He became premier and minister of finance on the 31st of May 1887, with the support of the moderate republican groups, the Radicals holding aloof in support of General Boulanger, who began a violent agitation against the government.
In the following year he entered the chamber, being elected deputy for the Marne, in opposition to General Boulanger, and joined the radical left.
Violently attacked by the Boulangist organs, L'Intransigeant and La France, he won a suit against them for libel, and in 1889 he contested the 18th arrondissement of Paris with General Boulanger, who obtained a majority of over 2000 votes, but was declared ineligible.
He returned to power next year, and decided to bring Boulanger and his chief supporters before the High Court, but the general's flight effectively settled the question.
GEORGE ERNEST JEAN MARIE BOULANGER (1837-1891), French general, was born at Rennes on the 29th of April 1837.
Freycinet was brought into power by the support of the Radical leader, Boulanger was given the post of war minister.
By introducing genuine reforms for the benefit of officers and common soldiers alike, and by laying himself out for popularity in the most pronounced fashion - notably by his fire-eating attitude towards Germany in April 1887 in connexion with the Schnaebele frontier incident - Boulanger came to be accepted by the mob as the man destined to give France her revenge for the disasters of 1870, and to be used simultaneously as a tool by all the anti-Republican intriguers.
His action with regard to the royal princes has already been referred to, but it should be added that Boulanger was taunted in the Senate with his ingratitude to the duc d'Aumale, and denied that he had ever used the words alleged.
Boulanger fought a bloodless duel with the baron de Lareinty over this affair, but it had no effect at the moment in dimming his popularity, and on M.
Clemenceau, however, had by this time abandoned his patronage of Boulanger, who was becoming so inconveniently prominent that, in May 1887, M.
Rouvier, who next formed a cabinet, declined to take him as a colleague, and Boulanger was sent to ClermontFerrand to command an army corps.
His name was the theme of the popular song of the moment - "C'est Boulanger qu'il nous faut"; the general and his black horse became the idol of the Parisian populace; and he was urged to play the part of a plebiscitary candidate for the presidency.
He had now become an open menace to the parliamentary Republic. Had Boulanger immediately placed himself at the head of a revolt he might at this moment have effected the coup d'etat which the intriguers had worked for, and might not improbably have made himself master of France; but the favourable opportunity passed.
Boulanger himself, having been tried and condemned in absentia for treason, in October 1889 went to live in Jersey, but nobody now paid much attention to his doings.
See also the article FRANCE: History; and Verly, Le General Boulanger et la conspiration monarchique (Paris, 1893).
The fall of Boulanger removed the immediate danger from France, but for the rest of the year the relations with Russia caused serious apprehensions.
He then became an adherent of the revisionist policy of General Boulanger and a member of the League of Patriots.
Freycinet in power in 1886, and was responsible for the inclusion of General Boulanger in the Freycinet cabinet as war minister.
Heated debates in the chamber culminated on the 13th of July in a duel between Floquet and Boulanger in which the latter was wounded.
For some days Goblet took no definite decision, but left Flourens, who stood for peace, to fight it out with General Boulanger, then minister of war, who was for the despatch of an ultimatum.
President Carnot's ostensible part during this agitation was mainly confined to augmenting his popularity by well-timed appearances on public occasions, which gained credit for the presidency and the republic. When early in 1889, Boulanger was finally driven into exile, it fell to President Carnot's lot to appear at the head of the state on two occasions of especial interest, the celebration of the centenary of 1789 and the opening of the Paris Exhibition of that year.