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France's colonial properties were thought of in the latter half of the nineteenth century as consolation for the bitter loss of Alsace and Lorraine to Germany. As civilian administrators came to replace military personnel in the colonies, and as more and more French settlers arrived, empire and colonialism came to play an important function in France's cultural self-presentation. World War I heralded the eventual decline of the French empire, a decline realized at the hands of the colonized subjects themselves.
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.