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Gambetta, Leon

French statesman, born at Cahors on April 2, 1838, the son of a Genoese grocer and a Frenchwoman. Studied for the law at Paris and although hindered by the accidental loss of an eye, his energy won for him prominence. Opposing the rupture with Germany in 1870, he patriotically gave every aid to France during the war, escaped in a balloon from the besieged Paris, raised another army, fighting to the finish. He founded the influential journal, La Rpublique franaise, succeeded in the adoption of a new constitution, massed an effective opposition to the restoration of the Pope's temporal power, became memorable as president of the Chamber of Deputies, formed a ministry, sought to establish friendly relations between France and former foes, and was ever powerful, progressive, and persevering in public service. His career was cut short at the age of forty-four by the accidental discharge of a revolver in his home at Ville d'Avray near Sevres on December 31, 1882. He was initiated in a Masonic Lodge at Bordeaux and on July 8,1875, with Emile Littr and Jules Ferry affiliated with the Lodge La Clemente Amitie at Paris.

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