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When the French Tried to be British

by J.A.W. Gunn

In When the French Tried to Be British, J.A.W. Gunn studies the French effort during 1814 to 1848 to adopt the set of common understandings that lent a comparative stability to British government. The institutions of a loyal opposition and disciplined political parties seemed to be implicit in the parliamentary model, but their acceptance foundered on French reluctance to accord legitimacy to political opponents. A sophisticated minority - including such major figures as Chateaubriand, Constant, Mme de Staël, and Guizot - recognized the need for something approaching the British political culture, but the wounds opened by the Revolution could not readily be healed. A more or less complete acceptance of the civil disagreement that was the spirit of the British model had to await the Fifth Republic.

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