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The State
The state

The very fact that the French use the term “the state” (l’état) so much tells us a lot about the way their country is governed. All European languages have an equivalent word, but no people use it in their descriptions of political life as do the French.

And that is no linguistic fluke. The French talk about l’état so much because it is, in fact, at the heart of its politics and has been since before the Revolution.

Indeed, the state is so central to French politics that four chapters are needed to cover it all. This chapter focuses on the formal institutions of French democracy. Subsequent chapters explore its domestic policy, the impact of Europe on policymaking and, finally, France's often controversial foreign ...

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