French political history


The objective of this course is to enhance the first-year students’ basic knowledge of French political history. It focuses more specifically on the history of the French republican regime, from 1870 through to the present day, and thus will examine the Third, Fourth and Fifth Republics. It aims to show the long-term evolutions of a regime, the ruptures and continuities in what has been called the French "republican model". The conquest and exercise of power, the struggle against power, within an institutional framework that is itself subject to change, are, of course, central themes. The interplay between actors (individuals and partisan forces) will, whenever necessary, be examined within the overall historical context, in order to better understand the sequence of events. For greater clarity, therefore, the course will be structured chronologically, while allowing for thematic and analytical considerations.

Recommended Prerequisite(s)

To understand the course content, students are required to have good general knowledge of the history of 20th century France and to keep informed on current French political affairs.


  • P. Bréchon, La France aux urnes. Soixante ans d’histoire électorale, La documentation française, Paris, 2009.
  • R. Rémond, Le dernier siècle (1918-2002), Fayard, Paris, 2003.
  • J.F. Sirinelli (dir.), Dictionnaire historique de la vie politique française au XXe siècle, PUF, Paris, 2003.
  • F.Taliano-des Garets, Histoire politique de la France, IIIe, IVe, Ve, Républiques (1870-2010), Ellipses, 2019.
  • M.Winock, La fièvre hexagonale. Les grandes crises politiques 1871-1968, Seuil, Paris, 1999.

Educational formula

Regular attendance to classes is expected; and the students will be expected to produce a record of the class content every other week,  to prepare biography cards, but also cards on political party, on  political crises. Students will learn the list of the presidents of the French Republic and will make sure that they spell their names properly, by referring to the list of proper names provided. Students' attention is also drawn to the importance of the chronology.

In brief

Year First year

Teaching languageFrench

Teaching term Six-monthly

ECTS credits 2.0

Number of hours 36.0

Teaching activityLecture course

ValidationFinal written examination

Mandatory teaching



Forest Amandine [+]

Houdayer Corinne

Educational manager :
Taliano Françoise [+]