Émile Loubet (1838 - 1929)

Émile Loubet



It was Émile Loubet who, as President of the Republic, pardoned Alfred Dreyfus after his second conviction. He was born the son of a wine grower in Marsanne on 30 December 1838.

He was an intern lawyer in Paris, received his doctorate in law in 1863, joined the Montélimar Bar in 1865 and was elected mayor of Montélimar in September 1870. He was elected deputy from the Drôme in 1876, served as president of the departmental council for the Drôme, and was elected senator in 1885 and again in 1894, after having served as Minister of Public Works (Tirard government, December 1887-March 1888) and Minister of the Interior (Ribot government, December 1892-January 1893). He served as Prime Minister from February to December 1892, and was elected president of the Senate on 16 January 1896. Ten days after the death of Félix Faure from a cerebral hemorrhage, the joint chambers of Parliament elected Loubet President of the Republic. As a Republican candidate, he received 483 votes, against 279 for Jules Méline.

The anti-Dreyfusards raged against the election of the man Rochefort had called "a gooey Machiavelli." On 4 June 1899, the day after the decree overturning Dreyfus's conviction, he was at the struck with a cane during a visit to the Auteuil racecourse. On the 11th, the police repressed a demonstration in his favor, organized mainly by the revolutionary socialists. The following day, however, a Republican Defense government was organized around Waldeck-Rousseau.

On 19 September 1899, ten days after the second conviction of Dreyfus, Emile Loubet signed the captain's pardon, basing his decision on a medical certificate and the favorable opinion of the presidents of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies. The War Minister wrote to the Prime Minister that this "measure of sovereign mercy will not be understood by all unless [the President of the Republique] is not firmly resolved, in principle, to permanently exonerate the general staff officers and others who were involved in this unfortunate affair." The amnesty law was signed in December 1900.

In accordance with constitutional measures, President Loubet also signed the Association Law of 1901, as well as the law separating Church and State in 1905, although he did not approve of Émile Combes's policies. His travels to England and Russia were illustrations of the Triple Entente alliance.

He was succeeded by Armand Fallières on 18 February 1906, and retired to La-Bégude-des-Mazenc in the department where he was born. He died there on 20 December 1929, and was buried in Montélimar four days later, as he had refused a state funeral.