History of the French Senate Volume 2. The Fourth and Fifth Republics, 1946-2004

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The second volume of this work resumes the story of the French upper chamber at the Liberation and traces its resurrection in the unpromising circumstances of 1946 and its gradual recovery as the Council of the Republic of the Fourth Republic 1958. It continues by examining ‘restoration’ of the Senate in 1958 and its rollercoaster relationship with the President, the government and the National Assembly since then. Like volume one, the present volume explores not only the particular composition of the Senate and its role in the French constitutional game, but examines its political evolution and the part played by the men and women who have shaped its fortunes. The text is supported with tables, maps and appendices to provide both the professional academic and the student of French politics not only with an analytical narrative but also with clear points of reference with which to tackle this little-known aspect of French politics.


“ ... This is a detailed and often fascinating account of the Senate’s development, written in clear and readable prose, with more than a touch of humor. French specialists will welcome an account of an institution that never has its fair share of attention, but the book will be of interest to anyone concerned with wider questions of democracy, in particular who is to keep overweening governments in line.” – (from the Preface) Professor David Hanley, Cardiff University

“ ... As well as a comprehensive history of France’s upper house, written with great verve, meticulous care, and excellent inside knowledge, Dr. Smith has given us something more: a history of the Fourth and Fifth Republics written from the Palais du Luxembourg. This shedding of new light on familiar events, and the clarity with which he analyzes the Senate as a place of political power, are not the least merits of this remarkable work.” – Professor Andrew Knapp, University of Reading

“This is a compelling and highly readable account of the often-ignored and frequently criticized French upper house. In doing so, Dr. Smith develops themes already drawn out in his preceding volume of this history ... This book makes a welcome contribution to the spread of scholarship across the Channel by incorporating, for English-language readers, the results of several significant French doctoral theses on the Senate ...” – Professor Martin S. Alexander, University of Wales, Aberystwyth

Table of Contents

Preface by David Hanley
1. ‘Sénat ou pas Sénat?’
2. ‘Une remontée continue’
3. The Senate Restored
4. Ostracism
5. Normalization and Bipolarization
6. Conflict and Stagnation
7. A House with Windows
8. Scylla and Charybdis
9. The Second Restoration
Selected Bibliography

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