Frédéric Passy

Summary

Frédéric Passy (20 May 1822 – 12 June 1912) was a French economist and pacifist who was awarded (jointly with Henry Dunant) the first ever Nobel Peace Prize, awarded in 1901.

The first years

Frederick Passy was born in Paris. His father, Felix Passy, was a veteran of the Battle of Waterloo, while his uncle, Hippolytus Passy, was a minister under both Louis Philippe and Napoleon III. Passy studied law and practised it briefly before accepting a position in the Conseil de Droit (Council of State) in 1846-1849. However, under the influence of his uncle, he resigned this post and returned to university to study economics. True to his democratic principles, he withdrew from public life after the coup dӎtat of Napoleon III and refused to reconcile with his regime. He pursued a career as an economist from 1857 and in 1860 began teaching political economy in Paris and in the provinces.

The emergence of the

His fame began with his collection of essays Mélanges économiques (1857) and a series of lectures given at the University of Montpellier and published under the title Leçons d”économie politique. Passy was a supporter of free trade and the ideas of Richard Cobden. In 1877 he became a member of the French Academy of Moral and Political Sciences (Académie des sciences morales et politiques) and was awarded the Order of Commander of the Legion of Honour. He was also President of the Political Economy Society for 70 years.

Pussy was directly involved in political issues, defending educational reform and intervening to prevent the Franco-Prussian war over Luxembourg. In 1868 he helped found the Ligue internationale et permanente de la paix (“International and Permanent League of Peace”) to prevent future international conflicts and became its permanent secretary. And when this organization was dissolved during the Franco-Prussian War, Passy helped to “reconstruct” it as the Société française des amis de la paix (“French Society of Friends of Peace”), which was renamed in 1889 as the Société d”arbitrage entre les Nations.

Participation in politics

In 1881 Pussy was elected a member of the Lower House of Parliament, where his stance was in favour of changes in foreign policy and labour reforms, such as legislative coverage of industrial accidents. He was re-elected in 1886, but not in 1889. He also advocated a system for the arbitration of international conflicts. In 1888 his tireless efforts led to a meeting between British and French parliamentarians to discuss the idea of the peaceful settlement of international disputes. In 1889 the Inter-Parliamentary Union was founded, co-founded by Pussy, who was also a member of the International Peace Bureau in Bern.

International recognition

Pussy”s writings and speeches for peace met with international recognition. In 1909 he published Pour la paix (“For Peace”), in which he described the creation and history of the above-mentioned organizations for international peace and understanding, with which he was associated. From 1881 to 1902 he was a professor of political economy at several colleges.

F. Passy died in Paris at the age of 90.

Sources

  1. Φρεντερίκ Πασσύ
  2. Frédéric Passy