This booklet is an introduction to French government and politics, part of a series organized as a comparative study of world governments today. It sketches the historical background of the French nation and people and then proceeds to an analysis of formal institutions and the functions of government in all areas.
The risks of writing on the French scene are well known to all professionals in the field. Even as this volume was being prepared for the printer, reasonable men might have doubted that its subject, de Gaulle's Republic, would survive through the processes of printing, binding, and distribution. The author found that it was difficult, even in the face of this possibility, to separate man from institution, not to include the imposing figure of the General on almost every page. Nevertheless, he is hopeful that some of the seemingly ineradicable elements of French political life, which even the Fifth Republic is likely to leave unchanged, come clear. He is equally hopeful that the uniqueness -- and hence possibly the brittleness -- of the Fifth Republic's political mores have been so exposed as to offer a reader living perhaps in the presence of the Sixth Republic an interesting historical commentary.
My thanks for help in the preparation of this volume must first go to my readers, principally Edgar Furniss of Princeton University and Val Lorwin of the University of Oregon. They share the credit for whatever merits are found in these pages; the author is entirely responsible, however, for opinions expressed, facts presented, and interpretations attempted. My thanks also go to my typists, especially Mrs. Dorothy James and Miss Mary Dolores LePore, and to Drex, Dan, and Peter, whose interest never failed.
E. D. G., JR.
Alexandria, Virginia, June, 1961
Copyright © 1961 by Thomas Y. Crowell Company. All rights reserved. Manufactured in the United States of America by The Colonial Press Inc. Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 61-15525. Series design by Joan Wall. First printing, August, 1961. Second printing, March, 1962.