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Dreyfus Affair Essay

Fundamental Advice On Composing A Synthesis Essay On The Dreyfus Affair


When you write a synthesis essay, you are forced to see the bigger picture. It is not enough to focus on a few ideas that you love and ignore the rest. You have to find good information about your subject and create connections between different facts, evidence or perspectives. It seems complicated? Don’t worry. You just have to know what ideas to mention and how to find the meaning behind them. This is fundamental advice to help you:

  • Antisemitism.
  • You can’t discuss about this scandal without including this issue. It is still present in many places around the globe, but in the past people did not pay so much attention to it. Therefore, the laws were rarely applied and it was common to discriminate semitic people based solely on their origins. Do you think that Dreyfus affair is a clear proof of antisemitism? Try out this agency if you are not sure that you can handle this topic.
  • Discuss about the life of Alfred Dreyfus.
  • You will not do this because he is the center of the scandal, but to prove how unfair his conviction was. In his childhood or early years, he was an absolute normal person, and later on he became one of the most honest and dedicated captains in France. However, the simple fact that he had other origins made him the primary suspect in an investigation.
  • Why was this a political scandal in France?
  • For the first time, the public opinion had a great impact on the result of an investigation. The government did not want to admit that Alfred was innocent, even if they discover who was the actual person that revealed secret information. Even more, they created fake documents and they tried to accuse him of other things, but they could not change the opinion of the public.
  • What is the connection between antisemitism and his second sentence?
  • After five years in jail, Alfred was brought back to France for trial. He was found guilty based on fake evidence and he was sentenced to 10 years in jail. However, he was set free. As strange as this might seem, this was because the government could not accept that a Jewish man is innocent, but they knew that they did not have enough evidence to actually keep him in jail. They wanted to avoid a real disgrace, so they tried to find a middle way that will satisfy the officials and the public at the same time.

The Dreyfus case demonstrated the anti-Semitism permeating France’s military and, because many praised the ruling, in France in general. Interest in the case lapsed until 1896, when evidence was disclosed that implicated French Major Ferdinand Esterhazy as the guilty party. The army attempted to suppress this information, but a national uproar ensued, and the military had no choice but to put Esterhazy on trial. A court-martial was held in January 1898, and Esterhazy was acquitted within an hour.

In response, the French novelist Émile Zola published an open letter entitled “J’Accuse” on the front page of the Aurore, which accused the judges of being under the thumb of the military. By the evening, 200,000 copies had been sold. One month later, Zola was sentenced to jail for libel but managed to escape to England. Meanwhile, out of the scandal a perilous national division was born, in which nationalists and members of the Catholic Church supported the military, while republicans, socialists, and advocates of religious freedom lined up to defend Dreyfus.

In 1898, Major Hubert Henry, discoverer of the original letter attributed to Dreyfus, admitted that he had forged much of the evidence against Dreyfus and then Henry committed suicide. Soon afterward, Esterhazy fled the country. The military was forced to order a new court-martial for Dreyfus. In 1899, he was found guilty in another show trial and sentenced to 10 years in prison. However, a new French administration pardoned him, and in 1906 the supreme court of appeals overturned his conviction. The debacle of the Dreyfus affair brought about greater liberalization in France, a reduction in the power of the military, and a formal separation of church and state.