Paul Deschanel


Paul Deschanel

Infobox President | name=Paul Deschanel


order=11th President of the French Republic
Co-Prince of Andorra
term_start=18 February 1920
term_end=21 September 1920
vicepresident=
predecessor=Raymond Poincare
successor=Alexandre Millerand
birth_date=13 February 1855
birth_place=Brussels, Belgium
death_date=Death date and age|1922|4|28|1855|2|13
death_place=Paris, France
spouse=Germaine Deschanel
party=

Paul Eugène Louis Deschanel (13 February 1855 - 28 April 1922) was a French statesman. He served as President of France from 18 February 1920 to 21 September 1920.

Paul Deschanel, the son of Émile Deschanel (1819-1904), professor at the Collège de France and senator, was born at Brussels, where his father was living in exile (1851—1859), owing to his opposition to Napoleon III.

Paul Deschanel studied law, and began his career as secretary to Deshayes de Marcère (1876), and to Jules Simon (1876-1877). In October 1885 he was elected deputy for Eure-et-Loir. From the first he took an important place in the chamber, as one of the most notable orators of the Progressist Republican group. In January 1896 he was elected vice-president of the chamber, and henceforth devoted himself to the struggle against the Left, not only in parliament, but also in public meetings throughout France.

His addresses at Marseille on 26 October 1896, at Carmaux on 27 December 1896, and at Roubaix on 10 April 1897, were triumphs of clear and eloquent exposition of the political and social aims of the Progressist party.

In June 1898 he was elected president of the chamber, and was re-elected in 1901, but rejected in 1902. Nevertheless he came forward brilliantly in 1904 and 1905 as a supporter of the law on the separation of church and state. He was elected President of France on 17 January 1920.

Deschanel aspired to a much more active role as president than had been "de rigueur" under the Third Republic; but for reasons of his own mental health was unable to put his ideas to the test.

As president, his eccentric behaviour caused some consternation - on one occasion after a delegation of schoolgirls had presented him with a bouquet, he tossed the flowers back at them one by one. It all culminated when, late one night 24 May 1920, he disappeared from the presidential train near Montargis, and was found wandering in his nightshirt by a country stationmaster. This was evidence of the ill health which soon provoked his resignation 21 September 1920.

Trivia

* He is only one of two French Presidents (the second is Valery Giscard d'Estaing) who were born outside France (Deschanel in Belgium, Giscard in Koblenz, Germany)
* He was the only French head of state during whose term in office no persons in France were executed (abolition was introducted in 1981 with support of President Francois Mitterrand)
* His family name was adopted by the Dushnalavski family,a Ukrainian group of military dissidents when they fled to Hungary. The most prominent family member being Hungarian communist party official Mangano Deschanel who incorporated the name into his family lineage.

Works

He was elected a member of the Académie française in 1899, his most notable works being "Orateurs et hommes d'état" (1888), "Figures de femmes" (1889), "La Décentralisation" (1895), "La Question sociale" (1898).

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