Constans - 19th Century Encyclopedia Entries

Meyer 1902-1909, Nordisk Familjebok 1904-1926

Meyer's Konversationslexikon 1902-1909, Article : Constans
Constans, Jean Antoine Ernest, French minister, born on May 3rd 1833 in Beziers, for several years conducted a business in Spain, but then studied law, became professor of law at the faculties of Douai, Dijon and Toulouse. In 1876 elected member of the Chamber of Deputees, where he joined the Union Republicaine. In 1879 in the cabinet Freycinet he became undersecretary in the ministry of the interior, on May 17th 1880 chef of the latter, with the task to implement the March decrees against the Jesuits and the other not authorized congregations. In November 1881 Constans resigned his office. After having been Governor General of Indochina from 1887 to 1888, on February 21st 1889 he took over the ministry of the interior and immediately, with great success, he took action against Boulanger and his supporters, so that the shaken republic again was stabilized. Constans was elected senator at the end of 1889, but in 1892 resigned from his office. In December 1898 he became ambassador in Constantinople.
source in German, posted by Zeno

Nordisk Familjebok 1904-1926, Article : Constans (1906)
Constans, Jean Antoine Ernest, French statesman, born on May 3rd 1833 in Beziers (Dept. Herault), devoted himself to industrial enterprises in Spain, but after speculations gone wrong he began to study law in Toulouse, where he acquired the doctoral degree, after which he became professor of law, successively in Douai, Dijon and Toulouse. After having administrated various communal posts, in 1876 as an active Republican he was elected by Toulouse into the Chamber of Deputees. In the chamber he joined the group "Union Republicaine" and soon, reelected after May 16th 1877, took a well-noticed position, especially in the budget commission, because of his expertise and his unartistic, clear eloquence. Undersecretary in 1879, he became minister of the interior in 1880 under Freycinet and energetically sought to implement the decree of March 29th that year against the not authorized congregations, which caused Freycinet to resign on September 18th 1880. In the following cabinet Ferry Constans held on to his portfolio until the fall of the cabinet on November 10th 1881, and after that he lead the election campaign, resulting in a Republican victory. Together with Gambetta one of the banner carriers of Opportunism, in 1885 he pushed through introduction of election by lists (scrutin de liste), at the election to the Chamber of Deputees. In 1886 appointed French ambassador to China, where he succeeded in concluding a treaty with that country favorable for France's interests in East Asia. In 1887 he was sent as Governor General to East Asia, and, by [a policy of] reconciliation and tolerance toward the natives, and by a firm policy strengthened France's rule, which had been disturbed by conflicts in previous years, but he entered into a dispute with the government in Paris in regard to the administration of the colony and had to resign in 1888. Having come home, Constans immediately became deputee, on February 22nd 1889 minister of the interior in the cabinet Tirard, was charged with the organization of the World Exhibition in Paris that year and of the general elections at this especially critical point of time, where the republic was greatly threatened by General Boulanger (see there). By power and trickery, Constans rendered the latter harmless, after which, without scruples and with an almost autocratic authority, thanks to a number of laws especially useful for this purpose, such as scrapping election by lists, created a large Republican majority, crushed the Boulangists and the Conservatives. Himself reelected a deputee by Toulouse, after a tight election campaign, that year he was elected Senator by the Departement Haute Garonne. In 1890 he left the cabinet, which survived him [his resignation] for only a few days, and then again became minister of the interior in cabinet Freycinet. But Constans during his management of the election had attracted such an intense hatred, and with Rochefort in "L'intrinsigeant" at the lead, the open and secret opponents of the Republic attacked him. An eclat took place in the chamber, where Constans palpably rebuked an attacker. Shortly after he and the entire cabinet resigned, on February 19th 1892, and since played a rather restrained role in politics. In 1897 he was reelected as senator, and appointed French ambassador in Constantinople, where he since maintained French interests.
source in Swedish, posted by Project Runeberg

DOCUMENTS Article Jean Antoine Ernest Constans, from EB 1911

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First posted on June 22nd 2009

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