Jean-Pierre Rioux

Jaurès’ Children Publication date : November 2, 2022

Jean-Pierre Roux is a high school teacher, research director at CNRS and Inspector General of the French National Education System. He is also writes for magazines (Vingtième siècle, L’Histoire) and newspapers (Le Monde, La Croix, Ouest France). He chaired the Maison de L’Histoire de France’s Scientific Orientation Committee and is the author of Vive l’histoire de France !

“The Socialists suffered a crushing defeat in the last elections. It was a bitter result for a century-old political party that has always fought for its beliefs and sometimes won. Today they appear weakened, lifeless, with no zest or voice… discredited. Yet the Socialists gave rise to the “éclaireurs” (enlighteners), to quote Jaurès, whose personality, ideals, acts and memories are explored through old photos in this essay.
These “enlighteners” were not stereotypical, great providential men, nor heroes who changed the course of history, but highly-placed figures whose strong beliefs inspired people to get involved, and who conveyed an emancipatory message and promoted politics based on solidarity and justice… who gave a sense of hope and pride.
Was this promise sustainable? Did they uphold their end of the deal? This book explores these questions through Jaurès and five of his successors (Léon Blue, Guy Mollet, Mendès France, Mitterand, Rocard), without questioning their commitment. Instead, it looks into the past and examines the combination of ends and means, ideals and reality, successes and failures… It weighs up the charisma of exemplarity that was or was not recognised at the time of the “Great Departure”. Six marriages, with their joys and sorrows. And today a separation.” JPR