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France and Its Empire Since 1870

Second Edition

Alice L. Conklin, Sarah Fishman, and Robert Zaretsky

Publication Date - July 2014

ISBN: 9780199384440

480 pages
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $89.99

This bestselling survey situates Modern French history in transnational and global contexts and integrates the themes of imperialism and immigration into the traditional narrative


Providing an up-to-date synthesis of the history of an extraordinary nation--one that has been shrouded in myths, many of its own making--France and Its Empire Since 1870 seeks both to understand these myths and to uncover the complicated and often contradictory realities that underpin them. It situates modern French history in transnational and global contexts and also integrates the themes of imperialism and immigration into the traditional narrative.

Authors Alice L. Conklin, Sarah Fishman, and Robert Zaretsky begin with the premise that while France and the U.S. are sister republics, they also exhibit profound differences that are as compelling as their apparent similarities. The authors frame the book around the contested emergence of the French Republic--a form of government that finally appears to have a permanent status in France--but whose birth pangs were much more protracted than those of the American Republic. Presenting a lively and coherent narrative of the major developments in France's tumultuous history since 1870, the authors organize the chapters around the country's many turning points and confrontations. They also offer detailed analyses of politics, society, and culture, considering the diverse viewpoints of men and women from every background including the working class and the bourgeoisie, immigrants, Catholics, Jews and Muslims, Bretons and Algerians, rebellious youth, and gays and lesbians.

New to this Edition

  • Chapter 1 offers greatly expanded coverage of events between 1815 and 1870
  • Chapter 14 offers new coverage of events from 2007 to 2013
  • Now includes suggested readings for each chapter to guide students interested in learning more
  • Expanded photo captions give more context and information

About the Author(s)

Alice L. Conklin is Professor of History at the Ohio State University.

Sarah Fishman is Professor of History and Associate Dean for undergraduate studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Houston.

Robert Zaretsky is Professor of French History at the University of Houston.

Previous Publication Date(s)

March 2010


"The book is unique in the field with its coverage of both France and its empire, and in that regard is au courant with modern scholarship. It is well written, concise, and very competitively priced."--Julius R. Ruff, Marquette University

"The main strengths of France and Its Empire Since 1870 are its attention to gender, empire, and to cultural and intellectual developments, elements that are often missing or weak in other comparable books."--Katrin Schultheiss, George Washington University

"France and Its Empire Since 1870 is an excellent textbook that rightly embeds the well-known narrative of French history into broader imperial and global contexts. It is written with a lively turn of phrase that gives a powerful sense of the often tumultuous, fast-paced and exciting developments of French history."--Edward Baring, Drew University

"For a survey text, its detail and scope surpasses all competition. I particularly appreciate the emphasis on colonial issues and France as a major player on the international stage."--Michael V. Leggiere, University of North Texas

"The strengths of France and Its Empire Since 1870 lie in its clear prose and its integration of the empire into the basic framework of the narrative. It also integrates aspects of social, cultural, and gender history into what is often in other textbooks a very straightforward political narrative of the development of the French Republican ideology. The authors have surveyed and integrated the most current and relevant scholarship in the field, which makes the text relevant and engaging."--Darcie Fontaine, University of South Florida

"The breadth and scope of the book is admirable, clearly setting it apart from its competitors."--Stephen Auerbach, Georgia College

Table of Contents

    Illustrations and Maps
    About the Authors
    Map of the French Empire in 1939
    Map of the Francophone World in 2006

    Chapter 1: The Embattled Republican Tradition, 1792-1870

    France's Old Regime
    Causes of the French Revolution
    The Birth of a Republic (1789-1793)
    France's First Republic (1793-1804)
    Napoleon's Empire (1804-1815)
    Legacies of the 1789 Revolution
    The Bourbons Restored (1815-1830)
    1830 Revolution to July Monarchy (1830-1848)
    1848 Revolution and the Second Republic (1848-1852)
    Napoleon III and the Second Empire (1852-1870)
    Society and Economy Under the Second Empire
    Napoleon III and the City of Paris
    A Failed Liberalization
    The Empire and Europe

    Chapter 2: L'Année Terrible, 1870-71

    The Franco-Prussian War
    The Fall of the Empire
    From One Siege to Another
    The Paris Commune
    The Fall of the Commune
    May 1871

