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The State and its employees: the issue of legal status in political debates during the Third Republic (1870-1940).

Additional Information
L'État face à ses agents : la question statutaire dans le débat politique sous la iiie République (1870-1940).
History of administration
Legal status
Public service
Third Republic
Fonction public
Histoire de l'administration
Statutlégal iiie Républiqueff
Language of Keywords: English; French
921190 Other General Government Support
The issue of civil service status has occupied French political discussion since the initial development of French administrative bureaucracy during the 19th century. In the absence of any general legal rules, successive governments challenged the relevance of an approach aimed at establishing a specific legal status for their public officials. The gradual emergence of the French welfare state, during the Third Republic for the most part, further heightened the importance of this issue. At the heart of concerns about the meaning and nature of state action, this strategic question involved contradictory requirements. On the one hand, those who governed in a context of rising public spending were faced with growing needs for efficiency; while, on the other hand, there were increasing corporatist and trade union demands for greater legal security. The compromise idea of a specific legal status for public employees came up against growing hostility from different State "bodies". Largely inherited from Napoleonic administrative conceptions which shaped administration into a compliant tool for politicians, these contradictions prevented the formation of a parliamentary majority until the end of the Third Republic despite numerous attempts. It was therefore only after the consensus of the resistance movement, following the Liberation, that this constantly recurring issue of French political life was finally dealt with by a law passed on 19 October 1946. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
La problématique du statut de la fonction publique occupe l'espace politique français depuis le développement d'une bureaucratie administrative au xixe siècle. Face à l'absence de règles juridiques générales, tous les régimes successifs vont ainsi s'interroger sur la pertinence d'une démarche visant à fixer un statut légal à leurs agents publics. L'émergence progressive d'un Étatprovidence, essentiellement sous la iiie République, renforce encore ces interrogations. Au coeur despréoccupations sur le sens et la nature de l'action de l'État, cette question stratégique conjugue cependant des exigences contradictoires. D'un côté, un besoin croissant d'efficacité pour les gouvernants face à la hausse des dépenses publiques ; et, de l'autre, les revendications corporatistes puis syndicales d'agents aspirant à plus de sécurité juridique. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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1Maître de conférences (03) HDR - Université de Poitiers Assesseur à la pédagogie IPAG-CIMP - Institut d'Histoire du Droit (EA 3320)