191 3). In Berthelemy 
and Hauriou (see below) the student will find 
a good general description of administrative 

Block, M. Dictionnaire de V administration fran- 
(aise (2 vols., 5th ed., 1905; supplement, 

Cahen, Georges. Les Fonctionnaires: leur action 
corporative (191 1). Perhaps the best ac- 
count of the unionizing of the government 
employees, the demands formulated by them 
(as to appointments, promotion, salary), 
their resort to the strike, and the agitation 
for a national civil-service law. 

Chardon, Henri. Les Travaux publics (1904). 
Highways, railroads, etc. 

V Administration de la France: les fonc- 
tionnaires (1908). Devoted mainly to the 
administration of justice. 

Le Pouvoir administratif: la reorganisation 

des services publiques (191 1). A collection of 
essays and lectures written during the pre- 
vious decade. 

Garner, J. W. Administrative Reform in France 
{American Political Science Review, Vol. XHI, 
pages 17-46). 

Georgin, Charles. Le Statut des fonctionnaires 



Hennessey, Jean. La Reorganisation adminis- 
trative de la France (191 9). Favors 

Hauriou, Maurice. Precis de droit administra- 
tif (8th ed., 19 14; and 9th ed., 19 19). 

HuGUES, P. d'. La Guerre des fonctionnaires 
(19 1 4). Efforts of the organized civil ser- 
vants to extort concessions from the 

Lefas, a. L'l^tat et les fonctionnaires (1913), 
Deals with the grievances of public officials, 
their organization to secure reforms, and 
especially the action of Parliament upon civil- 
service bills. An exhaustive bibliography is 
given in the appendix. 

NoELL, H. U Administration de la France: les 
minister es, leur organisation^ leur role (191 1). 
The only systematic treatise on the organi- 
zation of the central departments. 

Revue hebdomadaire: March-June, 191 1. A series 
of articles by Jules Meline, Louis Barthou, 
fitienne Flandin, and others describing the 
twelve ministerial departments of that 

Saillard, a. Le ministere des finances (1903). 



Berthelemy, H. Traite elementaire de droit ad* 
minisiraiif (7th ed., 1913). 


BRUoiRE, R. Conseil d'&tat: son personnely evO' 
lutiotiy tendances (1910). Most detailed de- 
scription of the highest administrative court. 

Chardon, H. V Administration de la France: les 
fonctionnaires (1908), pages 385-407. 

CoMBARiEU, A. Traite de procedure administra- 
tive devant les conseils de prefecture. 

Dicey, A. V. The Laio of the Constitution (8th 
ed. 1915). Chapter XII gives a clear state- 
ment of the outstanding features of French 
administrative law. 

DuGUiT, Leon. ^^The French Administrative 
Courts" Political Science Quarterly, Vol. 
XXIX, pages 385-407. 

Garner, J. W. *' Judicial Control of Administra- 
tive and Legislative Acts in France" American 
Political Science Review, Vol. IX, pages 637- 

GooDNOW, Frank J. Comparative Administrative 

Law (2 vols., 1893). 
Hauriou, M. Precis de droit administratif (8th 

ed., 191 4; and 9th ed., 19 19). 
Kellersohn, M. Des Effets de U annullation pour 

exces de pouvoir (191 5). 
Rolland, L. " Le Conseil d'&at et les reglements 

d^ administration publique" Revue du droit 

public, April- June, 1911. 

I. THE ordinary COURTS 

American Law Review, Vol. XL VII (191 3), pages 
143-152, 300-312, 4S8-469> 790-795- "^^'f 



Docket** gives a highly interesting description 
of French criminal procedure as contrasted 
with American. 

Chardon, H. U Administration de la France: les 
fonctionnaires (1908). By far the best non- 
technical work on the judiciary. 

Claretie, G. Drames et comedies judiciaires (2 
vols., 1909-1910). Useful as illustrating 
actual procedure in the courts. 

CouMOUL, Jules. Traite du pouvoir judiciaire 
(2d ed., 191 1). Mainly occupied with the 
discussion of proposed reforms. 

CouRCELLE, L. Repertoire de police administra- 
tive et judiciaire (2 vols., 1899). 

FosDicK, R. B. European Police Systems (191 5). 

Garner, J. W. ** Criminal Procedjire in France^** 
Yale Law Review , Vol. XXV, pages 255-284. 
A detailed study with numerous references to 
French authorities. 

Irwell, L. *^The "Judicial System of France,'* 
Green Bag, November, 1902. 

La Police en France (1913). A government 

J. elections 

Baudouin, F. Loi du 2Q Juillet, ipijt J"^^ ^^ 
liberie du vote, comm.entee (1914). 

CoviLLE. Le Contentieux de Telectlon (1909). 

Dalloz. Manuel electoral (1910). A model 
presentation, accurate, documented, and 
simple enough to be understood by the ordi- 


nary voter. In view of the new legislation 
of 1913, 1914, and 1919, it requires (and may 
already have had) complete revision. 

Garner, J. W. *^ Electoral Reform in France,** 
American Political Science Review, Vol. VII, 
pages 610-638. 

Gas s er, H. Manuel des elections politiques (i 9 1 4) . 
Includes the electoral laws of 1913 and 1914. 

Petitjean, T. La Representation proportionelle 
devant les chambres frangaises (191 5). A 
comprehensive study of the movement 
towards proportional representation. All im- 
portant literature on the subject (and a great 
deal has been written) will be found listed 
in a bibliography. 

Pierre, E. Traite, cited under "A." The sup- 
plement of 1914 contains the election laws 
of 1913 and 1914. 

Rabany, Charles. Guide generale des elections 
(2d ed., 191 2). Refers particularly to 
municipal elections. 

K. parliamentary procedure 

J^ze, Gaston. Le Budget (1910). 

^Journal officiel de la Republique frangaise. Re- 
ports of the proceedings in Senate and 

Moreau et Delpech. Les Reglements des as- 
semblies legislatives (2 vols., 1906). The 
rules of procedure have been greatly modified 



(especially in 191 5) since the publication of 
this work. 

MoYE, M. Precis elementaire de legislation finan- 
cier e (19 1 7). 

Onimus, J. iluestions et i^iterpellaiions (1906). 

Pierre, E. Traite, cited under **A." This is 
the standard work on parliamentary pro- 

PouDRE ET Pierre. Traite pratique de droit 
parlementaire (8 vols., 1 878-1 880). Pro- 
cedure has been greatly modified since the 
appearance of this work. 

PoLLET, J. La Presidence des chamhres fran- 
^aises (1908). 

RiPERT, Henri. La Presidence des assemhlees 
politiques (1908). 

Stourm, Rene. Le Budget (7th ed., 19 13). 

The Budget (translation, 1917). 


Artigues, G. Le Regime municipal de la ville de 

Paris (1898). 
Ashley, P. W. L. Local and Central Government 

Block, M. Dictionnaire de V administration fran- 

(aise (2 vols., 5th ed., 1905; supplement 

BoNNEAU, Georges. Manuel pratique des maires 

et des conseillers municipaux (2d ed., 191 3). 

A concise and intelligible statement of the 

powers and duties of these officials. 



BoUFFET ET Perier. TraitS du departement (2 

vols., 1 894-1 895). 
BouviER, E. Les Regies municipales (1910). 
Dalem, L. Des voies de recours contres les deli- 

berations des conseils municipaux (1904). 
Dethan, G. De rOrganisation des conseils gene- 

raux (1889). 
Croissy, T. de. Dictionnaire municipal (2 vols., 

Des Celleuls. V Administration parisienne sous 

la troisieme Republtque (19 10). 
Garner, J. W. "Administrative Reform in 

France^" American Political Science Review, 

Vol. XIII, pages 17-46. 
Hennessey, Jean. La Reorganisation adminis- 
trative de la France (191 9). 
Lappin, B. Le Self-government local en France 

Maitre, E. Organisation municipale de Paris 

MoRGAND, L. La Loi municipale (7th ed., 2 vols., 

1907). A commentary on the code of 1884. 
MuNRO, W. B. The Government of European 

cities (1909). This is the standard work in 

English. Consult the bibliography, pages 

Nectoux, a. Des Attributions des conseillers 

Rabany, C. Guide generale des elections et 

specialement des elections municipales (2d 

ed., 1912). 



Shaw, Albert. Municipal government in Con-- 
tinental Europe (1897). In this, as in other 
writings. Dr. Shaw shows that rare capacity 
to combine scholarly instincts and a grasp of 
detail with a free and lucid style. 


