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Wallon, Henri Alexandre

WALLON, HENRI ALEXANDRE (1812-1004), French historian and statesman, was born at Valenciennes on the 23rd of December 1812. Devoting himself to a literary career, he became in 1840 professor at the Ecole Normale Superieure under the patronage of Guizot, whom he succeeded as professor at the Faculte des Lettres in 1846. His works on slavery in the French colonies (1847) and on slavery in antiquity (1848; new edition in 3 vols., 1879) led to his being placed, after the Revolution of 1848, on a commission for the regulation of labour in the French colonial possessions, and in November 1849 he was elected to the Legislative Assembly by the department of the Nord. He resigned in 1850, disapproving of the measure for the restriction of the suffrage adopted by the majority. In the same year he was elected a member of the Academic des Inscriptions, of which he became perpetual secretary in 1873. Under the empire he withdrew altogether from political life, and occupied himself entirely with his duties as a professor of history and with historical writings, the most original of which is a biography, Richard II, tpisode de la rivaliit de la France et de I'Angleterre (2 vols., 1864). Although remaining a republican, he exhibited decided clerical leanings in his Jeanne d'Arc (2 vols., 1860; 2nd ed., 1875); La Vie de Noire Seigneur Jesus (1865) a reply to the Vie deJfsusofE. Renan; and Sain/ Louis el son temps (1871; 4th ed., 1802), which still ranks among hagiographical works. Returning to politics after the FrancoGerman War, Wallon was re-elected by the department of the Nord in 1871, took an active part in the proceedings of the Assembly, and finally immortalized himself by carrying his proposition for the establishment of the Republic with a president elected for seven years, and then eligible for re-election, which, after violent debates, was adopted by the Assembly on the 30th of January 1875. " Ma proposition," he declared, " ne proclame pas la Republique, elle la fait." Upon the definitive establishment of the Republic, Wallon became Minister of Public Instruction, and effected many useful reforms, but his views were too conservative for the majority of the Assembly, and he retired in May 1876. He had been chosen a life senator in December 1875. Returning to his historical studies, Wallon produced four works of great importance, though less from his part in them as author than from the documents which accompanied them: La Terreur (1873); Histoire du tribunal revolutionnaire de Paris avec le journal de ses actes (6 vols., 1880-1882); La Revolution du 31 mai et le fedfralisme en j/pj (2 vols., 1886); Les Representants du peuple en mission et la justice revolutionnaire dans les deparlements (5 vols., 1880-1890). Besides these he published a number of articles in the Journal des savants; for many years he wrote the history of the Academic des Inscriptions in the collection of Memoirs of this Academy, and he composed obituary notices of his colleagues, which were inserted in the Bulletin. He died at Paris on the 13th of November 1904.

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

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