Born Jan. 31, 1847, in Nontron: died Feb. 21, 1917, in Paris. French historian.
In 1879, Debidour became head of the chair of geography and in 1880 of the chair of history at the University of Nancy. In 1891 he became chief inspector of public education in France. He was head of the chair of the history of Christianity in recent times at the Sorbonne from 1906. Debidour’s best-known work is his Diplomatic History of Europe From the Congress of Vienna to the Congress of Berlin (1814–1878) (vols. 1–2, 1891; Russian translation, vols. 1–2, 1947). In this work, which contains a great deal of factual material, the radical-republican Debidour devoted much attention to revolutions and to national liberation movements; he noted their progressive significance and criticized the rule of dictatorship and wars of conquest while at the same time reappraising the possibilities of bourgeois democracy (above all, French bourgeois democracy). In other works—for example, The Catholic Church and the State During the Third Republic (1870–1906), vols. 1–2, 1906–09—Debidour studied the relations between church and state in France and firmly supported the idea of secular education and of the separation of church and state.