François Paul Jules Grévy (15 August 1807 – 9 September 1891) was President of France from 1879 to 1887, and one of the leaders of the Opportunist Republican faction. Given that his predecessors were monarchists who tried without success to restore the French monarchy, Grévy is seen as the first real republican President of France.
Born at Mont-sous-Vaudrey in the Jura Mountains, he became an advocate in 1837 distinguishing himself at the Conférence du barreau de Paris, and, having steadily maintained republican principles under the Orléans monarchy, was elected by his native department to the Constituent Assembly of 1848. Foreseeing that Louis Bonaparte would be elected president by the people, he proposed to vest the chief authority in a president of the Council elected and removable by the Assembly, or in other words, to suppress the Presidency of the Republic. After the coup d'état this proposition gained Grévy a reputation for sagacity, and upon his return to public life in 1868 he took a prominent place in the Republican party.
Initiated at "La Constante Amitié" in Arras, his Masonic activity is inseparable from his political action, specially in the struggle for separation of Church and State that marked the beginning of the Third Republic and MacMahon resignation.
After the fall of the Empire he was chosen president of the Assembly on 16 February 1871, and occupied this position until 2 April 1873, when he resigned on account of the opposition of the Right, which blamed him for having called one of its members to order in the session of the previous day. On 8 March 1876 he was elected president of the Chamber of Deputies, a post which he filled with such efficiency that upon the resignation of Marshal MacMahon he seemed to step naturally into the Presidency of the Republic (30 January 1879), and was elected without opposition by the republican parties.