Data in compact form regarding area, popula- 
tion, government, etc., will be found in the 
Statesman's Tear-Book and the Encyclopedia 

Aynard, R. VCEuvre fran^ais en Algerie (191 3). 
Broissard, C. La France et ses colonies (6 vols., 

1 900-1 906). 
BuissoN, H. Notre Empire colonial (1910). 
Fallex, E. La France et ses colonies au debut 

du vingtieme siecle (191 1). 
Humbert, C. VCEuvre frangais aux colonies 

Merignhac. Precis de legislation et d*economie 

coloniale (191 2). 

Piquet, V. La Colonisation frangaise (191 2). 





March 9, 1876 Jules Dufaure 

Dec. 12, 1876. Jules Simon 

May 17, 1877. Due de Broglle 

Nov. 23, 1877. General de Rochebouet 

Dec. 13, 1877. Jules Dufaure 


Feb. 4, 1879. William Henry Waddington 

Dec. 28, 1879. Charles de Freycinet 

Sept. 23, 1880. Jules Ferry 

Nov. 14, 1 88 1. Leon Gambetta 

Jan. 30, 1882. Charles de Freycinet 

Aug. 7, 1882. Eugene Duclerc 

Jan. 29, 1883. Armand Fallieres 

Feb. 21, 1883. Jules Ferry 

April 6, 1885. Henri Brisson 

Jan. 7, 1886. Charles de Freycinet 

Dec. II, 1886. Rene Goblet 

May 30, 1887. Maurice Rouvler 

* For the personnel of the cabinets see: Publication de la 
jociHe d'histoire moderne: Irs ministtres fran(ais //^p- 
IQ09 (1910); Annuaiu du Parlementy Vol. VII (cabinets 
from 1871 to 1908) and Vol. X (cabinets from 1900 to 1913). 



Dec. 12, 1887. Pierre Emmanuel Tirard 

April 3, 1888. Charles Floquet 

Feb. 22, 1889. Pierre Emmanuel Tirard 

Mar. 17, 1890. Charles de Freycinet 

Feb. 27, 1892. £mile Loubet 

Dec. 6, 1892. Alexandre Ribot 

Jan. II, 1893. Alexandre Ribot 

April 4, 1893. Charles Dupuy 

Dec. 3, 1893. Jean Casimir-Perier 

May 30, 1894. Charles Dupuy 


July I, 1894. Charles Dupuy 


Jan. 26, 1895. Alexandre Ribot 

Nov. I, 1895. Leon Bourgeois 

April 29, 1896. Jules Meline 

June 28, 1898. Henri Brisson 

Nov. I, 1898. Charles Dupuy 


Feb. 18, 1899. Charles Dupuy 

June 22, 1899. Rene Waldeck-Rousseau 

June 7, 1902. fimile Combes 

Jan. 24, 1905. Maurice Rouvier 


Feb. 1 8, 1906. Maurice Rouvier 

Mar. 14, 1906. Ferdinand Sarrien 

Oct. 25, 1906. Georges Clemenceau 

July 23, 1909. Aristide Briand 

Mar. 2, 191 1. Ernest Monis 

July 27, 191 1. Joseph Caillaux 

Jan. 13, 191 2. Raymond Poincare 

Jan. 21, 1913. Aristide Briand 


Feb. 18, 1913. Aristide Briand 

Mar. 21, 1913. Louis Barthou 

Dec. 2, 1 91 3. Gaston Doumergue 

June 9, 1914. Alexandre Ribot 

June 13, 1914. Rene Viviani 

Aug. 26, 1914. Rene Viviani 

Oct. 29, 191 5. Aristide Briand 

Mar. 19, 1917. Alexandre Ribot 

Sept. 10, 191 7. Paul Painleve 

Nov. 15, 191 7. Georges Clemenceau 

Jan. 20, 1920. Alexandre Millerand 


Feb. 18, 1920. Alexandre Millerand 



LISH scrutin de liste with propor- 

Promulgated 12 July, 1919 

1. Members of the Chamber of Deputies shall 
be elected by departmental general ticket. 

2. Each department shall elect one deputy for 
every 75,000 inhabitants of French nationality, 
a remainder exceeding 37,500 giving the right to 
an additional deputy. 

Each department shall elect at least three 

Provisionally and until a new census has been 
taken each department shall have the same num- 
ber of seats [in the Chamber of Deputies] as at 

3. Each department shall form a single elec- 
toral area. Provided that when the number of 
deputies to be elected by a department is greater 
than six the department may be divided into 
electoral areas each of which shall be entitled to 
elect at least three deputies. Such division shall 
be enacted by law. 

Notwithstanding the foregoing provision the 
departments of the Nord, the Pas de Calais, the 

£ 450 ] 


Aisne, the Somme, the Marne, the Ardennes, the 
Meurthe-et-Moselle and the Vosges shall not be 
divided for the next election. 

4. No person can be a candidate in more than 
one electoral area, and the law of 17 July, 1889, 
relating to multiple candidatures shall apply to 
elections under this Act; declarations of candi- 
dature may nevertheless be either individual or 

5. Lists are constituted for any particular 
electoral area by groups of candidates who sign 
a legally authenticated declaration. 

Declarations of candidature shall indicate the 
order in which candidates are presented. 

If the declarations of candidature are presented 
on separate sheets they must specify the candi- 
dates in conjunction with w^hom the signatory or 
signatories stand and who agree by joint and duly 
authenticated declaration to put the names of the 
signatories on the same list as their own. 

A list shall not include a number of candidates 
greater than the number of deputies to be elected 
in the electoral area. An individual candidature 
shall be considered as forming a separate list. In 
such case the declaration of candidature shall be 
supported by one hundred electors of the electoral 
area, whose signatures shall be authenticated and 
shall not be used in support of more than one 

6. The lists shall be deposited at the prefec- 
ture after the commencement of the electoral 



period and at latest five days before the day of 
the election. 

The list and the title of the list shall be regis- 
tered by the prefecture. 

Registration shall be refused to any list bear- 
ing more names than there are deputies to elect 
or bearing the name of any candidate belonging 
to another list already registered in the electoral 
area unless such candidate has previously with- 
drawn his name in accordance with the procedure 
laid down in Article Seven. 

Registration shall be accorded only to the 
names of candidates who have made a declara- 
tion in conformity with the terms of Articles 
Four and Five. 

A provisional acknowledgment of the deposit of 
a list shall be given to each of the candidates who 
compose it. 

The definite receipt shall be delivered within 
the next twenty-four hours. 

7. A candidate inscribed upon a list cannot be 
struck off unless he notifies the prefecture of his 
desire to withdraw by statutory declaration {par 
exploit (Thuissier) five days before the day of the 

8. Vacancies on any list may be filled at latest 
five days before the day of the election by the 
names of new candidates who make the declara- 
tion of candidature prescribed by Article Five. 

9. Two days before the commencement of the 
poll the prefectoral authorities shall cause the 



registered candidatures to be posted on the doors 
of the polHng-places. 

10. Any candidate who obtains an absolute 
majority shall be declared elected provided that 
the number of seats to be filled is not exceeded.^ 
Any seats that remain to be filled shall be allotted 
in accordance with the following procedure: 

The electoral quota shall be determined by divid- 
ing the number of voters (excluding blank or 
spoiled ballots) by the number of deputies to be 

The average for each list shall be determined by 
dividing by the number of its candidates the total 
number of votes which they have obtained. 

^ The proviso contained in the last words of this paragraph 
becomes necessary owing to the fact that each voter has as 
many votes as there are deputies to be elected, and that cross- 
voting {panachage) is permitted. Thus the following might 
be the result of an election of five deputies by 10,000 voters. 
The absolute majority is 5001. Two lists are presented with 
candidates A, B, C, D, E, and P, Q, R, S, T, respectively, and 
the voting is as shown: 

10,000 voters 

Votes received by candidates 

(by groups) 



C D E 

P Q R 



Group of 4900 

" 100 







4900 4900 4900 
100 100 

60 40 120 

40 30 20 

4600 4600 4600 

400 400 400 




Totals.. 10,000 

5 100 


5060 S040 5020 

S040 S030 5020 



Thus nine candidates out of ten can, if there is cross- 
voting, receive an "absolute majority," even though there 
are only five seats to distribute. 



To each list shall be allotted a number of seats 
equal to the number of times which its average 
contains the electoral quota. 

