Family tree of Paul Henri BALLUET D'ESTOURNELLES

Ambassador, Diplomat, Civil servant

FrenchBorn Paul Henri Benjamin BALLUET D'ESTOURNELLES

French diplomat and politician, and winner of the 1909 Nobel Prize for Peace

Born on November 22, 1852 in La Flèche, France , France

Died on May 15, 1924 in Paris, France

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He was born at La Flèche (Sarthe) in the Loire valley to an old aristocratic family which traced its genealogy back to the Crusades; the renowned Revolution-era writer and politician Benjamin Constant was his great-uncle. After studying law and Oriental languages at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris, Estournelles de Constant embarked on a diplomatic career in 1876.

Among Estournelles de Constant's early diplomatic posts were Montenegro, the Ottoman Empire, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Tunisia; in 1882 he returned to Paris to serve as assistant director of the Levant bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1890 he was posted to London as the French chargé d'affaires, where he played a role in averting war with Britain over colonial disputes. Frustrated by the limitations of diplomatic service, he ran for parliament in 1895, securing a seat in the Chamber of Deputies. In 1904 Estournelles de Constant ran for and won a seat in the Senate, where he served until the end of his career in 1924.


As a deputy and senator, Estournelles de Constant concerned himself with colonial issues, consistently opposing Third Republic colonial policy. He advocated the elimination of colonial seats in the French parliament, preferring a policy of establishing protectorates to the traditional republican programme of colonial assimilation. In particular, he violently opposed the establishment of French colonial rule in Madagascar and the Great Powers' dismemberment of China. In domestic affairs, he was concerned particularly with what the terminology of the day called "outrages against morality" (outrages aux bonnes mœurs). On the other hand, he was a Dreyfusard and argued in favour of placing Émile Zola's remains in the Panthéon for Zola's part in the Dreyfus Affair.

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Geographical origins

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