French Presidents: From De Gaulle to Macron

This course has no current classes. Please the waiting list.

Explore the lives and times of eight influential French Presidents who changed history from the Second World War to today. Starting with President Charles de Gaulle, the former French General, who wrote history and became famous during the German occupation of France from 1940-1945, encouraging the French from his London exile with the statement: “France has lost a battle but not the war.” Finishing with Emmanuel Macron, who with 39-years became in 2017 the youngest-ever President of the French Republic who wants to reform Europe.


  • Bell, David François, Mitterand: A Political Biography (Politi Press, 2005)
  • Célestin, Roger, Eliane DalMolin, France from 1851 to the Present: Universalism in Crisis (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007);
  • Jackson, Julian, De Gaulle (The Belknap Press, 2018);
  • Kuisel, Richard F., Seducing the French (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993).


  • Introduction / Charles de Gaulle (1959-1969)
  • Georges Pompidou (1969 – 1974) & Valéry Giscard d’Estaing (1974 – 1981)
  • François Mitterand (1981 – 1995)
  • Jacques Chirac (1995 – 2007)
  • Nicolas Sarkozy (2007 – 2012)
  • François Hollande (2012 – 2017)
  • Emmanuel Macron (2017-) & Review.

By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Develop a better understanding of French history and politics.
  2. Gain an awareness of the variety of ways historians approach the past.
  3. Develop skills in interpreting evidence and historical scholarship.