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Henri Brisson

In office
6 April 1885 – 7 January 1886
Preceded by Jules Ferry
Succeeded by Charles de Freycinet

In office
28 June 1898 – 1 November 1898
Preceded by Jules Méline
Succeeded by Charles Dupuy

Born 31 July 1835
Died April 14, 1912 (aged 76)
Political party None

Eugène Henri Brisson (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 Torigking expedition.

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 corcerning the laws on the religious orders and the separation of church and state. In 1899 he was a candidate for the presidency. In May 1906 he was elected president of the chamber of deputies by 500 out of 581 votes.

This article incorporates text from the Encyclopædia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, a publication now in the public domain.

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


  • 16 April 1885 - Sadi Carnot succeeds Clamageran as Minister of Finance. Charles Demôle succeeds Carnot as Minister of Public Works.
  • 9 November 1885 - Pierre Gomot succeeds Mangon as Minister of Agriculture. Lucien Dautresme succeeds Legrand as Minister of Commerce.

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

  • Henri Brisson - President of the Council and Minister of the Interior
  • Théophile Delcassé - Minister of Foreign Affairs
  • Godefroy Cavaignac - Minister of War
  • Paul Peytral - Minister of Finance
  • Ferdinand Sarrien - Minister of Justice and Worship
  • Édouard Locroy - Minister of Marine
  • Léon Bourgeois - Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts
  • Albert Viger - Minister of Agriculture
  • Georges Trouillot - Minister of Colonies
  • Louis Tillaye - Minister of Public Works
  • Émile Maruéjouls - Minister of Commerce, Industry, Posts, and Telegraphs


  • 5 September 1898 - Émile Zurlinden succeeds Cavaignac as Minister of War
  • 17 September 1898 - Charles Chanoine succeeds Zurlinden as Minister of War. Jules Godin succeeds Tillaye as Minister of Public Works.
  • 25 October 1898 - Édouard Locroy succeeds Chanoine as interim Minister of War, remaining also Minister of Marine.
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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