Thank you all for this nice welcome!
Originally Posted by Catherine J
I hope we can chat sometime, I'd like to hear your views on things - coming as you do from a country whose shift from Monarchy to Republic is so often referred to in literature and popular culture...I've often wondered what handprint that has left on its citizens.
Hi Catherine, I will gladly talk to you about France if you want!
To answer quickly your question about the impact the French revolution has had, in my opinion, it is huge. France's main symbols of state come from the Revolution (anthem, flag, Marianne, ...) and 1789 is the one date in history everyone knows. But France didn't become a republic overnight : we had to wait until 1870 to definitely become one ; between 1789 and 1870, we had time to try constitutional monarchy, Empire (twice) and various forms of republic.
The French Revolution is sometimes referred to in the public arena, but I think politicians and commentators refer more to the "Republic" in general (we often talk about defending the "values of the Republic") : it encompasses the Revolution and the individual and political rights given to each citizen, but also some important laws from the third Republic (1870-1939), especially the ones regarding free press, free association, "laïcité" (secularism... sort of!), free education, etc. That doesn't mean we are not happy with our past : François 1er, Henry IV or Louis XIV are as well-known as Napoleon and De Gaulle. But "republic versus monarchy" is not an issue in France today : there is no public debate about that.
I could talk more about it if you want ; I just don't know if the moderators would agree if I do so here.