The Government of France

By Jean Blondel; E. Godfrey Drexel Jr. | Go to book overview

EDITOR'S FOREWORD

In our time the study of comparative government constitutes one of many fields or specialities in political science. But it is worth recalling that the most distinguished political scientists of the ancient world would have had difficulty recognizing the present-day distinction between the study of comparative government and study in other subject areas of the discipline. Think of Plato, for example, whose works abound in references to the political systems of his own and earlier days. Or consider Aristotle, whose Politics and related writings were based on an examination of more than one hundred constitutions. Twenty centuries after Aristotle the comparative emphasis continued strong in the work of Montesquieu and Rousseau, among others. In the nineteenth century the comparative tradition entered upon a period of decline, but there are signs that the merits of comparative political analysis are once more gaining recognition. At many colleges and universities, the introductory course in political science is no longer focused exclusively on American government. The comparative approach--in politics, in law, in administration--is becoming increasingly important in the political science curriculum.

This book, one of a series, is designed to reflect that approach without, however, marking a sharp departure from the substance and method of most comparative government courses. Thus most of the books in the series deal with one national government. Several volumes, however, deal with more than one government, and the approach of the entire series is distinctly comparative in at least two senses. In the first place, almost all of the books include material descriptive of other political systems, especially that of the United States. In addition, the books follow a common outline, so far as possible, that is designed to promote comparative treatment. Of course, there is nothing to keep the instructor or student from treating a particular governmental system in isolation, if he chooses to do so. On the other hand, his lectures on

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The Government of France
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • EDITOR'S FOREWORD v
  • Preface vii
  • Contents ix
  • I - The French Republican Tradition 1
  • Introduction 1
  • 2 - The Background of the Social Order 11
  • 3 - The Constitution 27
  • 4 - The Executive 41
  • Conclusion 54
  • 5 - The Legislature 56
  • Conclusion 76
  • 6: Political Parties 79
  • 7 - The Administration, the Judiciary, and Local Government 116
  • Conclusion 135
  • 8 - Government, Groups, and Social and Economic Policy 137
  • Conclusion 158
  • 9 - From Union to Community and Beyond 160
  • 10 - Foreign Policy 174
  • II - Problems of the Future 188
  • The French Constitution 194
  • Suggestions for Further Reading 217
  • Index 220
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