Ollivier, Émile

Ollivier, Émile

(āmēl` ôlēvyā`), 1825–1913, French statesman, a leading figure in the "Liberal Empire" of Napoleon IIINapoleon III
(Louis Napoleon Bonaparte), 1808–73, emperor of the French (1852–70), son of Louis Bonaparte (see under Bonaparte, family), king of Holland. Early Life
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. Widely known as a brilliant lawyer, he was elected to the legislature in 1857. He and Jules FavreFavre, Jules
, 1809–80, French statesman. At first a partisan of the July Monarchy, he joined the republican opposition to King Louis Philippe. After the February Revolution of 1848 he was one of the leaders of the provisional government.
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 were the chief figures of the liberal opposition that sought to gain reforms by constitutional means. After 1863, Ollivier cooperated with the duc de MornyMorny, Charles Auguste Louis Joseph, duc de
, 1811–65, French statesman; illegitimate son of Hortense de Beauharnais and the comte de Flahaut de La Billarderie. After an army career (1830–38) during which he fought in North Africa, Morny entered politics and was
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 to gain liberal concessions from Napoleon and gradually drew away from his republican colleagues to lead a new liberal group supporting cooperation with the government. Growing public discontent led Napoleon to call on Ollivier to form a ministry, and the Ollivier ministry was organized in Jan., 1870. The new ministry instituted sweeping constitutional reforms, transforming the empire into a parliamentary regime. Unfortunately, the dispute over the Hohenzollern succession in Spain soon erupted into hostilities in the Franco-Prussian WarFranco-Prussian War
or Franco-German War,
1870–71, conflict between France and Prussia that signaled the rise of German military power and imperialism. It was provoked by Otto von Bismarck (the Prussian chancellor) as part of his plan to create a unified German
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. Although Ollivier was initially opposed to war, he endorsed the final decision to declare war on Prussia. Replaced as premier (Aug., 1870), Ollivier went to Italy. He returned to France after three years and spent his later life writing historical and political books, many of them in defense of his ministry. His major collection is L'Empire libéral (18 vol., 1895–1918).


See his Journal, 1846–1869 (1961, in French); biography by T. Zeldin (1963).

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Ollivier, Émile


Born July 2, 1825, in Marseille; died Aug. 20, 1913, in Saint-Gervais-les-Bains. French politician, bourgeois republican. Member of the Académie Française (1870).

During the Revolution of 1848, Ollivier was prefect of the departments of Bouches-du-Rhône and Haute-Marne; he supervised the suppression of the Marseille workers’ uprising of June 1848. He was elected a deputy to the Corps Législatif in 1857 and was reelected in 1863 and 1869. In the late 1860’s Ollivier grew close to the Bonapartists, and in January 1870 he became the head of the government, at the same time filling the posts of minister of justice and of religion. Ollivier attempted to prevent the collapse of the Second Empire by introducing liberal reforms. However, his measures were insignificant. A supporter of the Franco-Prussian War, Ollivier was compelled to retire in August 1870 after the first French defeats of the war.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.