Francois Gaspard LaRouche (1856-1924) was the 15th State Minister of France, serving from June 10th, 1911 to February 4th, 1918. Prior to his service as State Minister, he was a member of Grand Assembly, of which he was President from 1908 to 1911, and also served as Foreign Minister from 1894 to 1899 and the ambassador to the United States between 1887 and 1894.
LaRouche's term as State Minister is known as one of the most influential in French history, not only due to his exercising of control over the military operations of the Colonial Wars and the expansion of the French bureaucracy, but also his assumation of powers to the position and his 1917 "On the Role of a Modern Government," a treatise that heavily influenced the Iron Revolution in 1925. LaRouche was named the 7th most influential French politician in history in a 2006 survey.
Francois Gaspard LaRouche was born on September 19th, 1856 in Bordeaux, the son of Valentine LaRouche, a powerful local Count, and the Countess Helga LaRouche Sasselbein, a transplanted German Jew. Due to his mother's roots in Bavaria and within the Jewish community, LaRouche described his childhood as "a mixture of mainstream, Imperial-Catholic pomp and rural, festive Jewry," one that he felt blessed for due to his experience dealing with multiple cultures and worldviews.
His mother died when he was only ten years old, and his father remarried shortly thereafter with Julia Clauvre, with whom he sired David LaRouche (1867-1940) and Olivia LaRouche (1870-1936). Francois, who went by his middle name of Gaspard, had an oft-contentious relationship with his privileged younger siblings and by the time he was State Minister was no longer on speaking terms with either.
LaRouche attended the Napoleonic College starting in 1873 largely thanks to his father's assumation of a peerage in the Grand Assembly. In 1876 he graduated with a degree in law and practiced with a small law firm in Paris for five years before applying for a post in the Foreign Ministry.
While at the Foreign Ministry, LaRouche met his wife, Annabelle, and they were married in 1883. LaRouche learned English during this time and spent a year and a half in Canada as an attache to Governeur-General Michel de Barclay in Quebec. Emperor Philippe received a glowing recommendation of LaRouche in 1886 and he was granted the post of Ambassador to the United States in 1887 when his predecessor died of the influenza.
Ambassador to the United States and Foreign Ministry
Later Life and Death
After his retirement, LaRouche moved to Dusseldorf, where he had just finished building himself a new house and took up a fondness of sponsoring local racing cars. In the early 1920's, when the automobile racing trend was at an all-time high in France, especially in Germany. In one of the final photographs of LaRouche alive, the former State Minister was seen in 1923 with one of his prize racers, Klaus Striesser, having just won the 1923 Stuttgart Purse, which LaRouche generously gave 95% of to his driver and mechanics.
LaRouche's fondness of racing cars abetted when he fell ill in December of 1923, and although he appeared to have recovered mostly from the ailments, he passed away in his sleep on August 30th, 1924 after having stayed on his personal estate for many months.
LaRouche's final will and testament generously donated his vast private fortune to a number of universities throughout the Empire, as well as a small stipend to Harvard University in the United States.
Legacy and Purported Influence on Iron Revolution
Many have often criticized Gaspard LaRouche for his influence on many of the men behind the Iron Revolution - his time at the State Ministry was the period under which many, including Desmond Aumange, Philippe Nife, Joseph Benoit and most infamously Francois Baptiste were whetting their political appetites, and all four men have cited LaRouche as a major inspiration for their work on centralized government.
Ironically, LaRouche's role as a celebrated figurehead to the Iron Revolution's leaders did not take into account that many of the men - most prominently Aumange and Baptiste - were on the verge of being fired by LaRouche at some point during the 1910's. In private correspondence not declassified until 1960, historians discovered that within his own Ministry, LaRouche was extremely diligent about promotions and appointments. One lengthy 1913 letter from LaRouche's then-Deputy State Minister, Charles Blanc, details Blanc's opinions on two possible options for a promotion, one of whom is a then-unknown Francois Baptiste. Blanc's opinion was that Baptiste was a qualified candidate based on his fundamentals, but too inexperienced to receive the promotion over longer-tenured employees. LaRouche wrote in his notes that he felt Baptiste had the higher upside to become a rising star in the State Ministry, and the promotion was given. Still, notes from later in the decade showed that LaRouche filled out numerous notebooks filled with the pros and cons of keeping certain people around, and that Baptiste, Aumange and Benoit narrowly escaped being dismissed or demoted on numerous occasions.
Still, in his 1938 biography I Am An Imperial, Francois Baptiste named his time at the State Ministry under LaRouche as formative, and said that LaRouche's opinions on a stronger central government and a wider-reaching bureaucracy to more efficiently control the Empire were a major part of his own reforms and policies enacted when he himself became State Minister on two occasions, once on an interim basis. However, most historians argue that Baptiste's policies and the Albertine ideology as a whole would have to have been a severe perversion of LaRouche's philosophies, as LaRouche was also a social liberal and while he appealed to the right wing with his "Musketeer diplomacy" in the Colonial Wars, he was a progressive and his bureaucratic expansion was seen by many conservatives - the same conservatives who instigated the reactionary Iron Revolution - as a threat to their well being and entrenched power structure.