Louis Adolphe Thiers, a French statesman, born in Marseilles, April 16, 1797. He was educated at the lyceum of Marseilles and the law school of Aix, where he practised at the bar from 1818 to 1821. He then followed Mignet to Paris, and wrote for the Constitu-tionnel and other journals. He became a favorite of Laffitte and Talleyrand, and wrote Histoire de la revolution frangaise (10 vols., 1823-'7; English translation with notes by F. Shoberl, 5 vols., London, 1838). In January, 1830, he, Mignet, and Carrel started the National, which promoted the change of dynasty effected by the revolution of the following July. Under Louis Philippe he became an official in the treasury and a member of the chamber of deputies. The ministry of finance was tendered to him, but he recommended Laffitte as its chief, though he virtually acted in that capacity, and retired with him, March 13, 1831. On joining Soult's cabinet, Oct. 11, 1832, as minister of the interior, he procured with Deutz the arrest (Nov. 6) of the duchess de Berry (see Berry), and immediately left the department. This act he had deemed necessary for the pacification of the Vendee at the time when all the military resources were needed for the relief of Antwerp in the interest of Belgian independence.

Resuming office in December as minister of commerce and agriculture, he obtained large appropriations for public works. Early in 1834 he returned to the interior department, and quelled the bloody insurrections at Lyons and Paris. After ministerial combinations which revealed his disagreement with Soult and Mole and his rivalry with Guizot, he finally retained his office under the duke de Broglie, and at the same time (December) took his seat in the French academy. The attempt of Fieschi upon the king's life (July 28, 1835), from which he himself barely escaped, made him support the restrictive press and jury laws, known as the laws of September. He resigned with the other ministers in January, 1836, on the rejection of the bill for the conversion of the rentes, but in February became premier and minister of foreign affairs. On Aug. 25 he retired, chiefly on account of the king's opposition to armed intervention in Spain. His successor Mole in vain tempted him in 1838 with the Russian mission, to get rid of his influence.

He was reinstated as premier March 1, 1840, and proposed the fortification of Paris and extraordinary armaments to prepare for war, in view of the complications arising from Mehemet Ali's conflict with the sultan; but being again baffled by the king's "peace at any price" policy, he resigned, and was succeeded by Guizot, Oct. 29. He now began his Histoire du consulat et de l'empire (20 vols., 1845-'62; English translation by D. F. Campbell, London, 1845-'62), for which he visited England and examined the battle fields in Germany, Italy, and Spain. At the same time, as the recognized leader of the opposition, he advocated enlightened measures of education and progress, and opposed ultramontane schemes and political corruption. He also denounced the right of search, and the excessive complacency toward England in the Pritchard question (see Du Petit-Tiiouars), and in adopting her objections against the incorporation of Texas with the United States, on which occasion he deprecated alienation from the "great American nation, the harbinger of French liberty." Shortly before the outbreak of the revolution of 1848 he made withering attacks upon Louis Philippe's pusillanimity in foreign affairs, and favored political reforms, but not a republic.

Yet when this became an accomplished fact (Feb. 24), he accepted it as a protection against monarchical factions, and in June was elected to the constituent assembly. "When Cavaignac asked for extraordinary powers against the socialists, he was the first to concede them; but subsequently he supported Louis Napoleon for the presidency, and fought a duel with Bixio for repeating a rumor, which he denied, that he had previously disparaged such an election. Elected to the legislative assembly, he was one of the most active leaders of the reactionary majority. In January, 1851, however, after the removal of Changarnier, he raised his warning voice against a new Napoleonic empire. In November he adjured the assembly to adopt Baze's resolution for its military protection, and in vain admonished the radicals that the rejection of this measure threatened the safety of the most truly representative body which France ever had. He was arrested on the coup d'etat of Dec. 2, imprisoned till Jan. 9, and banished till Aug. 7, 1852. He kept aloof from politics until the apparent relaxation of the autocratic regime encouraged him in 1863 to solicit the suffrages of Paris liberals, who returned him (May 31), despite governmental opposition.

In 1865 he referred in his great speech on the budget to the extravagant expenditures for the Italian war, the Mexican expedition, and Haussmann's stupendous enterprises. In 1866 and 1867 he exposed the fatal blunders of the emperor in permitting the aggrandizement of Prussia and the unification of Italy, to the detriment of the grandeur of France. In 1870 he opposed the declaration of war against Prussia, maintaining that the government, being unprepared, was rushing to a certain defeat; and his influence rose with the verification of his predictions. He urged the vigorous defence of Paris, and visited the principal foreign courts to secure their influence in favor of an armistice. On his return in October, he had several interviews with Bismarck, but without results excepting that his efforts increased his popularity and the universal confidence in his statesmanship. On Feb. 8, 1871, he was elected to the assembly in 26 departments, and selected that of Seine-Inferieure. On Feb. 17 he was chosen by the assembly as chief of the executive. His great measures were the immediate negotiation of the preliminary treaty of peace, his crushing of the commune, and the wonderfully successful national loan for paying the German indemnity and the redemption of the territory.

On Aug. 31 his term of office was prolonged by the assembly for three years, with the title of president of the republic. He was always a protectionist, and on the rejection of the tariff bill he resigned (Jan. 20,1872); but he was finally induced to remain, and his subsequent intention to withdraw was arrested (Nov. 29) by the appointment of a committee for regulating his relations with the assembly. In foreign affairs he favored peace and non-intervention. After he had succeeded in substituting Verdun for Belfort as a pledge in German hands, he concluded in March, 1873, a new convention providing for the whole indemnity and for the final withdrawal of the remaining German troops in September, for which he received the thanks of the legislature as one "who deserved well of his country." But on May 24 he was baffled in his attempt to make the republic permanent by legislative enactment, and therefore resigned, and was succeeded by MacMahon. He has ever since upheld the republican form of government, which he advocated with great force at Arca-chon, Oct. 17,1875. On Jan. 30, 1876, he was elected to the new senate for Belfort, and on Feb. 20 to the assembly for Paris; and in March he took his seat in the latter body. - His literary fame rests upon his historical works.

His other publications include Histoire de Law (1826; new ed., 1858; English translation by F. S. Fiske, New York, 1859); Le monarchic de 1830 (1831); Be la propriety (1848); and l'Homme et la matiere (1875 et seq.). Lately he has visited Italy to gather additional materials for a long projected history of art, and has also been engaged upon his memoirs. As a speaker his vivacity, parliamentary experience, and perfect mastery of the questions discussed make him exceedingly effective. His house in the place St. Georges, destroyed under the commune, has been restored by the government, and is still the centre of the most influential society.