Languedoc Home    Introduction     to See    to Do    Holidays     Langudoc Wine     Languedoc Life    Getting There    Property      History   Geography   Weather 
Cathars of the Languedoc    Cathar Castles    Languedoc Mysteries    Languedoc Books    Languedoc Photos    Articles    Emergencies    Languedoc Guides    More Information

Living in the Languedoc:    Central Government:

The original republican French Constitution was modelled on that of the USA, itself a product of the secular liberalism of the Enlightenment.  Like the US Constitution, and unlike the British one, is a written document.  As such it requires periodic revisions.  The current French republic is the Fifth Republic since the Revolution. The intervening period has has also seen the re-establishment of French kingdoms and short-lived empires.  The chequered history of the French system, and the received opinions of the French authorities largely explain the need to cling to the French Constitution as the guardian of liberties.  Without the checks and balances of an organically grown democratic monarchy, there is nothing else to cling to. Important implications are:
1)  A firm belief in the need for separation of powers (as in the USA).  Republicans are wedded to the axiom that it is absolutely necessary to separate the powers of the Executive , Legislature , and Judiciary. This has become EU orthodoxy too - accepted as self-evidently true despite the fact that it is arguable (It has been argued that the British government abolished the position of Lord Chancellor precisely because it showed the axiom to be invalid - the position having existed for over a thousand years, comfortably combining senior positions in all three arms of government).
2)  The need to convince the population of the benefits of the Republican system.  As in most republics, schools and the media provide a picture of the world which accords closely with a particular national view. In France you can expect to hear the Rights of Man referred to literally about 100 times more frequently than in most other countries.  On the other hand you should not expect to hear anyone expressing the view that the freest countries in the world are the monarchies of north-west Europe, nor that being required to carry idendity papers on you at all times is in any way officious, oppressive or illiberal - views like this are never publically voiced in France. As in other republics, National Symbols are treated with a degree of reverence that can verge on the amusing to foreigners.  Most French people are unaware that their electoral system is almost indistinguishable from that of medieval elective monarchy, with the King's Intendants renamed as Prefects. Do not expect to see the President lampooned in the way that heads of state are in other European countries.
3)  Again as in the USA, the only real oposition to liberal secular principals come from the Churches.  Attempts to separate Church and State in France have been even more contentious than elsewhere, and have never been fully realised.
Back.   Back to: The French Educational System. Up  a level to the main page on Living in the Languedoc Next page: Local Government   Forward.
Languedoc Home     About this Site     Site Map     Links     Contact Webmaster     Copyright and Legal     Search site for: 
The Languedoc: property,holidays,climate,naturist beaches,wildlife,wines,history,geography and Cathar castles: the Languedoc Home Page
 Level 1 -  Languedoc Home Page: Languedoc climate & weather, holidays & vacations, tourism & travel, naturism and naturist beaches,property & accomodation, Cathars & cathar castles, food & wine, history & geography, French sports & games, mountains & and lakes, and everyday life in the Languedoc-Roussillon in the South of France.
 Level 2 - Click here to go back to the page on Living in the Languedoc-Roussillon.
 Level 3 - Languedoc website. You are at level 3.
 Level 4 - Languedoc links not available from here.
 Level 5 - Languedoc links not available from here.