Félix Faure was a French politician who served as the President of France from 1895 until his death in 1899.
He was a member of the Opportunist Republican Party and served as Minister of Marine and Colonies under the premiership of Charles Dupuy.
During his presidency, Faure worked to improve relations with Great Britain and strengthen the French military.
He also oversaw the construction of the Paris Métro and the Exposition Universelle of 1900.
However, Faure is perhaps best known for his scandalous death.
On February 16, 1899, he suffered a fatal heart attack while receiving oral sex from his mistress, Marguerite Steinheil, in the Élysée Palace.
The incident became known as the ‘Félix Faure Affair’ and caused a scandal in France.
Félix Faure early life
Faure was born on January 30, 1841, in Paris, France, and was a prominent French politician who served as the President of France from 1895 until his untimely death in 1899.
Faure’s early life and upbringing played a significant role in shaping his political career and personal life.
He came from a middle-class background; his father, a glove manufacturer, provided him with a comfortable upbringing.
However, his family’s financial situation declined after his father’s death in 1854, forcing Faure to seek employment at a young age.
Despite the financial challenges, Faure received a solid education.
He attended the Lycée Louis-le-Grand, one of the most prestigious secondary schools in Paris, where he excelled in his studies.
Faure’s academic achievements laid the foundation for his future political aspirations.
After completing his education, Faure initially worked in the family business, however, his interest in politics led him to pursue a career in public service.
In 1865, he became a municipal councilor in Le Havre, a port city in northern France; this marked the beginning of his political journey.
In 1871, Faure married Berthe Martin, the daughter of a wealthy shipowner.
This marriage not only brought him personal happiness but also provided him with the financial means to further his political career.
Faure’s political career gained momentum in the 1870s and 1880s.
He served as a deputy in the National Assembly, representing Seine-Inférieure, and later became a senator.
Faure aligned himself with the moderate Republican faction and developed a reputation as a skilled negotiator and consensus builder.
Félix Faure cause of death
Faure died on February 16, 1899, while he was still in office.
The cause of his death was a cerebral hemorrhage, which he suffered while he was in the Élysée Palace in Paris.
The circumstances surrounding Félix Faure’s death were somewhat scandalous.
It is said that he was engaging in sexual activity with his mistress, Marguerite Steinheil, when he suffered the fatal hemorrhage.
Steinheil was present at the time of his death and was later questioned by the police about the incident.
Despite the scandal, Faure’s death was mourned by many in France.
He was seen as a popular and effective leader, and his death was a shock to the nation.
His legacy includes a number of important reforms, including the establishment of the French Army’s General Staff and the creation of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Félix Faure political career
Faure had a notable political career that spanned several decades.
He served as the President of France from 1895 until his untimely death in 1899.
Before his presidency, Faure held various positions in the French government, contributing to the political landscape of his time.
He began his political career in the 1860s, working as a lawyer and journalist.
Faure aligned himself with the moderate republicans and supported the policies of President Adolphe Thiers during the early years of the Third Republic.
In 1881, Faure successfully ran for a seat in the Chamber of Deputies, representing the 5th arrondissement of Paris.
He was reelected in subsequent elections and became known for his support of free trade and his opposition to protectionist policies.
Faure held several ministerial positions during his career.
In 1882, he was appointed Undersecretary of State for the Interior in the Jules Ferry government.
Later, in 1883, he became the Minister of Marine and Colonies in the government of Armand Fallières.
Faure’s tenure as Minister of Marine was marked by his efforts to modernize the French navy.
In 1895, Faure ran for the presidency and won, succeeding Jean Casimir-Perier.
As President, Faure’s role was largely ceremonial, with the government being led by the Prime Minister, Jules Méline.
However, Faure did have some influence in shaping foreign policy, particularly in relation to the Dreyfus Affair, a divisive political and social scandal of the time.
Faure’s presidency was cut short when he died unexpectedly on February 16, 1899, while in office. He was succeeded by Émile Loubet.
Despite his relatively brief time as President, Faure’s political career left an impact on the French government and society of the late 19th century.
His support for free trade and modernization, as well as his involvement in the Dreyfus Affair, are among the notable aspects of his legacy.
Faure was involved in several controversies that garnered significant attention and had a lasting impact on his legacy.
1. Panama Scandal (1892-1893)
Although the Panama Scandal erupted before Faure’s presidency, he was implicated in the aftermath.
The scandal involved the mismanagement and financial corruption surrounding the construction of the Panama Canal.
Faure, then a prominent politician, received funds from the Panama Canal Company for his election campaign.
While Faure was not directly involved in the scandal, his association with it tarnished his reputation.
2. Dreyfus Affair (1894-1906)
The Dreyfus Affair was a political and social crisis that divided France.
It began in 1894 when Captain Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish officer in the French army, was wrongfully convicted of treason for allegedly passing military secrets to Germany.
As President, Faure was aware of the irregularities in the case but initially chose to remain silent.
His inaction and failure to address the injustice contributed to the controversy surrounding the affair.
3. Death and the ‘Petite Affaire’ (1899)
Faure’s presidency came to a tragic end when he died in office on February 16, 1899.
The circumstances of his death added a scandalous twist to his already controversial tenure.
Faure was reportedly engaged in a sexual encounter with his mistress, Marguerite Steinheil, when he suffered a fatal stroke.
This incident, known as the ‘Petite Affaire,’ became a subject of gossip and speculation, further tarnishing Faure’s reputation.
These controversies, ranging from financial scandals to political crises and personal scandals, have contributed to the complex and often controversial legacy of Faure.