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Casimir-Perier, Jean Paul Pierre

CASIMIR-PERIER, JEAN PAUL PIERRE (1847-1907), fifth president of the French Republic, was born in Paris on the 8th of November 1847, being the grandson of Casimir Pierre Périer (q.v.) the famous premier of Louis Philippe. He entered public life as secretary to his father, A.V.L.C. Périer, who was minister of the interior under the presidency of Thiers. In 1874 he was elected general councillor of the Aube, and was sent by the same department to the chamber of deputies in the general elections of 1876, and he was always re-elected until his presidency. In spite of the traditions of his family, Casimir-Périer joined the group of Republicans on the Left, and was one of the 363 on the Seize-Mai (1877). If he refused to vote the expulsion of the princes in 1883, and resigned as deputy upon the enactment of the law, it was only owing to personal connexions with the family of Orleans. On the 17th of August 1883 he became under-secretary of state for war, and retained that position until the 7th of January 1885. From 1890 to 1892 he was vice-president of the chamber, then in 1893 president. On the 3rd of December he became prime-minister, holding the department of foreign affairs, resigned in May 1894, and was re-elected president of the chamber. On the 24th of June 1894, after the assassination of President Carnot, he was elected president of the republic by 451 votes against 195 for Henri Brisson and 97 for Charles Dupuy. His presidency lasted only six months. The resignation of the Dupuy ministry on the 14th of January 1895 was followed the next day by that of the president. Casimir-Périer explained his action by the fact that he found himself ignored by the ministers, who did not consult him before taking decisions, and did not keep him informed upon political events, especially in foreign affairs. From that time he definitely and absolutely abandoned politics, and devoted himself to business - especially mining. At the trial of Dreyfus at Rennes, Casimir-Périer's evidence, as opposed to that of General Mercier, was of great value to the cause of Dreyfus. He died on the 11th of March 1907.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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