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France and Its Empire Since 1870



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Oxford University Press
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  • France and Its Empire Since 1870
    France and Its Empire Since 1870
  • France and Its Empire Since 1870
    France and Its Empire Since 1870


Providing an up-to-date synthesis of the history of an extraordinary nation--one that has been shrouded in myths, many of its own making--France and Its Empire Since 1870 seeks both to understand these myths and to uncover the complicated and often contradictory realities that underpin them. It situates modern French history in transnational and global contexts and also integrates the themes of imperialism and immigration into the traditional narrative.

Authors Alice L. Conklin, Sarah Fishman, and Robert Zaretsky begin with the premise that while France and the U.S. are sister republics, they also exhibit profound differences that are as compelling as their apparent similarities. The authors frame the book around the contested emergence of the French Republic--a form of government that finally appears to have a permanent status in France--but whose birth pangs were much more protracted than those of the American Republic. Presenting a lively and coherent narrative of the major developments in France's tumultuous history since 1870, the authors organize the chapters around the country's many turning points and confrontations. They also offer detailed analyses of politics, society, and culture, considering the diverse viewpoints of men and women from every background including the working class and the bourgeoisie, immigrants, Catholics, Jews and Muslims, Bretons and Algerians, rebellious youth, and gays and lesbians.

Author Biography

Alice L. Conklin is Professor of History at the Ohio State University.

Sarah Fishman is Professor of History and Associate Dean for undergraduate studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Houston.

Robert Zaretsky is Professor of French History at the University of Houston.

Table of Contents

Illustrations and Maps
About the Authors
Map of the French Empire in 1939
Map of the Francophone World in 2006

Chapter 1: The Embattled Republican Tradition, 1792-1870

France's Old Regime
Causes of the French Revolution
The Birth of a Republic (1789-1793)
France's First Republic (1793-1804)
Napoleon's Empire (1804-1815)
Legacies of the 1789 Revolution
The Bourbons Restored (1815-1830)
1830 Revolution to July Monarchy (1830-1848)
1848 Revolution and the Second Republic (1848-1852)
Napoleon III and the Second Empire (1852-1870)
Society and Economy Under the Second Empire
Napoleon III and the City of Paris
A Failed Liberalization
The Empire and Europe

Chapter 2: L'Année Terrible, 1870-71

The Franco-Prussian War
The Fall of the Empire
From One Siege to Another
The Paris Commune
The Fall of the Commune
May 1871

Chapter 3: The Return of the Republic, 1871-1885

The Early Republic
Constitutional Laws and Crisis
The Republic Triumphant
The Republic and Women's Rights
Cult of the Public
The Republic Founds a New Empire
The Republic and the Provinces
The Working Class

Chapter 4: The Imperial Republic, 1885-1894

Demographic and Economic Upheavals
Boulanger's Rise and Fall
Cultural Transformations
Church vs. Republic? Fears of Degeneracy
Civilizing Overseas
The Labor Movement and Socialism

Chapter 5: The Republic Divided, 1894-1914

The Dreyfus Affair
The "Affair"
The Dénouement
The Public Intellectual
State and Church Go Their Separate Ways
New Crises
News of Cycles, Cycles of News
A Dangerous Diplomacy
Preparing for War

Chapter 6: The Republic at War, 1914-1919

1914: Mass Mobilization
Taking the Offensive 1915-1916
The Soldier's War 31
The Civilian's War: Occupied Zones and the Homefront
Private Life, Censorship, and Consent
1917: Breaking Point
1918-1919: War's End
Making Peace

Chapter 7: The Deceptive Peace, 1919-1929

1919: Fears of Revolution and a Shift to the Right
Foreign Policy in the 1920s
Domestic Politics: Realignment on the Left
The Center-Right: Radicals and Conservatives
Economic Modernization
Women's Roles: The Advent of Modernity?
France and its Empire
A New Cosmopolitanism?
Challenges to the Republic
Calls for Renewal

Chapter 8: The Republic in Peril, 1929-1939

1932-1934: Radicals in Power
The Riots of February 6, 1934
1934-1936: Conservatives in Power and Radicalization of the Right
The Formation of the Popular Front
The Road to Victory
May-August 1936: Reform
Economic and Foreign Policy
Division and Failure
The Politicization of Intellectuals
Republican Reaction: 1938
The Path to War

Chapter 9: The Dark Years, 1939-1945

From Phony War to the Battle of France
Exodus and Armistice
Vichy: Revenge of the Minorities
The National Revolution
Daily Life in France under the Occupation
Vichy and the Empire
Turning Point: 1942
Civil War: Resistance, Liberation, and the Purge
Turning the Page: The Myth of the Gaullist Resistance

Chapter 10: Reconstruction at Home and Overseas, 1945-1958

The Provisional Government in Charge
The New Political Landscape
The Birth of the Fourth Republic and the French Union
Politics as Usual? The Evolution of the Fourth Republic
The Great Divide Between Intellectuals
Launching an Economic Miracle
Welfare, Repopulation, and Immigration
Women's Lives and Changing Gender Norms
Reimagining Europe: Franco-German Cooperation
The Fourth Republic Refuses Decolonization
The Algerian Quagmire

Chapter 11: De Gaulle Founds a New Republic, 1958-1969

The Republic Transformed
The Algerian War
From Empire to Neo-Colony
The Politics of Grandeur
Marrying the Century
The Affluent Society
Explosion: May 1968
Youth, Intellectuals, and Culture under the Fifth Republic

Chapter 12: A New France in a New Europe, 1969-1981

Reconfiguration on the Right
Old and New Left
Foreign Policy
Economic Policy
The Secularization of French Society
Making France More Egalitarian: The Reform of Education
Media and the Free Market of Ideas
The Politics of Memory: De Gaulle's Resistance Myth Questioned
The Revival of Feminism
Sexual Minorities Demand Rights
Immigrants' Place in the Nation

Chapter 13: The Republic of the Center, 1981-1995

Socialism's Last Hurrah
Culture from Above
Culture from Below
Immigration and Frenchness
The Reinvention of "La Pause"
Foreign Policy
Odd Bedfellows: The Evolution of Cohabitation
Mitterrand's Second Term
The Furor Over the Foulard
The Paradoxes of Parity
A Second Act for the Socialists
France and the World
The Autumn of the Patriarch

Chapter 14: France since 1995

From "Social Fracture" to "Social Demand"
A Nation in Search of a Definition
The Left(s) Strike Back
Abroad at Home
Intellectuals: The Reason for the Clerks?
The Republic in Danger
Freedom Fries
France Today

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