The remaining seats, if any, shall be allotted to 
the list with the highest average. 

Within each list the seats obtained shall be 
allotted to the candidates who have received most 

11. An independent candidate, provided that 
he has not obtained an absolute majority of the 
votes, shall not be eligible for allotment of a seat 
until the candidates belonging to other lists who 
have obtained more votes than he has obtained 
shall have been declared elected. 

12. In case of equality of votes the eldest 
candidate shall be elected. 

If more lists than one have an equal title to a 
seat, the seat is allotted to that one of the candi- 
dates eligible who has received most votes or, in 
case of equality of votes, to the eldest candidate. 
A candidate shall not be declared elected unless 
the number of votes obtained by him exceeds 
half the average of the votes of the list to which 
he belongs. 

13. When the number of voters is not greater 
than half the number of registered electors or if 
no list has obtained the electoral quota, no can- 
didate shall be declared elected, and the electors 
of the area shall be summoned to a new election 
two weeks later. If at this new election no list 
obtains the electoral quota, the seats shall be 



assigned to the candidates who have received 
most votes. 

14. The reports on the proceedings at the elec- 
tion in each commune shall be prepared in dupli- 
cate. One copy shall be deposited at the secre- 
tariat of the town hall; the other shall be at once 
posted under sealed cover addressed to the pre- 
fect for transmission to the canvassing board. 

15. The votes shall be counted for each elec- 
toral area at the chief town of the department in 
public session at latest on the Wednesday follow- 
ing the day of the poll. The operation shall be 
performed by a board composed of the president 
of the district court (as chairman) and the four 
members of the general council, not being candi- 
dates at the election, who have longest held 
office. In case of equal length of office the eldest 
shall be appointed. 

If the president of the district court Is unable 
to serve, his place shall be filled by the vice-presi- 
dent and failing him by the senior judge. In case 
of inability to serve the places of the members of 
the general council shall be filled by other mem- 
bers of the same body In order of seniority. 

The operations of the count shall be recorded 
in a report. 

16. In case of a vacancy through death, resig- 
nation, or otherwise an election shall take place 
within a period of three months counting from 
the day on which the vacancy took place. 

17. Vacancies occurring within the six months 



preceding the next general election of the Cham- 
ber shall not be filled. 

1 8. The present Act shall apply to the de- 
partments of Algeria and to the colonies which 
shall retain their present number of deputies. 

Further legislation shall make provision for the 
application of the present Act to the territory of 
Belfort and for the organization of Alsace and 

19. Any previous legislation conflicting with 
the present Act is hereby repealed. 



Accounts, court of, 233-234 

Accounts, law of, 234 

Accusation chamber, 415 

Action Liberale Populaire, 
founded (1902), 333, 340; 
organization and program, 
340-344; favors judicial 
control, 23, 342; joins bloc 
(1919)* 322-324; in elec- 
tions of 1902, 296 n; of 
1910, 309n2; of 1914,316; 
of 1919, 325-326. See also 

Action, Republican and So- 
cial (1919), 325 

Adjoints (deputies of mayor), 
no salary, 263 ; how chosen, 
260, 264; number, 263; 
relations with mayor, 264 

Adjournment. See Parlia- 

Adjuncts. See Adjoints 

Administration, Chapter IV 
passim; defects in, 98-99, 
102. See also Courts, Ad- 
ministrative; Council of 
State; Prefectoral Coun- 

Administrative Courts. See 
Courts, administrative 

Algeciras Conference, 307 

Algeria, 279 

Alliance, Democratic-Repub- 
lican. See Democratic-Re- 
publican party 

Alliance, Dual, 291 

Alliance, Triple, 279 

Alsace-Lorraine, incorporated 
in France, 125 «, 245; Sen- 
ators from (14), 125; depu- 
ties from (24), 166 

Amendments. See Constitu- 

Andre, General, 79, 300, 301 

Annam, 279 

Anti-clerical legislation. See 
Church and state 

Appeal, Court of, 401-402 

Appeals, criminal, 420 

Army, affected by Dreyfus 
affair, 293; disorganiza- 
tion, 301; two-year service, 
300-301; three-year serv- 
ice, 314, 317-318; Caillaux 
and; 312-313. See also 
Military service 

Arrest, freedom from, 170 

Arrondissement, council of, 
in election of senators, 127, 
244; as local government 

C 457 ] 


unit, 244; as judicial dis- 
trict, 4CX) 

Assembly, National. 5^^ Na- 
tional Assembly 

Assizes, Court of, 402-404, 
416-420; criticized, 402; 
acts in civil cases, 403 

Associations Law, 296, 312 

Audit of accounts, 233-234 

Austria-Hungary, 279 

Augagneur, Victor, Socialist, 

Ballottage, 163-165, 259 
Ballot, form, 177; distribu- 
tion, 177, 178; state print- 
ing of, 177-178; secrecy in 
votuig, 178-179 
Barthelemy, Joseph, on presi- 
dency, 62-63; on subordi- 
nation of cabinet, 89 
Barthou, Louis, Democratic- 
Republican, 289, 347; 
premier, 135, 314; Radical- 
Socialists oppose, 314; and 
P'ederation of Lefts, 352; 
quoted, ^^, 228, 349, 350, 
352, 425, 427 
Bel fort. Territory of, 245 
Belleville Program, 273, 276, 

Bench, ^ee Judges 
Benoist, Charles, quoted, 334, 


Bergson, Henri, 371 

Berthelemy, H,, on sub- 
prefects, 244-245 


Bloct anti-clerical Republican 
(1899-1905), 374, 375; ef- 
fect on interpellations, 241; 
supports Waldeck-Rous- 
seau, 295; operates through 
Delegation of the Lefts, 
297> 308, 309 n; dissolu- 
tion, 299, 316, 375; Rad- 
ical-Socialist party and, 
3S4» 356; reconstitution 
urged, 356, 376-378 

Blocy National Republican 
(1919), 321, 353, 375 n J, 
379; composition, 322-324; 
program, 323-324; church 
and, 323-324; A. L. P. and, 
323-324; Radical-Social- 
ists and, 324; effect on 
elections, 325-326 

Board, election, 179 

Bolshevism, 319, 321, 375 n, 


Bonaparte, Pierre, 404 

Bonapartists. ^ec Imperial- 

Bordeaux Compact, 8 

Boxer expedition, 41 

Boulanger, General, 154, 167, 
168; army career, 282- 
283; minister of war, 283; 
singular alliances, 283-284; 
success in elections, 284; 
collapse, 285 

Bourgeois, Leon, senator, 125, 
133; premier, 289; conflict 
with Senate, 82-83, 135» 
opposes proportional rep- 


resentation, 159 n; opposes 
Socialists, 289 
Briand, Aristide, Independ- 
ent Socialist, 303; joins 
Democratic - Republican 
party, 347, 354; rejoins 
Socialists, 362 n; premier 
(1909-1911), 309-312; re- 
signs, 313; premier (1913), 
313; premier (1915-1917), 
72, 318-319; minister of 
justice, 313; cabinet de- 
feated in Senate, 84; pro- 
portional representation 
bill, 126, 130, 135, 157; 
shapes Separation Law, 
299, 303; policy of con- 
ciliation, 3 10-3 1 1, 357, 37s; 
and Federation of the Lefts, 

3»6, 351-352 

Brisson, Henri, 197, 202, 203, 
220, 241, 277, 294 

Broglie, Due de, premier, 9, 
51, 275; resigns, 275; in 
elections of 1877, 150 n 

Budget, national. See Money 

Budget, communal, 261-263 

Bureau of officers in Cham- 
ber, 195 et seq. 

