Ligue des Patriotes

The League of Patriots (French: Ligue des Patriotes) was a French far right league, founded in 1882 by the nationalist poet Paul Déroulède, historian Henri Martin, and Félix Faure. The Ligue began as a non-partisan nationalist league calling for 'revanche' (revenge for the French defeat during the Franco-Prussian War) against Germany, and literally means "League of Patriots". One of the original purposes of the Ligue was to offer pre-military training, allowing members to participate in gymnastics and rifle shooting.

League of Patriots
Ligue des Patriotes
FoundationMay 18, 1882 (1882-05-18)
Dissolved1924 (1924)
MotivesLong Depression, political corruption
Active regionsParis (headquarters)
Political positionFar-right
Size60,000 (1898)
Means of revenue
Succeeded by
Jeunesses Patriotes


Ligue des Patriotes members in 1912.

The league was formed with Léon Gambetta's blessing, and Gambetta's education ministry included Déroulède in its Military Education Commission, which was also formed in 1882.[2] However, during the Boulanger Affair, Déroulède co-opted the ligue to support the general, alienating many Republican members. After Boulanger's exile in 1889, the Ligue was suppressed by the French government.

Upon the discovery that Victoria, the future German Empress, had stayed in Versailles and Saint-Cloud (a town destroyed during the Franco-Prussian War) during her unofficial visit to France in 1891, the Ligue incited a public uproar. The disorder surrounding the visit eventually resulted in the Crown Princess cutting her trip short and being escorted under French military protection, for her safety, to Calais to board a ship to England.

In 1898, the Ligue was revived to become involved in the Dreyfus Affair engaging in noisy and often violent anti-Semitic, right-wing protests. At this stage, the Ligue is estimated to have had 60,000 members, largely in Paris.

After a failed coup in 1899, Paul Déroulède was sentenced to exile from France for 10 years and the Ligue was dissolved. But the nationalist author Maurice Barrès became again its leader in 1914, at the eve of World War I.[3]



  1. ^ Ariane Chebel d'Appollonia (1 December 1998). L'extrême-droite en France: De Maurras à Le Pen. Editions Complexe. p. 131.
  2. ^ Robert Tombs (1996). "A New Order". France 1814–1914. London: Longman. p. 53. ISBN 0-582-49314-5.
  3. ^ Biographical notice Archived 2007-06-07 at the Wayback Machine of Barrès on the Académie française's website (in French)