La France Administrative
It has often been seen as an anomaly that the French, with all that has been said about their individualism, should traditionally have one of the most centralised administrative systems of any European state. Although the first passage in this chapter credits Napoleon with the founding of the modern bureaucracy, the tradition of centralised government goes back even earlier, certainly back as far as Louis XIV. But it is of course Napoleon, as with so much of the French state and educational apparatus, who created the existing pattern. Perhaps the anomaly mentioned above can best be explained by Kupferman’s thesis that the French are more concerned with equality before the law than with personal liberty. The extract from a public opinion poll published in L’Express gives some interesting figures concerning the current attitudes of the French towards the state. Finally, there is a passage which gives more detail about one aspect of the great state machine, the process of voting.
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