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France Lecture 1 - PLSC 2013 Lecture Notes Comparative...

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PLSC 2013: Lecture Notes Comparative Politics France’ •In’a’fundamental’sense,’comparative’politics’is’the’comparative’study’of’political’ regimes’ •The’term’ regime ’is’the’French’word’for:’ rule’or’order’and’refers’to’the’norms’and’ rules’that’govern’politics’ These’norms’and’rules’are’institutionalized—often’embodied’in’a’constitution—but’ can’and’do’change’as’a’result’of’dramatic’social’events’or’national’crises’ •Why’Study’this’Case?’The’French’case’is’a’compelling’study’of’regimes…’ During’this’period,’France’has’been’governed’by’no’less’than…’ •’3 ’monarchies’ •’2 ’empires’ •’5’ republics’ •’1’ Fascist’regime’ •’2’ provisional’governments’ •And,’??? ’separate’constitutions!’ France’emerged’by’???, not’Evolution!’ •The’most’dramatic’transition’was’the’French’Revolution’(1789–1799)’ •French’citizens’overthrew’the’ ancien régime (the’European’"old’order"’of’absolute’ monarchy’buttressed’by’religious’authority)’ •’Replacing’it’(briefly)’with’a’democratic’republic’guided’by’the’Declaration’of’the’ Rights’of’Man’and’of’the’Citizen.’ •France’can’claim’title’to’the’birthplace’of’modern’democracy’in’Europe,’but’ democracy’has’not’come’easily’ •The’French’Revolution’embraced’a’set’of’universal’rights’for’all’people’and’ redefined’French’subjects’as’citizens’(males’only) •But’French’revolutionaries’concluded’that’the’state’had’to’be’strong’enough’to’ destroy’the’old’regime,’impose’the’new,’and’forge’a’strong’national’identity’ •French’republicanism’established’a’short-lived’revolutionary’dictatorship,’followed’ by’Napoléon’Bonaparte±s’ coup d’état ’:’a’forceful’and’sudden’over’through’of’ government.’ •Over’the’next’seven’decades,’French’reactionaries’battled’radicals,’and’France’ oscillated’between’empires,’monarchies,’and’republics’(with’two’more’revolutions!)’ •Not’until’the’present’ Fifth Republic (with’two’more’revolutions )’was’France’ seemingly’able’to’break’the’alternating’cycle’of’stern’authoritarian’rule’and’chaotic’ and’dysfunctional,’democracy’
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Major Geographic and Demographic Features •France’is’a’large’country—roughly’the’size’of’Texas .’ •By’European’standards,’it’is’substantial,’twice’the’area’of’Great’Britain’and’in’ Europe’second’in’size’only’to’Russia.’ •It’seems’even’larger’because’of’its’span’across’much’of’Western’Europe’
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