Bureaux of civil service, no 
ctseq.; of party groups, 209; 
of Chamber, 181, 207-208 

Cabinet. See Ministers, 
Council of 

Cabinet (in national minis- 
tries), 107-109 

Caillaux, Joseph, minister of 
finance, 312, 314-315; pre- 
mier, 228, 312-313; and 
Socialism, 313; discredited 
re Morocco, 313; and 
Rochette scandal, 315; 
charged with treason, 324; 
convicted on lesser charge, 
143 n 

Campaign, election, 173-174. 
See also Elections 

Canton, 244, 399 

Card, electoral, 175-176 

Carnot, Adolphe, 321 

Carnot, Sadi, career, 39; 
President, 282; influence, 
64; assassination, 32, 37, 

Case law, 411-414; none in 
France, 412; merits of 
French system, 414 

Casimlr-Perier, Jean Paul, a 
moderate, 289; career, 39, 
108, 290; president of 
Chamber, 202, 203; pre- 
mier, 203; President, 290; 
resigns Presidency, 32, 37, 
53> 58, 290; on Presidency, 

Cassation, Court of, 404-405, 
420; tenure of judges, 408; 
and constitution, 21-22 

Caucus, for nominating Presi- 
dent, 34-35 

Center, Left, 273, 276 



Centralization, 101-102, 246 
et seq.y 342, 349 

Chamber of Deputies, disso- 
lution of, 60-61, 134-13S, 
171-172; ministers respon- 
sible to, 81 et seq.; Senate 
attracts deputies, 133-134; 
impeachments, 49, 80-81, 
14 I- I 43; composition, 
Chapter VI passim; elec- 
tion by district ticket, 146- 
152; deputies dependent 
on districts, 148-150; gen- 
eral ticket, 153-155; pro- 
jwrtional representation, 
155 et seq.; endorsed by 
Chamber (1909), 157; bill 
passed (1912), 158-159; 
law of 1919, 160-163; size 
(626 members), 165-166; 
nominations, 166 et seq.; 
qualifications, 169; privi- 
leges, 170; salary, 171; 
term, 171; term extended 
bylaw, 172; elections, ^. r.; 
election returns examined, 
181-183; procedure, Chap- 
ter VII passim; reforms in, 
90; daily sittings, 188 et 
seq.; secret sittings, 189- 
190; order of the day, 190- 
192; interior arrangements, 
192-194; seating of groups, 
192 and 193 n; speaking 
from tribune, 193, 216; 
oratory, 194, 216; bureaux 
examine election returns, 


181,342,346; bureau of of- 
ficers, 195 et seq.; how 
chosen, 196-197; proceed-' 
ings, how reported, 195 n; 
rules, 198 et seq.; mainte- 
nance of order, 199-201; 
committees, 204-212; leg- 
islative procedure, 212 et 
seq.; debate, 215-217; 
closure, 217; quorum, 217- 
218; pairing not allowed, 
218 «; methods of voting, 
219-222. See also Bureau, 
Bureaux, Committees of 
Chamber, Elections, 
Groups, Parties, President 
of Chamber, Proportional 

Chambord, Count of, 4, 5, 
339; Frohsdorf interview, 
9; manifesto of 1873,9-10; 
and church, 274 

Chardon, Henri, on jury sys- 
tem, 402-403; on local 
police, 425 

Church and state, Gambetta 
quoted, 274; war on Italy 
urged, 274; Ferry's anti- 
clerical legislation, 278; ef- 
fect of Dreyfus affair, 293- 
294; Associations Law 
(1901), 295; Combes and 
church, 297-299; separa- 
tion of church and state, 
299; elections (1906) sup- 
port this policy, 299; eva- 
sion of law, 312; elec- 


tions of 1919 favorable to 
church, 325; attitude 
towards church, of Royal- 
ists, 337; of A. L. P., 
340; of Republican Fed- 
eration, 346; of Demo- 
cratic - Republican party, 
349; of Radical-Social- 
ists, 357; of Freemasons, 
361. See also Orders, re- 
ligious; Schools 

City government. See Com- 

Civil courts. See Courts, 

Civil service, Chapter IV 
passim; directors, 109- 
lio; bureaux, no et seq.; 
merit system in central 
services, 111-114; in ex- 
terior services, 114; pen- 
sions, 113-114; favoritism, 
I16-117; low salaries, 113, 
I17-118; syndicalism, 106- 
107, 1 19-122, 362; pre- 
fect's appointing power, 
249; communal services, 
267-268, 270-271 

Civil tribunal. See District 

Qass-struggle, 355, 364-365 

Clementel, 92 

Clericalism. See Church and 

Clemenceau, Georges, loses 
seat in Chamber, 286; in 
Senate, 125, 133; premier 

(1906-1909), 91, 157. 160, 
277. 308-309; again (1917- 
1920), 319; vigorous lead- 
ership, 319; not chosen 
President, 34 «, 67 
Closure in Chamber, 217 
Cochin (Royalist), in Briand 

cabinet, 319 
College, electoral, for choos- 
ing senators, 127-130 
Colonies, seats in Senate, 127; 

acquisition of, 279 
Codified law, 411-414 
Combes, fimile, in Senate, 
125; premier (1902-1905), 
91, 131, 202, 241; anti- 
clerical policy, 278, 297- 
298; pacifist views, 300; 
democratizes army, 301; 
resigns, 301; urges recon- 
stitution of the blocy 356, 

Commerce Court, 405-406 
Commissioners to assist in 

debate, 71 
Committees of Chamber, help 
fix order of the day, 191; 
importance of, 204-205; 
formerly special and tem- 
porary, 205; permanent 
now, 206; old method of 
election, 207; present 
method, 208-210; relations 
with cabinet, 204-205, 210- 
212, 226-227; proceedings 
regulated, 212; considera- 
tion of bills, 214; report 



of bills, 215; work on bud- 
get, 225-228 

Communes, varying size, 255; 
uniform government, 251;- 
266; council, 256-264; 
council and election of 
senators, 127-130; mayor, 
263-267; adjoints, 263- 
264; police, 268, 423-427; 
civil service, 267-268, 270- 
271; government of Paris, 
268-271. Sff also Coun- 
cil, communal; Mayor 

Concentration, 102, 247 

Concentration cabinets, 281- 

Concordat, 298 

Conflicts, Court of, 396 

Congo, 279 

Congregations, religious. Ste 
Orders, religious 

Conservatives. Sfe Royalists 

Conspiracy against state, 
141-143, 143 n, 324 

Constitution, committee of 
National Assembly drafts, 
11; Wallon amendment, 
11; adopted by assembly, 
11-12; abstract of its pro- 
visions, 13-15; peculiari- 
ties, 15 ^/ seq.; based on 
compromise, 16; force of 
precedent under it, 17 rt 
seq.; courts and constitu- 
tion, 21-26, 342, 346; case 
of Le National^ 21-22; 
method of amendment, 26- 


29; amendments, 29-30; 
provisions re money bills, 
137-138; attitude of A. L\ 
P. towards, 342; of Re- 
publican Federation, 346 

Contraventions, 399 

Corrupt practices in elections, 
decree of 1852, 184; new 
legislation (1913-1914), 
184-185; in local elections, 

Council: of arrondlsscmenr, 
set Arrondissement; com- 
munal, see Council, com- 
munal; of Experts, 406; 
general, of department, 
composition, 253; powers, 
253-254; in senatorial elec- 
tions, 127, 254: municipal, 
of Paris, 269; prefectoral, 
251; composition and ju- 
risdiction, 385-386; de- 
cides validity of local elec- 
tions, 257; proposals to 
abolish, 386 

Council, communal, 256, 264; 
no salary, 263; size, 256; 
conduct of elections, 256- 
260; election districts, 259- 
260; limitations on powers, 
260-262; annual budget 
before, 262; suspension and 
dissolution, 262; meetings, 

Council of State, determines 
validity of ordinances, 24- 
25, 47, 397; decisions re 


dismissed employees, ii6; 
validity of local elections, 
257; prevents gerryman- 
dering, 259 n; composition, 
387-388; directors serve 
on, no; tenure, 388; sal- 
ary> 389; prestige, 387; ad- 
visory functions, 389-390; 
original jurisdiction, 390- 
392; excess of power, 390; 
misapplication of power, 
390-391; injury through 
public services, 391-392; 
organization, judicial com- 
mittees, 392-394; pro- 
cedure, 393; congestion of 
business, 394; disputed 
jurisdiction, 395-396; per- 
sonal fault, 395; Court of 
Conflict, 396 

Correctional Court. 5^^ Dis- 
trict Court 

Court of Accounts, 233-234 

Court of Conflicts, 396 

Court of First Instance. See 
District Court 

Courts, administrative, posi- 
tion in France, 380 et seq.; 
described, 385-390. See also 
Council of State; Law, 
administrative; Prefectoral ^ 

Courts, ordinary, and con- 
stitution, 21-26, 342, 346; 
and e.xecutive power, 395; 
exceptional cases, 266, 395- 
397; justice of the peace 

399-400; District Court, 
400-401, 414, 415, 421, 
422; Court of Appeal, 
401-402; Court of As- 
sizes, 402-404; criticism 
of, 402; acts in civil cases, 
403; Court of Cassation, 
404-405, 408, 420; Coun- 
cil of Experts, 406; Com- 
merce Court, 406-407; 
Court of Accounts, 233- 
234; judges, 407-410; jury 
system, 402-403, 420-421; 
codes and case law, 411-414 