    Chapter 3: The Return of the Republic, 1871-1885

    The Early Republic
    Constitutional Laws and Crisis
    The Republic Triumphant
    The Republic and Women's Rights
    Cult of the Public
    The Republic Founds a New Empire
    The Republic and the Provinces
    The Working Class

    Chapter 4: The Imperial Republic, 1885-1894

    Demographic and Economic Upheavals
    Boulanger's Rise and Fall
    Cultural Transformations
    Church vs. Republic? Fears of Degeneracy
    Civilizing Overseas
    The Labor Movement and Socialism

    Chapter 5: The Republic Divided, 1894-1914

    The Dreyfus Affair
    The "Affair"
    The Dénouement
    The Public Intellectual
    State and Church Go Their Separate Ways
    New Crises
    News of Cycles, Cycles of News
    A Dangerous Diplomacy
    Preparing for War

    Chapter 6: The Republic at War, 1914-1919

    1914: Mass Mobilization
    Taking the Offensive 1915-1916
    The Soldier's War 31
    The Civilian's War: Occupied Zones and the Homefront
    Private Life, Censorship, and Consent
    1917: Breaking Point
    1918-1919: War's End
    Making Peace

    Chapter 7: The Deceptive Peace, 1919-1929

    1919: Fears of Revolution and a Shift to the Right
    Foreign Policy in the 1920s
    Domestic Politics: Realignment on the Left
    The Center-Right: Radicals and Conservatives
    Economic Modernization
    Women's Roles: The Advent of Modernity?
    France and its Empire
    A New Cosmopolitanism?
    Challenges to the Republic
    Calls for Renewal

    Chapter 8: The Republic in Peril, 1929-1939

    1932-1934: Radicals in Power
    The Riots of February 6, 1934
    1934-1936: Conservatives in Power and Radicalization of the Right
    The Formation of the Popular Front
    The Road to Victory
    May-August 1936: Reform
    Economic and Foreign Policy
    Division and Failure
    The Politicization of Intellectuals
    Republican Reaction: 1938
    The Path to War

    Chapter 9: The Dark Years, 1939-1945

    From Phony War to the Battle of France
    Exodus and Armistice
    Vichy: Revenge of the Minorities
    The National Revolution
    Daily Life in France under the Occupation
    Vichy and the Empire
    Turning Point: 1942
    Civil War: Resistance, Liberation, and the Purge
    Turning the Page: The Myth of the Gaullist Resistance

    Chapter 10: Reconstruction at Home and Overseas, 1945-1958

    The Provisional Government in Charge
    The New Political Landscape
    The Birth of the Fourth Republic and the French Union
    Politics as Usual? The Evolution of the Fourth Republic
    The Great Divide Between Intellectuals
    Launching an Economic Miracle
    Welfare, Repopulation, and Immigration
    Women's Lives and Changing Gender Norms
    Reimagining Europe: Franco-German Cooperation
    The Fourth Republic Refuses Decolonization
    The Algerian Quagmire

    Chapter 11: De Gaulle Founds a New Republic, 1958-1969

    The Republic Transformed
    The Algerian War
    From Empire to Neo-Colony
    The Politics of Grandeur
    Marrying the Century
    The Affluent Society
    Explosion: May 1968
    Youth, Intellectuals, and Culture under the Fifth Republic

    Chapter 12: A New France in a New Europe, 1969-1981

    Reconfiguration on the Right
    Old and New Left
    Foreign Policy
    Economic Policy
    The Secularization of French Society
    Making France More Egalitarian: The Reform of Education
    Media and the Free Market of Ideas
    The Politics of Memory: De Gaulle's Resistance Myth Questioned
    The Revival of Feminism
    Sexual Minorities Demand Rights
    Immigrants' Place in the Nation

    Chapter 13: The Republic of the Center, 1981-1995

    Socialism's Last Hurrah
    Culture from Above
    Culture from Below
    Immigration and Frenchness
    The Reinvention of "La Pause"
    Foreign Policy
    Odd Bedfellows: The Evolution of Cohabitation
    Mitterrand's Second Term
    The Furor Over the Foulard
    The Paradoxes of Parity
    A Second Act for the Socialists
    France and the World
    The Autumn of the Patriarch

    Chapter 14: France since 1995

    From "Social Fracture" to "Social Demand"
    A Nation in Search of a Definition
    The Left(s) Strike Back
    Abroad at Home
    Intellectuals: The Reason for the Clerks?
    The Republic in Danger
    Freedom Fries
    France Today

    Suggested Readings