Henri Brisson

Henri Brisson
50th Prime Minister of France
In office
6 April 1885  7 January 1886
President Jules Grévy
Preceded by Jules Ferry
Succeeded by Charles de Freycinet
66th Prime Minister of France
In office
28 June 1898  1 November 1898
President Félix Faure
Preceded by Jules Méline
Succeeded by Charles Dupuy
Personal details
Born 31 July 1835
Died 14 April 1912(1912-04-14) (aged 76)
Political party None

Eugène Henri Brisson (French pronunciation: [ɑ̃ʁi bʁisɔ̃]; 31 July 1835  14 April 1912) was a French statesman, Prime Minister of France for a period in 1885-1886 and again in 1898.


He was born at Bourges (Cher), and followed his father’s profession of advocate. Having made his mark in opposition during the last days of the empire, he was appointed deputy-mayor of Paris after the government was overthrown. He was elected to the Assembly on 8 February 1871, as a member of the extreme Left. While not approving of the Commune, he was the first to propose amnesty for the condemned (on 13 September 1871), but the proposal was voted down. He strongly supported compulsory primary education, and was firmly anti-clerical. He was president of the chamber from 1881—replacing Léon Gambetta—to March 1885, when he became prime minister upon the resignation of Jules Ferry; but he resigned when, after the general elections of that year, he only just obtained a majority for the vote of credit for the Tongking expedition.[1]

He remained conspicuous as a public man, took a prominent part in exposing the Panama scandals, was a powerful candidate for the presidency after the murder of President Carnot in 1894, and was again president of the chamber from December 1894 to 1898. In June of the latter year he formed a cabinet when the country was violently excited over the Dreyfus affair; his firmness and honesty increased popular respect for him, but a chance vote on a matter of especial excitement overthrew his ministry in October. As a leader of the radicals he actively supported, the ministries of Waldeck-Rousseau and Combes, especially concerning the laws on the religious orders and the separation of church and state. In 1899 he was a candidate for the presidency but lost to Felix Faure. In May 1906 he was elected president of the chamber of deputies by 500 out of 581 votes.[1]

Brisson's 1st Ministry, 6 April 1885 – 7 January 1886

Brisson early in his career.


Brisson's Second Ministry, 28 June – 1 November 1898




 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domain: Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Brisson, Eugène Henri". Encyclopædia Britannica (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. 

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Political offices
Preceded by
Félix Martin-Feuillée
Minister of Justice
Succeeded by
Charles Demôle
Preceded by
Jules Ferry
Prime Minister of France
Succeeded by
Charles de Freycinet
Preceded by
Jules Méline
Prime Minister of France
Succeeded by
Charles Dupuy
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