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Chapter Summary

France, after centuries of monarchies, two Empires and many revolutions, emerged as a durable democracy after the 1870 military defeat and the demise of the 2nd Empire. De Gaulle's Fifth Republic, adopted in 1958, gave more powers to the executive to the detriment of the legislative, in an effort to prevent the excessive turnover of governments during the Third and Fourth Republics, and their apparent weakness. It took almost thirty years (from 1945 to the 1970s) for the French to be openly faced with their Vichy past. Most of the French population still believe that French colonization has been of great benefit to the colonized peoples. In recent years, activist judges have adopted a more independent stance, in efforts to overcome the long immunity of high-level political leaders and the senior managers of large national and multinational enterprises.

Keywords: De Gaulle; Fifth Republic; France; French colonization; Vichy



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