Les Ministres de la République, 1871-1914
Preface by Maurice Agulhon
Can the Third Republic's astonishing life-span be explained by the social characteristics of its leaders ? Of provincial and relatively humble origins, their social rise, achieved through éducation, already corresponded to Republican ideology. Although the shady financial dealings often attributed to the political leaders are largely mythical, their wealth was real. It came essentially from cleverly negotiated marriages and a sharp sensé of the financial advantages that could be taken from their political positions by making certain sure investments. Close to the people, with strong ties to their native région, thèse men were also successful in becoming part of the upper classes. They thus provided the bourgeois democracy with an unequaled flexibility.