Third Republic (France)


October 19, 2021

The Third Republic, or Third Republic, is the republican regime in force in France from September 1870 to July 1940, that is for almost 70 years, the first to impose itself in France over time since 1789. Indeed, France is experimenting, in 80 years, seven political regimes: three constitutional monarchies, two republics and two empires. These difficulties help to explain the hesitations of the National Assembly, which took nine years, from 1870 to 1879, to renounce royalty and propose a third republican constitution. Forming a compromise constitution, the constitutional laws of 1875 established a parliamentary republic of the bicameral type. Marked by the overthrow of the Republic in 1851 by its first elected president, the Republicans in practice only grant the head of state a representative role. The Third Republic constitutes what Philip Nord called "the republican moment", that is to say a period marked by a strong democratic identity, which the major laws on education, secularism, the rights to strike, association and reunion illustrate. The Third Republic is also a time when the life of the French is "passionately political, as much as the life of a people can be in a non-revolutionary period". This is what Vincent Duclert describes as "the birth of the idea of ​​France as a political nation". The impassioned debates provoked by the Dreyfus affair precede the coming to power of the radicals who proceed to the separation of the Churches and the State (1905) and the establishment of the income tax (1914). The Third Republic is also a period marked by a whole series of social reforms to which the company aspired, in particular by the adoption of a more favorable legislation for the employees during the brief experience of the Popular Front. It is to this day the longest surviving Republican regime in France, after the failure of the First (1792-1804) and Second Republics (1848-1852), which lasted only twelve and four years respectively. Born in defeat, the Third Republic evolves from its proclamation to its fall in a context of confrontation with Germany. On July 10, 1940, faced with the German advance, the National Assembly voted the full constituent powers for Philippe Pétain. The next day, the 11th, Pétain called himself “Head of the French State” (Vichy regime), de facto putting an end to the Third Republic.

Initial hesitation between republic and monarchy (1870-1879)

End of the Franco-German war of 1870 and its consequences

Government of National Defense

During the war of 1870, military operations led to the defeat and capture of Emperor Napoleon III in Sedan, September 2, 1870. Following the invasion of the Palais Bourbon, seat of the legislative body, by a crowd of rioters, the Republic is proclaimed on September 4 by Léon Gambetta, from the town hall of Paris. Similar events are taking place in several cities in France, including Lyon and Marseille, and even in the West Indies. A National Defense government was formed, headed by General Trochu, military governor of Paris, whose appointment also aimed to obtain the rallying of the army. Also members of this government are Jules Favre (Minister of Foreign Affairs and Vice-President of the Government), Jules Ferry (Secretary of the Government), Léon Gambetta (Minister of the Interior), Ernest Picard (Minister of Finance), Henri Rochefort, Jules Simon (Minister of Public Instruction, Worship and Fine Arts), Adolphe Le Flo (Minister of War), Martin Fourichon (Minister of the Navy and Colonies), Adolphe Crémieux (Keeper of the Seals), almost all republican deputies from

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