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By William Irvine

Among Justice and Politics is a background of the 1st fifty years of the Ligue des droits de l'Homme—the League of the Rights of guy. this is often the 1st book-length research of the Ligue in any language, and it really is educated by means of the lately to be had records of the association. based in the course of the Dreyfus Affair, the Ligue took as its mandate the security of human rights in all their types. The significant argument of this book—and the purpose on which it differs from all different writings at the subject—is that the Ligue usually did not reside as much as its mandate due to its simultaneous dedication to left-wing politics. by way of the past due Thirties the Ligue used to be in disarray, and through the Nineteen Forties a couple of its participants opted to shield the Vichy regime of Marshal Petain.

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Extra resources for Between Justice and Politics: The Ligue des Droits de l'Homme, 1898-1945

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Separation of church and state may or may not have been desirable as a matter of public policy. But what did the question have to do with the Rights of Man, especially given that the Declaration, the League’s charter, was absolutely silent on the point? Even were one to agree that the separation of church and state was consistent with the spirit, if not the letter, of the Declaration, surely the League should limit itself to pronouncing on the principle of separation. Yet here was the 34 ici on ne fait pas de l a politique Central Committee giving its benediction, ratified by the 1903 general assembly, not to the principle, but to a specific and partisan piece of legislation.

Justice, not politics, was the League’s mandate. It was neither Right nor Left. ” Lines like this were repeated whenever two or more leaguers gathered together. Scarcely was there a public meeting of the League without someone reminding his colleagues that the League did not engage in politics precisely because it was above politics. Orator after orator, at section meetings, federation meetings, and above all, national congresses insisted that the League was above politics, outside politics, and unconcerned with politics.

The former was French, reformist, and evolutionary; the latter was German, violent, and revolutionary. One thing all Radicals shared in common was an extreme anticlericalism, which often took the form of insisting that most of the problems facing republican France could be solved by depriving the Roman Catholic Church of any influence whatsoever. There was probably no such thing as a typical Radical. But if there were, it would probably have been André Teissier, a notary from Mâcon, an activist in the local Radical committee and, significantly, president of the very large local section of the League.

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