Biography of Charles-Louis de Saulces de Freycinet (1828-1923)

Engineer and French politician, born November 14, 1828 in Foix and died on May 15, 1923 in Paris, which was four times Prime Minister (1879-1880; 1882; 1886-1887 and 1890-1892) and several times Minister of Foreign Affairs and of war. In addition to his role as a politician, Freycinet highlighted as an engineer when he/she was head of the Ministry of public works (1877-1879), where he/she carried out a development program that carried his name to promote the reconstruction and expansion of routes of communication, especially the railway and canals, and favor the economic expansion of the country ensuring an emerging heavy industry market. He/She made important studies of infinitesimal calculus and mechanics.


Member of a famous French family (nephew of the famous Explorer Louis-Claude de Saulces Freycinet, one of the first to study terrestrial magnetism and meteorology studies was), in 1846 entered the École Polytechnique in Paris, where he/she graduated as a mining engineer. Freycinet began to practice their profession in successive sites, Mont de Marian (1852), Chartres (1854) and Bordeaux (1855), until the following year he/she entered the service of the railways company of noon as head of operation of the line, charge that played for five years and where he/she showed to possess important organizational skills. From 1862 he/she was employed by the Ministry of public works to perform relevant missions abroad, publishing with such different memories in which recounted thoroughly everything that had learned and seen as it passes by several European countries. In 1870, after the fall of the Empire embodied by Napoleón III (1852-1870) during the Franco-Prussian War, Freycinet offered his services to the head of the Cabinet of the first Government formed in the third French Republic, Léon Gambetta, who entrusted the general Prefecture of the Tarn-Garonne Department. In October of that same year, Gambetta returned to rely on Freycinet and appointed him Chief Executive of the Ministry of war, in whose charge Freycinet finished playing the roles of real Minister. In his new role, Freycinet developed an impressive work of reform of the French army in just a few months that Gambetta gave the strength to halt Prussian armed advance on France and force the signing of an armistice between the two countries. Freycinet did play 15,000 copies of the map of France, reorganized the high control of the General staff, separated engineers gun artillery gun, reformed completely different weapons and military addresses, armed and equipment conveniently to a contingent of 60,000 soldiers approximately and created several bodies operating again stamp. As did previously, Freycinet captured all their renovations and experiences in Ministry in the work La Guerre en Province pendant le siège de Paris (the war in the provinces during the siege of Paris), published with great success in 1871.

Settled as a relevant Member of the new political class that emerged after the collapse of the Napoleonic Empire and the advent of the third Republic, Freycinet won a seat as a Senator (renewed periodically without interruption until 1920) in 1876. In 1877, the first Minister Jules Dufaure given the public works portfolio. Freycinet developed a vast plan to complete the network of railway lines and complete the system of waterways of the interior following the British model. In December 1874, the new President Jules Grévy commissioned the formation of a new Government which accepted once consulted with Gambetta, his boss and political patron. This cabinet only lasted until September of the following year, because we Freycinet lost the confidence of Parliament to carry out the decrees against certain religious congregations that were not legalized. From his post as Minister of Foreign Affairs, between January and August 1882, and Senator Freycinet was instrumental in the fall of the Cabinet for his unwise decision to take by force the isthmus of Suez, a situation which was to provoke a war between France and England. Even so, that same year Grévy commissioned again to form a second Cabinet but to not be able to hold it by the lack of firm support for his policy, and coalitions had no choice but to resign and to facilitate the ascent of Brisson, who, in a sign of political gratitude, appointed him Minister of Foreign Affairs. To remove Brisson from the political scene, Freycinet returned to take charge of the Cabinet in January 1886. But, as happened with his second Cabinet, Freycinet could not support the Government because of the serious tension arose in the Parliament between the parties and by growing social unrest fueled by each day most important Socialist and anarchist groups. Finally, in may 1887, the third Government of Freycinet was severely defeated at the polls. In April 1888, Freycinet accepted Prime Minister Floquet take charge of the Ministry of war, which became Prime Minister not military who agreed to such position. Freycinet remained in the Ministry the next five years under five different cabinets, included the his fourth, followed where showing their organizational capacity to establish compulsory military service of three years and to create the Supreme War Council, organization which brought together all the generals and senior officers in command. In January 1893, the political situation of Freycinet was compromised to be punctuated by the financial scandal emerged concerning the construction of the Panama canal, which led to submit his resignation at the Ministry.

In the following years, Freycinet stayed away from power, although it did not diminish its influence in the Senate, because he/she took part in all the debates of the House. In 1898 it was again Minister of war with Dupuy Cabinet, but soon left the post because of his advanced age. Dedicated entirely to his work as a Senator, in 1905 he/she refused the Ministry of State. Seventy-seven years old, when it seemed that his brilliant political career had come to an end, the outbreak of the first world war gave the political prominence. From October 1915 to December 1916, Freycinet was head of the Ministry of State, while in those tragic moments for your country it showed signs of tiredness or abandonment of their activities. In 1920 Freycinet resigned to stand for the Senate ignoring multiple requests from his fellow party and voters. Until his last moments of life, he/she kept a prodigious clarity, as demonstrated by publicly expressing little confidence that had met the terms laid down in the Treaty of Versailles (1919).

According to the majority of historians and scholars on the period that had him live, Freycinet was one of the most positive values that emerged in the heat of the third French Republic. Endowed with a great talent and a solid scientific preparation and capacity for work, their absorbing tasks as politician not prevented you published a huge number of scientific and technical works of impressive scholarship, among which include: étude géologique sur le bassin de L´Adour (1854); Traité de Mécanique rationnelle (1858); Of l´analyse infinitesimale, étude sur la métaphysique du haut calcul (1860); Traité d´assainissement industriel (1870); Essais sur the philosophe des sciences (1896); Application of the theory of Laplace (1900) and l´experience in geometric (1903).

<0 < bibliography

BARRAL, Pierre. Les fondateurs de la Troisiéme République. (Paris: Ed. Armand Colin. 1968).CHASTENET, Jacques. Histoire de la Troisiéme République: naissance et ieunesse. (Paris: Ed. Hachette. 1973).PAEZ-CAMINO ARIAS, Feliciano. France: the second empire and the third Republic. (Madrid: Akal. Ed. 1986).