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The history of socialism in France can be understood in terms of the competition between revolutionary socialists and reform socialists. The former advocated abandoning electoral politics, while the latter attempted to improve conditions for workers by means of reforms within the political system. These two attitudes found figureheads in Jules Guesdes and Paul Brousse, respectively. Reform socialists and revolutionary socialists are united under the leadership of Jean Jaures, whose organizing efforts define and influence French socialism well into the twentieth century.
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.