The Government of the French Republic

The Government of the French Republic

The Government of the French Republic

The Government of the French Republic

Excerpt

In these turbulent times, when the foundations of constitutional democracy are everywhere undergoing terrific strain, an understanding of the struggle of the French people to adjust their democratic institutions to unprecedented conditions, assumes a special importance. Today the French Republic remains the only major State (outside the Anglo-Saxon group) in which the flame of political liberty is still aglow; and even in France the forces beating against the armor of free government, from within and without, leave cause for doubt as to its fate.

The purpose of this little volume is to present a unified picture of the present-day French State as a going concern. Discarding the traditional "structural" approach, I have attempted to develop realistically what may be called the "functional" cycle of political action--from policy-formation through administration to control. This method gave rise to problems of selection and emphasis that were not easy to decide--such as, for example, the exclusion of any systematic account of 19th century French political evolution, or of local government, in favor of two chapters on the social and economic services of government. Political histories of France are legion, but so far as I am aware no succinct description of the range and content of French étatisme is available in English. There is, I think, sufficient analogy between recent French and American efforts to effect a "companionate marriage" between politics and economics to warrant such an innovation in a survey intended mainly for American students of comparative government.

Even though space permitted, my sense of obligation to innumerable French friends, for invaluable aid and insight over long years, could not be adequately expressed in cold type. If what I have written bears any imprint of sympathetic understanding, it is due to their forbearance with the persis-

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