Henri Druey

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Henri Druey (1850)

Daniel-Henri Druey (born April 12, 1799 in Faoug ; † March 29, 1855 in Bern , entitled to live in Faoug; mainly called Henri Druey ) was a Swiss lawyer , philosopher and politician . From 1831 he was one of the leading politicians in the canton of Vaud , in 1848 he was elected as one of the first federal councilors of the Swiss federal state. Druey was a representative of the radical-liberal parliamentary group (today's FDP ) and is considered the "father" of the Swiss Federal Constitution .


Study and job

He was the son of the landlord Jean-Daniel Druey and Suzanne-Catherine Langel and came from the Faoug community on Lake Murten . Druey studied law at the Academy in Lausanne . After 1820, the state exam had passed, he moved to Berlin and studied at the Humboldt University philosophy under Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel . Further stations were the universities in Tübingen and Heidelberg . In 1821 he joined the Tübingen Burschenverein and in 1822 the Old Heidelberg Burschenschaft . He completed his training in Paris , where he met personalities such as François-René de Chateaubriand and Benjamin Constant . After a stay in London , Druey returned to Lausanne in 1826 and completed an internship there, in 1828 he was admitted to the bar, opened a law firm in Moudon and was elected to the Grand conseil , the Cantonal Parliament of Vaud. From 1830 he worked as an appeal judge; in the same year he married Caroline Burnand, the couple remained childless.

Canton politics

Shaped by Hegelian thinking, Druey, despite his liberal attitude, did not consider it appropriate to fight against the conservative cantonal government of Jules Muret . He was convinced that the majority of the population was behind the government and that the liberal movement was not yet representative. For this reason, he did not participate in the coup d'état of December 18, 1830, when the Liberals around Charles Monnard seized power. However, Druey soon realized that the change was really wanted by the majority and agreed to be elected to the Council of State (Conseil d'état) . After the election, he joined the radicals, the left wing of the liberal movement, and in 1832 represented the canton of Vaud as a delegate to the parliament .

In the moderately liberal cantonal government, Druey's demands - stronger centralized institutions and the revision of the federal treaty of 1815 - met with rejection, so that in 1833 his government colleagues excluded him from the daily statute for five years. Nonetheless, she used him as a mediator in the conflict over the separation of the Basel cantons . Together with his friend Ignaz Paul Vital Troxler from Lucerne , Druey founded the Swiss National Association, which existed from 1835 to 1839. From 1836 he headed the newspaper Nouvelliste vaudois , through which he spread his call for individual freedoms. Although very religious himself, he advocated a strict separation between state and church . With the church law of 1839, which he significantly influenced, this goal could be achieved. He was also involved in legislation in the areas of education, road construction and jurisdiction. With his concern to take direct democracy or the right to work into account when revising the cantonal constitution in 1845, however, he was unsuccessful. He also earned the reputation of being a socialist or even a communist, as he advocated, among other things, a progressive income tax and the conversion of parsonages into welfare institutions.

After the canton of Lucerne appointed Jesuits to secondary schools in 1844 , a petition signed by 30,000 people demanded that they be expelled. With reference to the autonomy of the cantons, the majority of the cantonal government in Vaud refused to adopt coercive measures. Together with Louis-Henri Delarageaz , Druey then founded the radical Association patriotique , which overthrew the government on February 14, 1845 and then drafted a new cantonal constitution. Druey was now the undisputed leader of the cantonal government. From a position of strength, he forced to resign all those pastors who had refused to read a proclamation in favor of the constitution from the pulpit.

Federal politics

After the victory of the radical-liberal cantons in the Sonderbund War , Druey was elected a member of the commission for the revision of the federal treaty at the end of 1847. As a reporter in French, he played an important role in the drafting of the Federal Constitution . Many of his ideas for a federal state were taken into account. Although he would have preferred a one-chamber parliament, he accepted the two-chamber system , which was ultimately implemented on the model of the United States Constitution .

Since he was convinced that he had achieved his goals with the new federal constitution, Druey wanted to withdraw from federal politics. He also expressed concern that the radical regime in Vaud was by no means secure. As a result, he did not run for the National Council and refused to accept his election to the Council of States by the cantonal parliament. Several times he emphasized his reluctance to become politically active in the federal capital of Bern , but then allowed himself to be persuaded. He was elected the third member of the Federal Council on November 16, 1848 . He received 76 of 132 votes cast in the first ballot (18 votes were for Jakob Robert Steiger and 38 for various other people).

Federal Council

Druey took over the Justice and Police Department and was also Vice President in his first year in office. As Minister of Justice, he had to deal primarily with the problem of the thousands of refugees who had come to Switzerland after the failed liberal revolutions . Although he ordered the expulsion of several revolutionaries such as Johann Philipp Becker , Karl Heinzen and Giuseppe Mazzini , he was unable to enforce this measure because the refugee system was exclusively a matter for the cantonal police authorities and the persons mentioned were responsible for the protection of individual cantonal governments (above all Geneva and Vaud ) enjoyed. The situation escalated after the suppression of the Baden Revolution , especially as the presence of the refugees severely affected relations with Prussia and Austria . At Druey's suggestion, the Federal Council decided on July 16, 1849 to expel the leading refugees, whereupon both chambers of parliament gave their consent.

In 1850, Druey was Federal President and, as was customary at the time, headed the Political Department (Foreign Ministry). In doing so, he demonstrated diplomatic skill towards the major European powers. For example, he fought off Prussia's attempt to link the loss of the canton of Neuchâtel with the refugee issue. He was also able to conclude a trade and settlement agreement with the USA . In 1851 Druey headed the finance department and implemented the introduction of the Swiss franc prepared by Josef Munzinger . He ran for the then usual elections of compliments in 1851 and 1854 in the constituency of Vaud-North .

In 1852 Druey headed the Justice and Police Department a second time and had to deal with the long-term consequences of the Sonderbund War. The entire war guilt was placed on the defeated cantons. Now they demanded that they be released from the remaining debt. Together with Ulrich Ochsenbein , Druey resisted this request. He did not do this for financial reasons, rather it was about the principle: Only if the sanction is enforced to the end can one make an example. Druey and Ochsenbein did not prevail with their stance and were outvoted by the other five federal councilors. In 1853, Druey took over the finance department again, which allowed him to cut back a little. His refusal to revoke the Ohmgeld was controversial and met with incomprehension, especially in his home canton. Two weeks before his 56th birthday, Druey died of a stroke at work.


Web links

Commons : Henri Druey  - Collection of Images, Videos and Audio Files

Individual evidence

  1. a b Meuwly, Steiner: Das Bundesratslexikon. P. 44.
  2. ^ Helge Dvorak: Biographical Lexicon of the German Burschenschaft . Volume I: Politicians , Part A – E. Winter, Heidelberg 1996, ISBN 3-8253-0339-X , p. 222 .
  3. ^ Meuwly, Steiner: Das Bundesratslexikon. Pp. 44-45.
  4. ^ A b c Meuwly, Steiner: Das Bundesratslexikon. P. 45.
  5. ^ Meuwly, Steiner: Das Bundesratslexikon. Pp. 45-46.
  6. ^ Meuwly, Steiner: Das Bundesratslexikon. Pp. 46-47.
  7. ^ Meuwly, Steiner: Das Bundesratslexikon. Pp. 47-48.
  8. ^ Meuwly, Steiner: Das Bundesratslexikon. Pp. 48-49.
predecessor Office successor
- Member of the Swiss Federal Council
Constant Fornerod