Frédéric Passy

Frédéric Passy
(born 1822-died 1912)

Frédéric Passy was well known French economist and advocate of international arbitration who was cowinner (with Jean-Henri Dunant) of the first Nobel Prize for Peace in 1901. After serving as auditor for the French Council of State (1846-49), he devoted himself to writing, lecturing, and organizing on behalf of various economic reforms and philanthropies. An ardent free trader, he belonged to the 19th-century liberal tradition of the British economists Richard Cobden and John Bright, whom he knew personally. Passy's work for peace began during the Crimean War (1853-56). The war began in the years 1854 to 1856, Britain fought its only European war between the ending of the Napoleonic conflict in 1815 and the opening of the Great War in 1914. Although eventually victorious,the British and their French allies pursued the war with little skill and it became a byword for poor generalship and logistical incompetence.  The war began as a quarrel between Russian Orthodox monks and French Catholics over who had precedence at the holy Places in Jerusalem and Nazereth. Tempers frayed, violence resulted and lives were lost. Tsar Nicholas I of Russia demanded the right to protect the Christian shrines in the Holy Land and to back up his claims moved troops into Wallachia and Moldavia (present day Rumania) then part of the Ottoman Turkish empire. His fleet then destroyed a Turkish flotilla off Sinope in the Black Sea. Passy's plea for peace in the periodical Le Temps (1867) helped to avert war between France and Prussia over Luxembourg. In the same year he founded the International League for Peace, later known as the French Society for International Arbitration. After the Franco-German War (1870-71) (This war began with the Spanish throne being vacant after the deposition of Queen Isabel II (1868). There were two candidates to succeed to the throne, one of them being a Hohenzollern of the Catholic Sigmaringen line. France's Emperor Napoleon III. demanded Prussian king Wilhelm IV. to renounce the candidacy; he complied. Then he demanded King Wilhelm to renounce any Hohenzollern candidacy for the future, which Wilhelm did not comply with. Bismarck had a shortened version of the French telegram published in a newspaper, the EMS DISPATCH. France regarded this an affront and declared war.)
 Passy proposed independence and permanent neutrality for Alsace-Lorraine. As a member of the French Chamber of Deputies (from 1881), he successfully urged arbitration of a dispute between France and The Netherlands concerning the French Guiana-Surinam boundary. He assisted in founding the Inter-Parliamentary Union (1888) and remained active in the peace movement for the rest of his long life.