Auguste Marie François Beernaert and Paul-Henri-Benjamin d'Estournelles de Constant Win the Nobel Peace Prize
Auguste Marie François Beernaert (July 26, 1829 – October 6, 1912) was the Prime Minister of Belgium from October 1884 to March 1894.
Born in Ostend, he was elected to the Chamber of Deputies in 1873, and became Minister of Public Works under Jules Malou, greatly improving the rail, canal and road systems. After his tenure as Prime Minister, he represented Belgium at the Hague conventions of 1899 and 1907. He was also co-winner (with Paul d'Estournelles de Constant) of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1909 for his work at the Permanent Court of Arbitration. He died in Lucerne, Switzerland.
Paul-Henri-Benjamin Baluet d'Estournelles, baron de Constant de Rébecque (22 November 1852 – 15 May 1924), was a French diplomat and politician, advocate of international arbitration and winner of the 1909 Nobel Prize for Peace. He was born at La Flèche (Sarthe) in the Loire valley to an old aristocratic family which traced its genealogy back to the Crusades; the renowned Revolution-era writer and politician Benjamin Constant was his great-uncle. After studying law and Oriental languages at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand in Paris, Estournelles de Constant embarked on a diplomatic career in 1876.
Among Estournelles de Constant's early diplomatic posts were Montenegro, the Ottoman Empire, the Netherlands, Great Britain, and Tunisia; in 1882 he returned to Paris to serve as assistant director of the Levant bureau of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In 1890 he was posted to London as the French chargé d'affaires, where he played a role in averting war with Britain over colonial disputes. Frustrated by the limitations of diplomatic service, he ran for parliament in 1895, securing a seat in the Chamber of Deputies. In 1904 Estournelles de Constant ran for and won a seat in the Senate, where he served until the end of his career in 1924.
As a deputy and senator, Estournelles de Constant concerned himself with colonial issues, consistently opposing Third Republic colonial policy. He advocated the elimination of colonial seats in the French parliament, preferring a policy of establishing protectorates to the traditional republican programme of colonial assimilation. In particular, he violently opposed the establishment of French colonial rule in Madagascar and the Great Powers' dismemberment of China. In domestic affairs, he was concerned particularly with what the terminology of the day called "outrages against morality" (outrages aux bonnes mœurs).
On the other hand, he was a Dreyfusard and argued in favour of placing Émile Zola's remains in the Panthéon for Zola's part in the Dreyfus Affair.
Above all, though, Estournelles de Constant dedicated himself to the cause of improving international relations, and he was a member of the Permanent Court of Arbitration from 1900. He represented France at both Hague Peace Conferences (1898 and 1907), and outlined a vision of a European union.
Estournelles de Constant wrote historical and political works and even dabbled in playwriting. In addition, he was a regular contributor to the newspapers Le Temps, La Revue de Paris, and La Revue des deux mondes. Married to an American, Daisy Sedgwick-Berend, he also travelled extensively in and wrote about the United States.