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Despite various attempts at reform, France remains the most centralized state in Europe. The organization of the country around the Parisian center was originally a consequence of the French Revolution, which gave birth to the departmental regions. These regions have retained an oppositional relationship towards the metropolitan center. In 1875, an enduring republic was formed despite the competing claims of the Comte de Chambord and the Orleanists. This republic owed its founding largely to support from workers and peasants in the various non-Parisian departments.
This course covers the emergence of modern France. Topics include the social, economic, and political transformation of France; the impact of France's revolutionary heritage, of industrialization, and of the dislocation wrought by two world wars; and the political response of the Left and the Right to changing French society.