Crime, prosecution for, 414- 
420; examination of ac- 
cused, 415; indictment, 
415-416; accusation cham- 
ber, 416; no presumption 
of innocence, 416; con- 
trast with American pro- 
cedure, 41s et seq.; rules of 
evidence, 415-417; active 
role of court, 418; refusal 
to testify, 417; judicial in- 
terrogation, 417 et seq.; 
grounds of appeal, 420; 
jury, 402-403, 420-421 

Crimes, 399-400 

Criminal Courts. See Courts, 

Dahomey, 41 
Dauphin, senator, 139 
Debates, parliamentary. See 

Legislation; Proceedings, 

how reported 



Decentralization. See Cen- 

Deconcentration. 5^^ Con- 

Dilits, 399, 415 

Democratic-Republican par- 
ty founded (1901), 332, 
347; relations with groups 
in Chamber, 333; program 
and organization, 347-351; 
attitude to neighboring 
parties, 348, 375; towards 
church, 349-350; towards 
Federation of the Lefts, 
352; importance since 
1909, 354; in elections of 
1914, 316, 351; urges co- 
alition in 1919, 321-322; in 
elections of 1919, 325 

Departments, their origin, 
245-246; number, 245; 
unequal size, 246; as elec- 
tion districts, 153-155, 158, 
160, 165-166; prefect, 247- 
254; general council, 253- 
254; departmental com- 
mittee, 254. See also Al- 
sace-Lorraine; Prefect 

Departments, executive. See 

Deputies, Chamber of. See 
Chamber of Deputies 

Dimnet, Ernest, quoted, 281 
n 2y 297, 307-308, 339-340 

Directors. See Civil service 

Dissolution of Chamber, with 
consent of Senate, 60-61, 


134-135. 171-172; vital 
factor in cabinet govern- 
ment, 171-172 
District Court, 400-401, 415, 


District ticket (scruttn (Taf 
rondissement)y objections 
to, 146-152; Gambetta's 
criticism, 154. See also 

Dreyfus affair, 291-294; con- 
viction by court-martial, 
291; second conviction, 
292; rehabilitation, 292- 
293; political effects, 293 

Drumont, author of La 
France juivey 284 

Dual AUiance, 290-291 

Duguit, Leon, quoted, 18, 
20-21, 24-25, 29, 59, 88- 
89, 140, 168, 182, 233, 242. 
388, 391-392 

Education. See Schools 

Egypt, 279, 306 

Elections, 1876, 272; 1877, 
274-276; 1881, 280; 1885, 
281; 1889, 285; 1893, 286 
et seq.; 1898, 172, 294; 
1902, 296 and n; 1906, 299: 
1910, 157, 309-310 and 
309 n 2'y I9i4» 316-317; 
1919, 172, 320-326; Sen- 
ate elections, 131-132; 
Chamber, Chapter VI 
passim; electoral reform. 


137; suffrage qualifica- 
tions, 144-145; registra- 
tion, 145-146; district 
ticket criticized, 146-152; 
administrative pressure 
under, 150-153, 250, 315- 
316; general ticket, 153- 
1555 proportional repre- 
sentation, 155 et seq.; law 
of 1889, 167; law of 1913, 
178-179; law of 1914, 174, 
184-185; law of 1919, 146, 
156, 160-163; electoral 
period, 173; campaign, 
173-174; spring elections, 
172; Sunday voting, 174; 
polling-places, 175; elec- 
toral card, 175-176; bal- 
lots, 177-178; secret vot- 
ing, 137, 178-179; pro- 
cedure at the polls, 178- 
180; counting the vote, 
180; corrupt practices, 
183-185; validity of elec- 
tions, 181, 183, 342, 346. 
See also Representation, 

Elections, communal, 256- 

Elections, second {ballottages)^ 

Electoral period, 173 

England, 279, 306-307, 367, 
370 rt seq.y 380 rf seq. 

Entente Cordiale, 306-307 

Entente, Democratic-Repub- 
lican (1919), 32s 

Esmein, A., quoted, 21, 87- 

Esterhazy, Major, and Drey- 
fus affair, 292 
Excess of power, 390 
Experts, Council of, 406 

Faguet, £mile, 89 
Fallieres, Armand, career, 39; 
President, 32, 302; no 
personal policy, 55; not 
candidate for reelection, 
38; premier, 91 
Fault, personal, 395-396 
Fault of service, 395-396 
Faure, Felix, career, 39; 
President, 290; visits Rus- 
sia, 290; dies in office, 37, 

Federation of the Lefts, 
founded (1913), 333, 351; 
program, 352; election of 
1914, 316; disappearance, 


Felonies {crimes), 399, 415 

Ferry, Jules, 28, 273; pre- 
mier, 91; anti-clerical leg- 
islation, 278; colonial ex- 
pansion under, 279; not 
chosen President, 35, 282 

Finance, minister of, prepares 
budget, 223-224; presents 
it to Chamber, 224; leads 
in budget debates, 228 

Floquet, Charles, 277; pre- 
mier, 203; president of 



Chamber, 202, 203; driven 

from office, 286 
Freemasons, 301, 361 
Freycinet, Charles de, 91, 

273, 286 
Frohsdorf interview, 9 

Gambetta, Leon, Republican 
leader, 3, 273, 276, 277; 
president of Chamber, 202; 
premier, 203, 280; his fall, 
280-281; death, 280 n; on 
church, 274; on money 
bills, 229 n /, 138-139; on 
general ticket, 154, 280 

Garner, J. W., on cabinet in- 
stability, 87, 94-95; on 
position of deputies, 148-149 

Gendarmes, 423-424 

General ticket, 153 et seq.; 
urged by Gambetta, 154, 
280; established, 154, 281, 
284; used by Boulanger, 
284; abolished (1889), 154; 
proposed by Senate, 160; 
law of 1919, 160-163, 321 

Germany, 279, 306-308, 313, 

Goodnow, Frank J., 398 
Great Britain, 279, 306, 307, 
367; party system, 370 rt 
seq.; legal system, 2,^0 et seq. 
Grevy, Jules, 273; career, 39; 
president of Chamber, 202; 
President, 32, 34, 278; in- 
fluence, 63-64; resigns, 32, 
37, 58, 282 


Groups, numerous in Cham- 
ber, 86; after election of 
1876, 273-274; changes,^ 
276-277; after elections of 
1881, 280; 1885, 281; 
1889, 285; 1893, 286 et 
seq.; 1898, 294; 1902, 296; 
1906, 299; 1910, 309-310 
and 309 n 2; 1914, 3 16 and 
n; 19 19, 325; coalition in 
Republican bloc {q.v.)y 241, 
295; directed by Delega- 
tion of the Lefts {q.v.), 297, 
308; process of consolida- 
tion, 304, 370-379; group 
of non-inscritSf 316 and n; 
effect upon cabinet sta- 
bility, 86 et seq.; help fix 
order of day, 191, 334; 
choose committees (q.v.), 
208-209, 334; when and 
how formed, 192, 209, 334- 
335; locked in Chamber, 
192, 334-335; not so in 
Senate, 335; seating ar- 
rangements, 192 - 193; 
Union sacre during the war, 
318; Millerand cabinet not 
based on groups, 325-326; 
antedate parties, 330-332; 
relation to parties, 333- 
334; group system com- 
pared with two-party sys- 
tem, 370 et seq. See also 

Guerard, J.-L., on party 
system, 304 


Guesde, Jules, Socialist 
leader, 288 ; in Viviani 
war cabinet, 318 

Hanotaux, G., on prefect, 


Hauriou, Maurice, on ad- 
ministrative law, 380-381; 
favors judicial control, 23 

Henry, Colonel, and Dreyfus 
affair, 292, 294 

Herriot, Edouard, leader of 
Radical-Socialists (1919), 

Herve, Gustave, urges recon- 
stitution of the blocy 377- 

Impeachment, of President, 
49, 141-143; of ministers, 
80-81, 141-143; of Louis 
J. Malvy, 80, 324 

Imperialists, in National As- 
sembly, 4; in election of 
1876, 272 712; act with 
Royalists (q.^.)y 336; pro- 
gram and organization, 

Income tax, 136, 317, 346, 

349> 362, 363, 367 
Indo-China, 279 
Indictment, 415-416. 
Information, communication 

of, to Parliament, 235 
Inquiries, parliamentary, 235 
International relations, 274, 

