French socialist politician. He was considered a commanding intellectual presence within the socialist movement in France, through his writings (which included a magisterial social history of the French revolution), his oratory, and his journalism. In the decade leading up to the outbreak of World War I, Jaurès' impassioned opposition to the rising tide of militarism in Europe brought him centre stage within the Second International.
Born in southwestern France into a middle-class family with commercial and military connections, Jaurès trained at the Ecole Normale Supérieure and became a philosophy teacher and university lecturer in Toulouse before being elected to parliament 1885–89. A series of bitter strikes by miners and glassworkers in his native Tarn département in the 1890s helped shift his strongly republican convictions decisively leftwards. As a leader writer on the newspaper La Petite République, Jaurès took up Emile Zola's campaign to establish the innocence of the Jewish military captain Alfred Dreyfus, falsely convicted of treason. In parliament again as a deputy 1892–88 and 1902–14, he supported the participation of socialists in government and in 1902 helped create the first quasi-formal alliance between Radicals and socialists. This bloc des gauches, under Emile Combes' premiership, secured the separation of church and state. Founder of L'Humanité in 1904, and its editor until his death, Jaurès joined with Jules Guesde and Edouard Vaillant to unify France's hitherto organizationally fragmented socialist movement in 1905. Within the newly constituted French Section of the Second International (SFIO), Jaurès advocated a working partnership with the syndicalist General Confederation of Labour (CGT) that would respect the latter's organizational and political autonomy. He was assassinated in Paris by a young right-wing nationalist on 31 July 1914.
Jaurès, (Auguste Marie Joseph) Jean (Léon)
Related Credo Articles
French, b: 1859, Castres, France, d: 1914, Paris (assassinated). Cat: Socialist theorist and activist. Ints: Politics. Educ: École...
French socialist leader and journalist; a proponent of the international unity of the working class. He was a supporter of Dreyfus...
Full text Article The Verdict of the Zola Affair, illustration from 'Le Petit Journal: Supplement illustre', 6th March 1898 (litho)
Artist: Meaulle F.L. (1844-1901) & Tofani, Oswaldo (1849-1915) Location: Private Collection Credit: The Verdict of the Zola Affair, illustration fro