Marie Joseph Louis Adolphe Thiers (15 April 1797 – 3 September 1877) was a French politician and historian of the French Revolution. He wrote a multi-volume history that argued that the republicanism of the Revolution was the central theme of modern French history.
Thiers served as a prime minister in 1836, 1840 and 1848. He was a vocal opponent of Emperor Napoleon III, who reigned from 1848–71. Following the overthrow of the Second Empire, Thiers again came to power and his suppression of the revolutionary Paris Commune of 1871 killed thousands of Parisians. From 1871 to 1873 he served initially as Head of State (effectively a provisional President of France), then President. He lost power in 1873 to Patrice de Mac-Mahon, Duke of Magenta.
His father was a locksmith turned businessman; his mother belonged to the Chénier family. During his youth he was well-educated, first at the lycée of Marseille and then in the faculty of law at Aix-en-Provence. While studying at the faculty of law he began his lifelong friendship with François Mignet, and was called to the bar at the age of twenty-three. He demonstrated, however, little taste for law; rather he had a strong interest in literature. He obtained an academic prize at Aix for a discourse on the marquis de Vauvenargues. In 1821, the 24-year-old Thiers moved to Paris and was quickly introduced as a contributor to the Le Constitutionnel. In each of the years immediately following his arrival in Paris he collected and published a volume of his articles, the first on the salon of 1822, the second on a tour in the Pyrenees. He was very well paid by Johann Friedrich Cotta, the part-proprietor of the Constitutionnel...
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