279» 291* 30^308, 358, 367 

Interpellations, history in 
France, 236 «; prohibited 
in budget debates, 232; 
contrasted with questions, 
236; debate on, 237; dis- 
advantages of, 240-241; 
practice under Combes, 
241; criticized by Lowell, 
238-240; by de Lanessan, 
240; criticism overem- 
phasized, 241-242; views 
of Duguit, 242 

Interrogation, judicial, 418- 

Italy, 274, 279, 291 

Japan, 307 

Jaures, Jean, 208, 288, 300, 
303, 366, 378 

Jeze, Gaston, 23 

Judges, numerous, 410; ap- 
pointment and tenure, 407- 
409; promotion, 408; re- 
moval, 408-409; salaries, 
409-410; social position, 
410; active role in criminal 
trials, 418 

Judge-made law, 412 

Jury, 420-421; criticized, 

Justice of the peace, 399-400; 
tenure, 409 

Labor, General Federation 

of, 120, 305 
Labor party (England and 

Australia), 374 



Lanessan, J.-L. de, on inter^ 
pellations, 240 

Lansdowne-Cambon conven- 
tion (1904), 306 

Law, administrative, 380 et 
seq.; how it developed, 
381-382; advantages, 382- 
385* 397-398. See also 
Council of State; Courts, 
administrative; Prefec- 
toral Council 

Laws, constitutional. See 

Left, Democratic, in 1910, 
310 n; in 1914, 316 

Left, Democratic-Republican 

(1919), 32s 

Left, Extreme (1876), 273, 

Left, Independent (1914), 

Left, Radical, supports 
Waldeck-Rousseau and 
Combes, 297; in 19 10, 
310 n; in 1914, 316 

Left, Republican (1876), 273, 
276-277, 280 

Left, Republicans of. See 
Republicans of the Left 

Legislation, cabinet ham- 
pered by committees, 211; 
contrast with English prac- 
tice, 211; government bills 
and private-members' bills, 
212-213; committee stage, 
214; report stage, 214-215; 
debate, 215 et seq.; order 


of speeches, 216; closure, 
217; no pairing, 218 «; 
methods of voting, 219- 
222; proxy voting, 220- 
221; money bills, 222-234. 
See also Chamber of Dep- 
uties; Committees; Money 
bills; Senate 
Legislation, financial. See 

Money bills 
Legitimists. See Royalists 
Leyret, Henri, on Presidency, 

SS» 57 
Ligue de faction franfaisey 

333. 336-337 

Local government, restricted 
scope, 243, 349; local 
areas, 244; effect of cen- 
tralization, 246-247; po- 
lice, 268, 423-427; prefect 
(q.v.), 101-102, 247-254; 
subprefect, 230, 244-245; 
communes (q.v.), 254- 
271; Lyons, 256 notes 
I and 5, 424-425; Paris, 
268-271, 424. See also 
Arrondissement; Prefect; 

Lowell, A. L., on interpella- 
tions, 238-240; on party 
system, 373-375; on ad- 
ministrative law, 382 

Lyautey, General, minister 
of war, forced to resign, 

Lyons, 256 710/^/ / and 5, 


MacMahon, Marshal, Presi- 
dent, 9; messages, 56; 
dismisses Simon, 53, 274; 
dissolves Chamber, 60, 171, 
275; Dufaure cabinet, 52, 
276; resigns, 32, 34, 58, 
276; opposes direct elec- 
tion of senators, 127 

Madagascar, 41, 279 

Malvy, Louis J., minister of 
interior, 92; impeached, 
80, 324 

Marx, Karl, 302, 355 

Mayor of commune, chosen 
by council, 264; no salary, 
263; relations with coun- 
cil, 260-261; presides, 263; 
serves on committees, 263; 
relations with adjoints, 264; 
responsible for administra- 
tion, 264; suspension and 
removal, 264; agent of 
ministry, 264-265; local 
executive, 266-267; ordi- 
nance power, 265-266; 
president of election board, 

Meline, Jules, premier, 91, 
135, 288, 289; resigns, 294; 
in Senate, 133; on reform, 


Merit system. See Civil 

Military service, reduced to 
two years, 300-301 ; three- 
year act, 314, 317-318; 
Radical-Socialists and, 315, 

355; Socialist-Republicans 
and, 363; Unified Social- 
ists and, 367 

Millerand, Alexandre, formu- 
lates Socialist program 
(1896), 288; independent 
Socialist, 303; in Waldeck- 
Rousseau cabinet, 295; 
minister of war (1912), 313; 
joins Federation of the 
Lefts, 316; in campaign of 
1919, 320; premier (1920), 
73 > 76 «, 320, 325-326; 
character of cabinet, 325- 
326; its size, 72, 75 and n 

Ministers, usually members 
of Parliament, 69; excep- 
tions, 70 and n; number of, 
72-75 and notes; civil and 
military honors, 73-74; as 
administrative chiefs, 100- 
loi and Chapter IV pas- 
sim; control of civil 
service, 103-107; impeach- 
ment of, 80-81, 141-143; 
questioned in Parliament, 
235-236; interpellated, 
232, 236-242. See also 
Ministers, Council of; 
Ministries; Undersecre- 

Ministers, Council of (cabi- 
net), powers during presi- 
dential interregnum, 33; 
controls powers of Presi- 
dent, 48; its meetings, 54, 
78-79; role of President at, 



54-56; responsibility to 
Parliament, 79 et seq.; con- 
tinuity of personnel, 94; 
continuity of policy, 94- 
95; short duration, gi et 
seq., 150; disadvantages of 
this, 96-99; relations with 
Senate, 134 et seq.: lack of 
power to dissolve Chamber, 
60-61, 134-135; always 
successful in elections, 150 
and n; hampered by par- 
liamentary committees, 
204-205, 210-212, 226- 
227; initiative in legisla- 
tion, 213, 214; parlia- 
mentary control through 
budget, 222-223, 233-234; 
communicating informa- 
tion to Parliament, 235. 
See also Ministers; Minis- 
tries; President; President 
of the Council of Ministers; 
Legislation; Senate; Cham- 
ber of Deputies 

Ministries, how created, 72; 
number of, 72-73, 76 n; 
undersecretaries, 74-76 and 
75 n; ministry of the in- 
terior, 77; organization, 
103 et seq.; cabinet, 107- 
109; cabinet attaches, 108; 
permanent staff, see under 
Civil Service. See also 
Ministers; Ministers, coun- 
cil of 

Misapplication of power, 390 


Misdemeanors, 399, 422 

Moderates, in elections of 
1889,285; 1893,289; i898,v 
294; leaders, 289; rela- 
tions with Rallies, 291. 
See also Opportunists; Pro- 

Monarchists. See Imperial- 
ist; Royalists 

Money bills, conflicts be- 
tween chambers over, 137- 
141; doctrine of the last 
word, 138-139; method of 
voting on, 219; impor- 
tance of budget, 222; its 
preparation, 223; its con- 
tent, 224; before com- 
mittee, 225-227; debate, 
227 et seq.; Berthelot reso- 
lution limiting amend- 
ments, 229-230; riders 
prohibited, 230-231; delay 
in passing budget, 231- 
233; interpellations on 
budget, 232; provisional 
twelfths, 232; proposed 
biennial budgets, 2.33; 
audit of accounts, 233- 


Monis, Ernest, premier 
(191 1), 312; resigns from 
marine department, 315 

Montesquieu, 381 

Morocco, 43, 306-308, 313, 

Mun, Count de, leader of 
Rallies in 1893, 287 


Municipalities. Sre Com- 
Munro,W. B.,256 

Napoleon, Victor, 339 

National, Lf, 21-22 

National Assembly (1871- 
1876), elected, 3; party 
composition, 4; by-elec- 
tions, 4; asserts constitu- 
ent powers, 6; makes Mac- 
Mi ahon President, 9; es- 
tablishes Septennate, 10; 
adopts constitutional laws, 
II-12; establishes Senate, 
123-124; method of choos- 
ing Senate, 127-128 

National Assembly (for 
amending constitution), 
26-30, 44 

National Assembly (for elec- 
tion of President), 32 ^/ 

Nationalists, 285, 286, 294, 

347. 348 
Navy, disorganization under 

Combes, 301, 307 
Nominations, 166 et seq.; 

under law of 1889, 167; 

law of 1919, 167 
"Not inscribed" group, 316 

and n, 325 

Opportunists, 277 and w, 
280, 281, 285. See also 

Oratory in Chamber, 194, 216 

Order of the day, 188-192, 
334; after interpellation, 

Orders, religious, under As- 
sociations Law, 295-296; 
dissolved, 298; schools re- 
opened, 312. See also 

