Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/502

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tism should be its motto. To test this we have studied minutely the results of a general election of deputies from all over France, held in 1885. We chose this example for the reason that this important political event was the last supreme effort, the expiring gasp of the monarchical party in France. It is the last time that the conservative element obtained any formidable representation in the Chambers at Paris. From ninety-five deputies standing for a return to the old régime in the preceding Chambers, the number advanced to one hundred and eighty-three; it nearly doubled, in other words. Three million three hundred thousand conservative votes, in a total

PSM V52 D502 Political representation in french elections of 1885.png

suffrage of 7,500,000, was a very respectable, even formidable, showing. This remarkable overturn was due to a fortuitous conjuncture of events. The Ferry republican ministry had been recklessly extravagant; its policy in Tonquin was unpopular. Disturbing local issues were, however, rare, so that the main questions at home were calculated to appeal directly to any intellectual or moral prejudices which happened to be abroad. The Radical party stood for the separation of Church and State; universal suffrage in senatorial and presidential elections was a leading issue. It was an exceptional occasion in every respect for reviving the smoldering fires of conservatism, while at the same time affording opportunity for the fullest expression of progressive ideas, wherever they were present. The election,