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Jules François Camille Ferry Passes Away

Today in Masonic History Jules François Camille Ferry passes away in 1893.

Jules François Camille Ferry was a French politician.

Ferry was born on April 5th, 1832 in Saint-Dié, France. He studied law and was called to the bar in Paris on 1854. He contributed to various newspapers of the time. He wrote for Le Temps one of the most popular newspapers of the time in Paris. In it he attacked the Second French Empire. He stated his direct opposition, violently at times, to Baron Haussmann who was put in charge of boulevards, parks and other public works projects in Paris. Ferry, as well as many of Haussmann's other opponents, went after Haussmann for his extravagant tastes.

In 1869, Ferry was elected the republican deputy for Paris. He also protested the declaration of war against Germany at the beginning of the Franco-Prussian war. The following year the French Third Republic began and the first Government of the Third Republic named Ferry prefect of the Seine. He continued to be a force in the Third Republic. He was also the last Mayor of Paris until 1977. He served as Mayor of Paris from 1870 to 1871, a total of 7 months.

In 1880, Ferry became the third Prime of the Third Republic. He was very supportive of public education and sought to change the laws in France to improve the educational system. In 1881, the Jules Ferry Laws were first voted in. The first established a free public education system in France. The system was mandatory. In 1882, the schools became secular or non-clerical. The laws also established French as the official language of the country. In the latter part of 20th century this was changed due to the fact some local dialects around France were close to becoming extinct.

The other big issue for Ferry during his term as Prime Minister was colonial expansion of France. He sent forces to various countries around Africa to establish colonies, largely for the purpose of economic exploitation.

Ferry during his term made a wide scale "purge" of all monarchists in the French Government. In the beginning of the Third Republic there was a strong desire for monarchy. As a republican, Ferry wanted to ensure the monarchy never returned.

Ferry's time in Government came to an end with the Tonkin Affair. Reports came from the war against the Qing Dynasty in China, French troops were in danger of loosing the war, an over exaggeration by a General who was not anywhere near the battles, caused political upheaval in France. When news of these reports were put out to the public angry crowds assembled and Ferry's life was threatened.

Ferry passed away on March 17th, 1893.

Ferry was initiated into La Clémante amitiée Lodge in Paris on July 8th, 1875. In 1872 he became a member of Alsace-Lorraine Lodge.

This article provided by Brother Eric C. Steele.