Adolphe Crémieux, great legislator of the IIIe Republic

Adolphe Crémieux, great legislator of the III<sup>e</sup> Republic

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Portrait of M. Crémieux, Senator.

© Photo RMN-Grand Palais - J.-G. Berizzi

Publication date: March 2016

Historical context

Isaac-Moïse Crémieux (Nîmes, 1796-Paris, 1880) led an important career as a lawyer and politician. He began his political career by opposing Louis-Philippe before becoming a member of the provisional government and Keeper of the Seals in 1848. At first favorable to Napoleon III, he quickly passed into the opposition and disappeared from public life until in 1864. At the fall of the Empire, assisted by Léon Gambetta, of whom he had made his secretary, he became Minister of Justice of the Government of National Defense and promulgated the famous decree which bears his name, granting French citizenship to the Jews of 'Algeria. In 1871, he was elected deputy of Algiers and became, in 1875, irremovable senator. "

Image Analysis

Lecomte du Nouy, ​​who had married two years earlier Adolphe Crémieux's granddaughter, Valentine Peigné-Crémieux, exhibited this tribute inspired by the official portraits of Paul Delaroche at the Salon of 1878, under the number 1369 and the title Portrait of Mr. Crémieux, Senator. The famous ugliness of the model is in no way concealed, and everything around him helps to assert his personality as well as his tastes, and to illustrate a power of work that all his contemporaries recognized. Under the protection of the statue of Demosthenes, famous orator and great ancient patriot, Crémieux sees himself assimilated to the Greek hero whose heritage he assumes, his hand resting on numerous sheets on the letterhead of the French Republic and dated 1870.


Without a doubt, and although the picture was painted eight years later, the documents dated 1870 barely concealed on the sleeve of the model are a tribute to the abundant administrative and legislative activity that Crémieux then exercised. The catalog of his interventions and actions is impressive that year: in charge of the Ministry of War and the Interior by interim, he quickly abandoned this post in Gambetta, retaining only Justice. His speeches constantly reaffirm the credo of the contemporary left: the solemn proclamation of the Republic, the integration of Algeria into the national identity, the separation of Church and State, free primary education, secular and compulsory, the dissolution of the Assembly of Versailles and the amnesty of convicts of the Commune.

  • secularization
  • political opponents
  • portrait
  • Third Republic
  • Louis Philippe
  • speaker


Daniel ANSOM Adolphe Crémieux: the forgotten of glory Paris, Seuil, 1988 Jean-Marie MAYEUR The beginnings of the Third Republic Paris, Seuil coll. "Points Histoire", 1973.Claude NICOLET The Republican Idea in France: 1789-1924: Essay on Critical History Paris, Gallimard, 1982 re-ed. "Tel" collection, 1995.

To cite this article

Dominique LOBSTEIN, “Adolphe Crémieux, great legislator of the IIIe Republic "

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