Political life (1815–70)
France experienced a period of constitutional monarchy under the reigns of Louis XVIII (1815–25), Charles X (1825–10) and Louis-Philippe (1830–48). After Charles X abdicated, as a result of the three-day riot of the Parisian people, Louis Philippe faced a wave of public discontent. His abdication (February 1848) is followed by the brief return of the Republic, which establishes universal suffrage for men and restores people’s rights; thus, slavery is abolished.

At the end of 1848, Louis Napoleon Bonaparte is elected President of the Second Republic. After his coup d’Etat (1851), the Second Empire (1852–70) then comes to an end due to France’s defeat in the Franco-Prussian War. Leon Gambetta (1838–82) proclaims the Republic.
Political life (the start of the Third Republic)
The government relocates from Paris to Versailles in March 1871, whereas the Parisian people refuse to surrender the city to the Prussians. Due to the Treaty of Frankfurt (May 1871) France abandons Alsace and Lorraine to the German Empire.

The Third Republic (1870–1940) establishes numerous reforms. The democratic republic is now created.

The Dreyfus Affair (1894–8) and the law establishing the separation between the Church and the State (1905) revealed the divisions within the French population. The new colonies (Algeria and parts of Africa and Asia) are strengthening France’s economic power.
Economic, social and cultural life (1815–1920)
France retains rural specificity and, thanks to its transport network system (especially the railways), develops the textile and chemical industries among others. This leads to significant urbanization and rural exodus.

A major construction policy accompanies the growth: the urban reorganisation of Paris; the construction of works of art, among others the World Expos (Expositions universelles). The World Expos/Universal Exhibitions make it possible to disseminate public awareness about and to celebrate inventions and achievements such as the Eiffel Tower (1889).

The demographic transition starts with advances in hygiene and healthcare. With the Ferry Laws (1881–2) education becomes compulsory, secular and free. Other social developments are equally progressive, such as the right to strike (1864) and Trades Unions (1884).

Cultural life also undergoes some major changes: the rights of everybody to gain access to books, the birth of photography and the development of the printing press. New artistic movements such as Romanticism, Realism, Naturalism and Impressionism succeed in making Paris an international cultural capital.