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How did the Dreyfus Affair affect French politics?

The Dreyfus Affair significantly polarised French politics, leading to the strengthening of the French Third Republic and secularism.

The Dreyfus Affair, which took place from 1894 to 1906, was a political scandal that divided France into Dreyfusards, who believed in the innocence of Captain Alfred Dreyfus, and anti-Dreyfusards, who were convinced of his guilt. This division was not merely about Dreyfus's guilt or innocence, but rather reflected deeper political, social, and religious divisions within French society.

The Dreyfus Affair had a profound impact on French politics. It led to a strengthening of the French Third Republic, which had been established in 1870 but was still struggling to establish its legitimacy. The Affair exposed the deep divisions within French society and the fragility of the Republic, which was threatened by the possibility of a military coup or a monarchist restoration. The Dreyfusards, who were mainly republicans, socialists, and radicals, defended the Republic and its values of liberty, equality, and fraternity against the anti-Dreyfusards, who were mainly monarchists, conservatives, and Catholics. The victory of the Dreyfusards in the Affair helped to consolidate the Republic and to marginalise its opponents.

The Dreyfus Affair also led to a strengthening of secularism in French politics. The anti-Dreyfusards, who were mainly Catholics, used the Affair to attack the Republic and its secular values. They accused the Dreyfusards of being anti-Catholic and of wanting to destroy the Church. The Dreyfusards, in turn, accused the Church of being anti-Republican and of supporting the anti-Dreyfusards. This conflict led to a radicalisation of the Republic's secular policies, culminating in the 1905 law on the separation of Church and State, which established the principle of laïcité, or secularism, in French public life.

Finally, the Dreyfus Affair had a lasting impact on French politics by introducing new political forces and ideas. The Affair saw the emergence of a new form of political activism, with intellectuals like Émile Zola and Georges Clemenceau playing a leading role in the defence of Dreyfus and the Republic. It also saw the rise of anti-Semitism as a political force, with the anti-Drey

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