Jules Barthélemy Saint-Hilaire (1805-1895), French philosopher and statesman, was born at Paris on the 19th of August 1805. In his early years he was an active political journalist, and from 1826 to 1830 opposed the reactionary policy of the king in Le Globe. At the revolution of 1830 he signed the protestation of the journalists on the 28th of July 1830. After 1830 he contributed to different newspapers - Le Constitutionnel, Le National and the Courrier français - until 1833, when he gave up politics in order to devote himself to the history of ancient philosophy, undertaking a translation of Aristotle, which occupied him the greater part of his life (1837-1892). The reputation which he gained from this work won for him the chair of ancient philosophy at the Collège de France (1838) and a seat at the Academy of Moral and Political Science (1839). After the revolution of 1848 he was elected as a republican deputy; but was obliged to withdraw after the coup d'état of Louis Napoleon. In 1855 he went as member of the international commission to Egypt to report on the possibility of the proposed Suez canal, and by the articles which he wrote he contributed largely to making the project popular in France. Elected deputy again in 1869, he joined the opposition to the Empire, and in 1871 bent all his efforts to the election of Thiers as president of the republic, acting afterwards as his secretary.
Appointed senator for life in 1875, he took his place among the moderate republicans, and from September 1880 to November 1881 was minister of foreign affairs in the cabinet of Jules Ferry. The most important event of his administration was the annexation of Tunis under the form of a French protectorate, which he actively promoted. He died on the 24th of November 1895. His principal works, besides the translation of Aristotle and a number of studies connected with the same subject, are Des Védas (1854), Du Bouddhisme (1856) and Mahomet et le Coran (1865).