Ordinances, issued by Presi- 
dent, 45-46; Council of 
State determines validity, 
24. 47» 397; not "legally 
made," 266, 397 

Orleans, Due de, pretender, 

Orleanists. See Royalists 

Pacification cabinets, 282 
Pacifism, 299-301, 358, 362 
Painleve, Paul, premier 

(1917), 319 
Pairing of deputies, not per- 
mitted, 2x8 n 
Pams, Jules, m Senate, 125; 
candidate for Presidency, 
35. 37 n 
Panama scandal, 285-286 
Paris, Count of, Orleanist 
pretender, 5; recognizes 
Chambord, 9; Royalist 
pretender, 284 
Pans, government of, why 
special arrangements, 268- 
269; autonomy restricted, 
269; council, 269; prefect 
of police, 270, 424-425; 
prefect of the Seine, 270; 



civil service, 270-271; ar- 
rondissements, 270 

Parliament, impeachments, 
49, 80; wide range of 
powers, 123; bicameral, 
123, 137; not restrained 
by courts, 21-26; conflicts 
between chambers, 134 et 
jgq.; conflicts over money 
bills, 137-141; privileges, 
170; salary, 171; annual 
session, 186-187; special 
sessions, 187; adjourn- 
ment, 187-188; proroga- 
tion, 188; reports of 
proceedings, 195 n; minis- 
ters responsible to, 79 
etseq.; ministers controlled 
through finance, 222-223, 
234-235, 233; through com- 
mittees, 204-205, 210-212, 
226-227, 23s; questions, 
235-236; interpellations, 
232. See also Chamber 
of Deputies; Committees; 
Legislation; Senate; etc. 

Parties, function of, 327; 
character in France, 327 
et seq.; formation (1901- 

I9i3)» I73» 332-333; rela- 
tion to groups in Chamber, 
333-334; why numerous in 
France, 371-374; two-party 
tendency, 303-304, 370- 
379; consolidation under 
way* 378; organization and 
programs of existing parties, 


336 et seq.; Union sacr'e dur- 
ing the war, 318; formation 
of National Republican hloc 
(i9i9)> 321-324; election of 
19 19, 324-326. See also 
Blocy anti-clerical Republi- 
can; Blocy National Repub- 
lican; Elections; Groups; 
and under names of the 
various parties. 

Pau, Congress of (1913), 314, 
315. 332 n 

Peasants and Socialism, 362, 

Pelletan, Camille, iii, 125, 


Pensions, for civil servants, 
1 13-1 14; for prefect, 247 n 
2; workingmen's, 114, 136, 
309, 367 

Peytral, 52, 125 

Pichon, S., 309 

Picquart, Colonel, and Drey- 
fus affair, 291 

Pierre, Eugene, quoted, 42, 
141, 182 

Piou, Jacques, leader of 
Rallies in 1893, 286; presi 
dent of A. L. P., 344; or 
religious question, 375 n 2 

Piux X, 298, 299 

Poincare, Raymond, career, 
39; refuses oflfice, 312; pre- 
mier (1912-1913), 313; can- 
didate for Presidency, 35; 
elected (191 3), 32, 65-66, 
126, 313; message to Parlia- 


ment, 57; popularity, 131; 
Democratic - Republican, 
289, 347; quoted, 348, 404 

Pointagty 111 n 

Police, secret service, 423; 
gendarmes, 423-424; na- 
tional, in five communes, 
424-425; local, criticized, 
425-426; central control of 
local, 268, 423, 425-427 

Posters, use in elections, 174 

Practices, corrupt. See Cor- 
rupt practices 

Prefect, character of office, 
101-102; how appointed, 
247 and n 2; pension, 114, 
247 n 2; functions, 247 et 
seq.; as local executive, 
248; as agent of ministry, 
248-250; bound by in- 
structions, 249; as po- 
litical agent, 150-153, 250; 
clerical staff, 251; ad- 
visory council, 251, 385- 
387; his difficult position, 
251-253; and communal 
council, 261-262 

Prefect of police, 270 

Prefect of the Seine, 270 

Prefectoral council, 257, 385- 

Premier. 5^^ President of 
the Council of Ministers 

President of the Chamber of 
Deputies, how elected, 197; 
salary and privileges, 198; 
functions, 198; fixing order 

of the day, 190; enforcing 
rules, 199; maintaining or- 
der, 199-201; recognizing 
speakers, 216; compared 
with English and American 
speakers, 201; history of 
office, 202-204; political 
attributes, 202-204 

President of the Council of 
Ministers, appointed by 
President, 50-52, 76; dis- 
missal, 53, 60-61; control 
over coUeagueSj 52, 76; 
usually minister of interior, 
yy, exceptional cases, 77 
and n; term of office short, 
91; exceptional cases, 91. 
See also Ministers; Minis- 
ters, Council of; Minis- 
tries; and Appendix II 

President of the Republic, 
•salary, 31; legal qualifica- 
tions, 34; type of men 
chosen, 38-40; list of 
Presidents, 32; how chosen, 
32; influence of caucus, 
34-35; no campaign, 35; 
single-term doctrine, 37; 
vacancy in office, 32-33; 
foreign travel, 33; inau- 
guration, 37; resignation, 

32» 34. 37» 57, 58, 59, ^7^y 
282; executive powers, 40- 
43; treaty-making, 42; 
legislative powers, 43-47; 
messages, 56-58; veto, 59; 
dissolution of Chamber, 



60; appoints premier, 50- 
52; dismissal of premier, 
S3; powers controlled by- 
ministers, 48; irresponsibil- 
ity, 49-50; impeachment, 
49, 141-143; usefulness of 
office, 61-63; proposal to 
increase authority, 64; to 
change election system, 
342; election of 1879, 276; 
of 1887, 282; of 1894 and 
1895, 289-290; of 1899, 
295; of 1906, 302; of 1913, 
65-66, 126, 313; of 1920, 

Prime Minister. Set Presi- 
dent of the Council of Min- 

Privileges, parliamentary, 170 

Proceedings in Chamber, how 
reported, 195 n 

Progressists, elections of 
1898, 294; schism, 295; 
opposition to Waldeck- 
Rousseau, 296 and n; re- 
duced in numbers (1906), 
299; elections of 1910, 
310 n; of 1914, 316; of 
1919, 325. See also Mod- 
erates; Republican Fed- 

Promulgation of laws, 44-45 

Proportional representation. 
See Representation, pro- 

Prorogation. See Parliament 

Provinces, royal, 245 


Provisional twelfths, 231-232 
Proxy voting, 220-222 

Questions, addressed to 
ministers, 235-236. See 
also Interpellations 
Questors in Chamber, 195 
Quorum in Chamber, 217-218 

Radicals, attitude towards 
Senate, 124-125; early 
history, 273, 277; in elec- 
tions of 1881, 280; of 1885, 
281; of 1889, 285; of 1893, 
289; of 1898, 294; of 1902, 
296 n; support Waldeck- 
Rousseau and Combes, 
297; elections of 1919, 325- 
3 26. See also Left, Radical; 

Radical-Socialists, party 
founded (1901), 332-333i 
origin of name, 289; pro- 
gram and organization, 
356-361; view on educa- 
tion, 350, 357; on Social- 
ism, 355-356; in elections 
of 1902, 296 n; support 
Waldeck-Rousseau and 
Combes, 297; in elections 
of 1906, 299; of 1910, 
3 10 «; criticize Briand, 
311-312; oppose Barthou, 
314; Doumergue takes of- 
fice, 314, 355; "unifica- 
tion" (i9i3)» 3i4» 332 n, 
354; in campaign of 1914, 


317; views re military 
service, 315, 355; success 
in elections, 315-317; in- 
trigues during war, 319; 
in campaign of 1919, 324; 
election, 325-326; ac- 
ceptance of Senate, 124- 
125; leaders in Senate, 125; 
reject proportional repre- 
sentation, 126; oppose 
Poincare, 126; favor gen- 
eral ticket, 154-155; decline 
of party, 150, 376; anti- 
clerical role exhausted, 376; 
party discords, 354-355* 
376; relations with Demo- 
cratic - Republican party, 
348, 354> 375; relations 
with Unified Socialists, 

