Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. Hesperides Press are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork. CONTENTSINTRODUCTIONI THE COUNTRY AND ITS POPULATIONII THE ROMAN EMPIREIII THE SETTLEMENT OF THE BARBARIANS AND THE SPREADOF CHRISTIANITYIV RE-ESTABLISHMENT OF THE EMPIRE AND DISORGANIZA-TION OF THE CENTRAL AUTHORITYV THE GROWTH OF FEUDALISMVI BIRTH OF FRENCH SOCIETY AND A FRENCH STATEVII THE PEASANTSVIII THE NOBLESIX THE BOURGEOISX THE CLERGYXI THE CLOSE OF THE MIDDLE AGESXII THE APPROACH TO MODERN TIMESXIII POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS CRISES OF THE SIXTEENTHCENTURYXIV GROWTH OF THE IMPERSONAL ABSOLUTE MONARCHYXV THE PERSONAL RULE OF LOUIS XIVXVI THE CRISIS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURYXVII THE REVOLUTIONXVIII THE EXPERIMENT OF THE LIBERAL MONARCHYXIX THE INTRODUCTION OF UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGEXX THE DEMOCRATIC AND PARLIAMENTARY REPUBLICCONCLUSIONINDEX INTRODUCTIONI MAKE no foolish claim to relate the whole history of the Frenchpeople in a single short volume.1 All I should wish to attempt is toexplain by what series of transformations the population of Francein past ages has become the French nation of to-day.It has been my main preoccupation to indicate the origin ofthose conditions of life, sentiments, ideas, usages, and institutionsthat have seemed to me to form the essential substance of Frenchlife. I have tried to indicate at what time, in what place, and forwhat reason they came into existence I have sought to distinguishwhat originated in France from that which has been added to itthrough imitation or the influence of foreign lands. I hope by thismeans to succeed in disentangling what may be called the nativetradition, and separating it from extraneous importations.If I had ventured to follow my own feelings, I should have takenas my title CA Sincere History of the French Nation', thus empha-sizing the spirit in which I have worked. Those historians of thefirst two-thirds of the nineteenth century to whom is due the forma-tion of French history as taught in the schools and familiar to thecultured public have distorted its perspective in two respects.In the first place, the records which they used all came from menbelonging to the privileged classes - ecclesiastics, lawyers, andfighting-men, who took little interest in the mass of the populationbeneath them and had little knowledge or understanding of itsconditions of life. Almost all these men were in personal relationwith the official authorities, the clergy, the Crown, the Parle-ments, and the great nobles, and unconsciously tended to exagger-ate the part played by the great - their virtues, their intelligence,and, consequently, the efficacy of what they decreed for the reallife of the nation.