- Jean Jaurès
Jean Léon Jaurès (full name Auguste Marie Joseph Jean Léon Jaurès;
3 September 1859ndash 31 July 1914) was a French Socialist leader. Initially an Opportunist Republican, he evolved into one of the first social democrats, becoming the leader, in 1902, of the French Socialist Party, which opposed Jules Guesde's revolutionary Socialist Party of France. Both parties merged in 1905 in the SFIO. An antimilitarist, Jaurès was assassinated at the outbreaks of World War I, and remains one of the main historical figures of the French Left.
The son of an unsuccessful businessman and small agricultor, Jean Jaurès was born in
Castres(Tarn), in a modest French provincial bourgeoisfamily. He was the first cousin once removedof the admiral and senator Benjamin Jaurès, who was named Minister of the Navy and Colonies in 1889, and of the admiral Charles Jaurès. His little brother, Louis, also became an admiral and a Republican-Socialist deputy.
A brilliant student, Jaurès was educated at the
Lycée Louis-le-Grandin Paris and received first at the École normale supérieure, in philosophy, in 1878, before Henri Bergson. He obtained his " agrégation" of philosophy in 1881, ending up third, and then taught philosophy for two years at the lycée of Albi, before lecturing at the University of Toulouse. He was elected Republican deputy for the "département" of Tarn in 1885, sieging alongside the moderate Opportunist Republicans, opposed both to Georges Clemenceau's Radicals and to Socialists. He then supported both Jules Ferryand Léon Gambetta.
In 1889, after unsuccessfully contesting Castres, this time under the banner of Socialism, he returned to his professional duties at
Toulouse, where he took an active interest in municipal affairs, and helped to found the medical faculty of the University. He also prepared two theses for his doctoratein philosophy, "De primis socialismi germanici lineamentis apud Lutherum, Kant, Fichte et Hegel" (1891), and "De la réalité du monde sensible".
Rise to prominence
Jean Jaurès was initially a moderate republican, opposed to both radicalism (such as that of
Georges Clemenceau) and socialism. He developed into a socialist during the late 1880s.
In 1892 est amoureux de Camille Celle.in consequence of the dismissal of a socialist workman, Calvignac; the next year, Jaurès was re-elected to the Chamber as deputy for Albi. Although he was defeated at the election of 1898 and was for four years outside the Chamber, his eloquent speeches made him a force in politics as an intellectual champion of Socialism. He edited "
La Petite République", and was one of the most energetic defenders of Alfred Dreyfus(during the Dreyfus Affairthat marked a major conflict between Right and Left). He approved of the inclusion of Alexandre Millerand, the socialist, in the René Waldeck-Rousseaucabinet, though this led to a split with the more revolutionary section led by Jules Guesde[ See the 26 November 1900[http://www.lours.org/default.asp?pid=331 debate between Jules Guesde and Jaurès] . fr icon] .
In 1902 Jaurès was again returned as deputy for Albi. Jaurès and the independent socialists merged in 1902 with
Paul Brousse's " possibilist" (reformist) Federation of the Socialist Workers of Franceand with Jean Allemane's Revolutionary Socialist Workers Partyto form the French Socialist Party, of which Jaurès became the leader. They represented a social-democrat stance, opposed to Jules Guesde's revolutionary Socialist Party of France.
During the Combes administration his influence secured the coherence of the Radical-Socialist coalition known as the "
Bloc des gauches", which enacted the 1905 French law on the Separation of the Churches and the State. In 1904, he founded the socialist paper " L'Humanité". Following the 1904 Amsterdam Congress of the Second International, the French socialist groups held a Congress at Rouenin March 1905, which resulted in a new consolidation, with the merger of Jaurès's French Socialist Party and Guesde's Socialist Party of France. The new party, headed by Jaurès and Guesde, ceased to co-operate with the Radical groups, and became known as the "Parti Socialiste Unifié" (PSU, Unified Socialist Party), pledged to advance a collectivist programme. All the socialist movements unified the same year in the " Section Française de l'Internationale Ouvrière" (SFIO), the French section of the Second International. In the general elections of 1906, Jaurès was again elected for the Tarn.
His ability was now generally recognized, but the strength of the SFIO still had to reckon with the vigorous radicalism of
Georges Clemenceau, who was able to appeal to his countrymen (in a notable speech in the spring of 1906) to rally to a Radical programme which had no socialist ideas in view, although Clemenceau was sensitive to the conditions of the working class. Clemenceau's image as a strong and practical Radical leader considerably diminished the popularity of the socialists. Jaurès, in addition to his daily journalistic activity, published "Les preuves"; "Affaire Dreyfus" (1900); "Action socialiste" (1899); "Etudes socialistes" (1902), and, with other collaborators, "Histoire socialiste" (1901), etc.
Jaurès travelled to
Lisbonand Buenos Airesin 1911. He supported, albeit not without criticisms, the teaching of regional languages, such as Occitan, Basque and Breton, commonly known as " patois", thus opposing, in this issue, traditional Republican jacobinism [Jean Jaurès, "L'éducation populaire et les "patois"", in " La Dépêche", 15 August, 1911
"Méthode comparée", in "Revue de l'Enseignement Primaire", 15 October 1911. [http://gardaremlaterra.free.fr/article.php3?id_article=29 On-line] fr icon] .
Jaurès was a committed antimilitarist who tried to use diplomatic means to prevent what became the First World War. He opposed
Émile Driant's 1913 law which implemented a 3 years draftperiod, and promoted an understanding between France and Germany. As conflict became imminent, he tried to organise general strikes in Franceand Germany in order to force the governments to back down and negotiate. This proved difficult, however, as many Frenchmen sought revenge for their country's defeat in the Franco-Prussian Warand the return of the lost Alsace-Lorraineterritory.
31 July 1914Jaurès was assassinated in a Pariscafé by Raoul Villain, a young French nationalist. Villain was tried after World War Iand acquitted.
Ten years after his death, Jaurès' remains were transferred to the Panthéon.
In popular culture
*The character of Jaurès has appeared in a number of period French films and TV series, sometimes as the main subject and sometimes as a supporting character. [IMDb [http://imdb.com/Find?select=Characters&for=Jean%20Jaur%E8s Character name search] ]
*In the 1976 film "Maîtresse" (English title: "Mistress"), a character looking at a Parisian map laments, "There are too many avenues named after Jean Jaurès."
Jacques Brelwrote a song called "Jaurès" and recorded it for his last album " Les Marquises".
*Les Corons, a song by
Pierre Bacheletcontains a reference to Jean Jaurès. "Y avait à la mairie le jour de la kermesse, Une photo de Jean Jaurès".
Al Stewart's song "Trains" has a line "On the day they buried Jean Jaurès".Jean Jaures appears in the poem, "The mystery of the Charity of Charles Péguy", by Geoffrey Hill.
*cite book|authorlink=Harvey Goldberg|first=Harvey|last=Goldberg|title=The Life of Jean Jaures|publisher=
University of Wisconsin Press|year=1962
* [http://www.things.org/music/al_stewart/history/jean_jaures.html Jean Jaurès]
* [http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/FWWjaures.htm Jean Jaurès Biography]
* [http://www.archive.org/details/jeanjauressocial00peasmiss "Jean Jaurès, socialist and humanitarian" by Margaret Pease] ( New York : B. W. Huebsch, 1917) PDF/DjVu from
* [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=7513 Jean Jaurès at Find-A-Grave]
*en icon [http://www.marxists.org/archive/jaures/index.htm Jaurès' texts at Marxists archives]
* [http://www.firstworldwar.com/bio/jaures.htm Biography] FirstWorldWar.com
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