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Philippe Ratte

De Gaulle and the Republic

Philippe Ratte, a graduate of the École normale supérieure, professor of history, and member of UNESCO. He is the co-author, with Michel Godet, of La France des bonnes nouvelles
The Constitution of 1958 is a decisive event in contemporary history. But do we know the speech that presented it, and which introduced the Fifth Republic? In this book Philippe Ratte proposes a return to the source of that founding event and taking one’s time to read, to understand, to analyze and to weigh the impact of the speech given by de Gaulle on 4 September 1958, on Place de la République.

Why such a speech? What did the new Constitution contain, what was its political context? What type of republic was thereby defended and introduced? And above all, what history did that founding act open up: what would be the first applications of the Constitution (elections, functioning, key events from 1962 to 1969) and its later evolution (from 1969 to the present)?

From the speech delivered on 4 September 1958, the foundation of French political life is studied, and at the same time the spirit of Gaullism is defined.