was a French
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...
Economics is the social science that analyzes the production, distribution, and consumption of goods and services. The term economics comes from the Ancient Greek from + , hence "rules of the house"...
and a joint winner (together with Henry Dunant
Jean Henri Dunant , aka Henry Dunant, was a Swiss businessman and social activist. During a business trip in 1859, he was witness to the aftermath of the Battle of Solferino in modern day Italy...
) of the first Nobel Peace Prize awarded in 1901.
Born in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...
, Passy's uncle Hippolyte Passy
Hippolyte Passy was a French economist. He was twice Minister of Finance in the government of Louis-Philippe of France.-References:...
was a cabinet minister for both Louis Philippe
Louis Philippe I was King of the French from 1830 to 1848 in what was known as the July Monarchy. His father was a duke who supported the French Revolution but was nevertheless guillotined. Louis Philippe fled France as a young man and spent 21 years in exile, including considerable time in the...
and Louis Napoleon. Passy studied law and practised for a short time before accepting a position as an accountant in the State Council (Conseil de Droit) 1846-1849. However, under his uncle's influence he gave up this post and returned to the university to study economics. True to his republican principles, he withdrew from politics after the coup d'état of Napoleon III and refused to be reconciled to the Second Empire
The Second French Empire or French Empire was the Imperial Bonapartist regime of Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870, between the Second Republic and the Third Republic, in France.-Rule of Napoleon III:...
; he was therefore ineligible for any government post. He became a professional economist in 1857, and in 1860 he began to teach political economy
Political economy originally was the term for studying production, buying, and selling, and their relations with law, custom, and government, as well as with the distribution of national income and wealth, including through the budget process. Political economy originated in moral philosophy...
both in Paris and in the provinces.
His reputation was established through his Mélanges économiques
(1857) essays and a lecture series given at the University of Montpellier
The University of Montpellier was a French university in Montpellier in the Languedoc-Roussillon région of the south of France. Its present-day successor universities are the University of Montpellier 1, Montpellier 2 University and Paul Valéry University, Montpellier III.-History:The university...
and published as the Leçons d'économie politique
. He was an advocate of free trade
Under a free trade policy, prices emerge from supply and demand, and are the sole determinant of resource allocation. 'Free' trade differs from other forms of trade policy where the allocation of goods and services among trading countries are determined by price strategies that may differ from...
and adherent to the ideas of Richard Cobden
Richard Cobden was a British manufacturer and Radical and Liberal statesman, associated with John Bright in the formation of the Anti-Corn Law League as well as with the Cobden-Chevalier Treaty...
. In 1877 he became a member of the French Académie des sciences morales et politiques, a component of the Institut de France
The Institut de France is a French learned society, grouping five académies, the most famous of which is the Académie française.The institute, located in Paris, manages approximately 1,000 foundations, as well as museums and chateaux open for visit. It also awards prizes and subsidies, which...
; and he was a commander of the Legion of Honor. He was president of the Society of Political Economy for 70 years.
Passy directly engaged in political questions, advocating educational reform and intervening to prevent war between France and Prussia over Luxembourg
Luxembourg , officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg , is a landlocked country in western Europe, bordered by Belgium, France, and Germany. It has two principal regions: the Oesling in the North as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland in the south...
. In 1868, he helped found the Ligue internationale et permanente de la paix
(International and Permanent League of Peace) to avert possible future conflicts and became its permanent secretary. When the organization dissolved during the Franco-Prussian War
The Franco-Prussian War or Franco-German War, often referred to in France as the 1870 War was a conflict between the Second French Empire and the Kingdom of Prussia. Prussia was aided by the North German Confederation, of which it was a member, and the South German states of Baden, Württemberg and...
, Passy helped restructure it as the Société française des amis de la paix,
which in 1889 became the Société d'arbitrage entre les Nations.
In 1881, he won election to the Chamber of Deputies, where he advocated foreign policy changes and labor reform, including legislation on industrial accidents. He won reelection in 1886 but lost in 1889. He also supported a system of international conflict arbitration, which was inspired by Randal Cremer's resolution that established arbitration between the United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...
. In 1888, his efforts led to a meeting between British Parliamentary members and French deputies to discuss the concept of organized arbitration. The following year, the Inter-Parliamentary Union
was established with Passy as one of its presidents. He was a member of the International Bureau of Peace at Bern, Switzerland.
Passy's writings and speeches advocating peace were widely recognized. In 1909, he published Pour la paix,
a work which chronicled the establishment of the various peace and arbitration organizations with which he was associated. From 1881 to 1902, he was professor of political economy in several colleges.
He died on June 12, 1912. A short obituary was published in the New York Times
the next day.
- Mélanges économiques (1857)
- De la Propriété Intellectuelle (1859)
- De l'Enseignement obligatoire (1859)
- Leçons d'économie politique (1860-61)
- La Démocratie et l'Instruction (1864)
- La Guerre et la Paix (1867)
- L'Histoire du Travail (1873)
- Malthus et sa Doctrine (1868)
- La Solidarité du Travail et du Capital (1875)
- L'Histoire et les sciences morales et politiques (1879)
- Le Petit Poucet du 19ième Siècle: George Stephenson (1881)
- Historique du mouvement de la paix (1905)