Boulanger, General Georges-Ernest
(1837–1891)
   French soldier and failed political adventurer, Georges-Ernest Boulanger served in Algeria, Cochin China, and in the Franco-Prussian War. He entered politics in 1884. Initially a protégé of the Radical Party under Georges Clemençeau, he was made War Minister in 1886, a post in which he introduced many needed reforms to the French military. When the government fell, Boulanger was relegated to a provincial command and quickly became unhinged. Frantic to recover his position, he now flirted with anti-Republican forces - ranging from disenchanted Radicals to Bonapartistes and royalists - that sought a more authoritarian system. He agitated for the return of Alsace-Lorraine and campaigned for a revision of the constitution. By 1889, he was momentarily so popular that many feared he would attempt a coup. Threatened with arrest, however, Boulanger fled the country and was later condemned in absentia for treason. He lived for two years in Belgian exile before shooting himself over the grave of his mistress in 1891.
   FURTHER READING:
    Seager, Frederic H. The Boulanger Affair. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1969.
   CARL CAVANAGH HODGE

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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