3SS> 356, 369, 37^379; op- 
pose Socialism ofl&cially, 
355-356. See also Radicals 

Railroad strike (1910), 120- 
121, 306, 311 

Rallies, 287, 291, 294. See 
also Action Liberale Popu- 

Registration. See Elections 

Relations, international. See 
International relations 

Renoult, Rene, 151 

Representation, proportional, 
rapid spread of, 147 n i; 
movement in France, 156 
et seq.; Chamber passes bill 
(1912), 158-159, 313; Sen- 
ate rejects (1913), 160; is- 

sue in 1914 elections, 317; 
compromise measure of 
1919, 156, 160-163, 321; 
text of act in Appendix III; 
parliamentary committees 
chosen by proportional rep- 
resentation, 208-209 

Republic, Third, 3 

Republicans of the Left, in 
1914 elections, 316; in 

I9i9> 32s 

Revenue. See Money bills 

Ribot, Alexandre, in Senate, 
133; in Viviani cabinet, 
318; premier (1914), 9i» 
318; premier (i9i7)» 3^9 

Riders to money bills pro- 
hibited, 230-231 

Right. See Royalists; Im- 

Rivet Law (1871), 5-6 

Rochebouet cabinet (1877), 
70, 91, 275 

Rouvier, Maurice, in Gam- 
betta's cabinet, 280; pre- 
mier, 282, 301; driven 
from office, 286, 302 

Royalists, in National As- 
sembly, 4; plan restora- 
tion, 4-5, 8-9; relations 
with Thiers, 7-8; suited by 
Septennate, 10; dissensions 
in 1876, 272 notes; style 
themselves Conservatives, 
276; party organization, 
333; program and organ- 
ization, 336-338; views of 



pretender, 337-338; act 
with Imperialists, 336; in 
elections of 1881, 280; of 
1885, 281; of 1889, 285; 
of 1893, 286; of 1898, 294; 
of 1902, 296 n; of 1910, 
309 n 2; of 1914, 316; of 
1919, 325; Royalist in Bri- 
and war cabinet, 319. Sfg 
also Chambord, Count of; 
Paris, Count of; Ligti^ de 
V action fran^aise 
Rules of Chamber, 198-199 
Russia, alliance with France, 
33, 291, 307 

Sabatier, Camille, 89, 149 

Sabotage, 305 

Saint-Mande Program, 288, 
289, 295, 330 

Salary of members of Par- 
liament, 171 

Saleilles, 19 

Sarrien, 125, 133, 308 

Say, Leon, on budget com- 
mittee, 226; on financial 
legislation, 229 

Scheurer-Kestner and Drey- 
fus affair, 291 

Schools, early conflict with 
church over, 278; legisla- 
tion affecting, 295-296, 
298; church schools reopen, 
312; A.L. P. and, 341-342; 
Republican Federation and, 
346; Democratic-Republi- 
can party and, 349-3505 


Radical-Socialists and, 350, 
357; Socialist-Republicans 
and, 363 

Scrutin d'arrondissement. Sti 
Elections; District Ticket 

Scrutin de liste. See Elections; 
General Ticket 

Seignobos, Charles, on par- 
ties, 328-329, 331 

Seiu Mai (1877), S3> 60, 171, 

Sembat, Marcel, Socialist 
leader, 288; in war cabi- 
net, 318; on Socialism, 365 

Senate, Chapter V passim; 
constitutional provisions re, 
14; ministers not respon- 
sible to, 82-85, 134-135; 
conflicts with Chamber, 82- 
85, 134 et seq.; desired by 
monarchists, 123-124; mon- 
archist majority in (1876- 
1879), 272; size (314 mem- 
bers), 125-126; original 
structure, 126-128; life 
seats, 126; filled in 1876, 
272 n; abolished, 128; 
other seats how filled, 127- 
130; original plan modi- 
fied (1884), 128-130; term, 
130; privileges, 170; salary, 
171; political groups in, 
335; represents old ideas, 
1 30-13 1; qualifications for 
Senate, 131; local influ- 
ences in elections, 131- 
132; personnel, 133-134; 


suoordinate to Chamber, 
133 et seq.; control of cab- 
inet by, 134; and dissolu- 
tion of Chamber, 60-61, 
134-135; method of op- 
posing Chamber, 135-137; 
social and economic out- 
look, 135-136; conflicts 
with Chamber over money 
bills, 137-141; as high 
court of justice, 49, 80-81, 
141-143, 143 n, 324; busi- 
ness not interrupted by 
prorogation, 188 
Separation of powers, 381 
Separation Law, 298-299, 

309, 341 

Septennate, 10 

Sessions. See Parliament 

Simon, Jules, premier, 274; 
resigns, 50, 53, 274-275 

Socialism, growth of, 288; 
Saint-Mande program, 288; 
relations with Radicals, 
288; elections of 1893, 288; 
Socialists support Wal- 
deck-Rousseau, 295; and 
Combes, 297; elections of 
1898, 294; of 1902, 296 n; 
Unified Socialist party 
founded (1905), 299, 302; 
Socialist-Republican party 
founded (191 1), 333. See 
also Socialist-Republicans; 
Socialists, Unified 

Socialist-Republicans (known 
as independsnt Socialists 

before 191 1), founded 
(1911), 333» 361; inde- 
pendents in elections of 
1906, 299; refusal to join 
Unified party, 303; elec- 
tions of 1910, 3 ion; in 
campaign of 1914, 317; 
elections of 1914, 316; join 
National Republican bloc 
(i9i9)> 322; elections of 
I9i9> 325; program and 
organization, 361-363. See 
also Socialism. 

Socialists, Independent. See 

Socialists, Unified, party 
founded (1905), 302, 332, 
364; abandons Republican 
blocy 299; irreconcilables, 
303, 364; affected by Syn- 
dicalism {q.v.)y 304-305; 
elections of 1906, 299; of 
1910, 3 ion; oppose Bri- 
and, 311; oppose election 
of Poincare, 65-66, 313; 
campaign of 1914, 3 17, 366- 
367, 369; elections of 1914, 
316; enter war cabinets of 
Viviani and Briand, 318- 
319; oppose later war cabi- 
nets, 319, 321, 378; dis- 
loyal attitude during war, 
319-321; coalition against, 
322, 379; elections of 1919, 
325» 37S «> 379 and n; pro- 
gram and organization, 
364-370; attitude toward 



reform, 366-367; re.ations 
of A. L. P. with, 343; of 
Republican Federation, 
346; of Democratic-Re- 
publican party, 350; of 
Radical-Socialists, 355- 

3S6, 367, 376-378, 379 
Sorel, Georges, condemns 

democracy, 281, 305 n 
Speech, freedom of, 170 
Stockholm Congress, 321 
Stourm, Rene, on budget, 

Strikes, I19-121, 305, 311 
Subprefect, 230, 244-245 
Suffrage, woman, 144 n 5 
Supplies, refusal of, in 1877, 

275; in 1896, 134 
Syndicalism, its rise, 304- 
305; effect on public serv- 
ices, 119-121; proposed 
control of ministries by 
employees, 106-107, 362 

Tangier, 307 

Taxes, 224-225, 244, 253, 


Thiers, on restoration, 4; 
head of executive power 
and President, 5-6; con- 
verted to Republic, 7-8 

Tonkin, 41, 279 

Toulon, police system, 424 
and lit 425 n 

Treaties, 42 

Tribune, speaking from, 193- 
194, 216 


Triple Alliance, 279, 291 
Tunis, 279 

Twelfths, provisional. Sge- 
Provisional twelfths 

Undersecretaries, 74-78; 

in 19 1 5, 74 « 2; in 1920, 

75 and n 
Union sacr'e of parties during 

the war, 318,324, 378 
United States, party system, 

370 et seq. 

Veto power of President, 59 
Viviani, Rene, Socialist, 303; 

premier, 52, 318, 363 
Vote. See Elections 
Voting in Chamber. See 


Waldeck-Rousseau, Rene, 
in Gambetta's cabinet, 280; 
premier (1899-1902), 91, 
277 n, 295-296; opposes 
proportional representa- 
tion, 159; attitude towards 
church, 278; resigns, 296 
Wallon amendment, 11 
War, declaration of, 41 
War, Great, 318 et seq. 
Weekly Rest Bill, 136 
Witnesses in criminal trials, 

Woman suffrage, 144 n 5 

TjOUit £mile, and Dreyfus af* 
fair, 291, 292 



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