Every leader of France, EVER

hello friends today we are going to talk

about the exciting world of regnal

chronology regnal chronology is

basically the idea that you can tell the

history of any civilization simply

through a list of its rulers the longer

you make that list and the further back

you go the more you learn about the way

that that civilizations concept of power

and government have changed over time in

my opinion one of the best countries to

use to illustrate this concept is France

because France probably has one of the

world's most chaotic evolutions of

political authority so let's see what we

can learn by listing all of their rulers

from start to finish this video by the

way was once again brought to you by our

old pals at Skillshare more about them

in a bit alright so the modern country

of France is the outgrowth of the

Frankish civilization of Western Europe

which they say has been around in one

form or another for like two thousand

years after the fall of the Roman Empire

in the fifth century the Franks

organized themselves into different

kingdoms with the kingdom of the western

Franks also known as Francia being the

most important as was so often the case

with kingdoms the kingdom of the western

Franks was ruled by a hereditary king

who was usually the eldest son of the

previous King and the family that

provided those kings was known as the

ruling dynasty the first dynasty to rule

Francia was the Merovingian family who

produced about 20 kings but by the

eighth century their power was starting

to be eclipsed by a rival family of

Frankish aristocrats from the east known

as the Carolingians in 751 the head of

the Carolingians convinced the Pope that

his family and not the Merovingian

should be the rulers of the franks and

that was the end of the Merovingian

dynasty because in those days the Pope

had final say over everything the

Carolingians then provided France with

its next dozen or so Kings the most

famous of course being Charlemagne but

then in the Year 987 the Carolingians

ran out of male heirs and so the French

aristocrats allowed a different family

known as the café's to come to power

there were a boon for

or so cap Bay Kings in a row until the

18th century in which the French

monarchy system finally began to break

down for a variety of reasons the French

royal family had become increasingly

unpopular by the 1700s and in the 1790s

a broad coalition of French society

United against the decadent and out of

touch kept a family and of course

everyone knows what happened next

the French Revolution in 1792 the king

of France Louis the sixteenth was

formally overthrown when an assembly of

revolutionaries declared France a

republic a few months later that same

parliament voted to execute the king

making the transition even more

permanent this created a new government

that we now call the first Republic so

who became ruler of France after the

king was dead well by this point the

leaders of the French Revolution were

what we might call extreme left wingers

they wanted France to adopt a radical

new political system that rejected all

forms of hierarchy in favor of

collective leadership and consensus

based decision making so instead of

having one single ruler making all of

the big decisions everything would

instead be done by a bunch of Committees

appointed by parliament everyone on the

committees would be equal all decisions

would be made collectively and

membership of the committees would

change every month

at first the highest-ranking committee

was the Executive Council which was

comprised of six men but then in 1793 it

was decided that they needed a new

stronger committee to get a handle on

all of the war and violence that had

been engulfing French society in the

aftermath of the Revolution so they

created a new committee of 12 men called

the committee for public safety the

committee for public safety wasn't

actually around for that long less than

two years but today is remembered as

being one of the worst forms of

government France ever had because of

its role in overseeing what was known as

the terror portion of the revolution

this was the period in which any French

person who was suspected of being


was rounded up and you know with the

guillotine they say nearly 40,000 people

in all were killed a guy named max

me on Rose Pierre is usually described

as being the lead tyrant of the Public

Safety Committee even though he didn't

technically hold any position that put

him above anyone else but you know any

system without a formal hierarchy will

usually just wind up with the person

with the most aggressive personality

calling the shots or blade anyway after

that disaster in 1795 they got rid of

the Public Safety Committee and replaced

it with something called the executive

directory which was a much less powerful

committee of five men who rotated every

year and then in 1799 a military general

named Napoleon Bonaparte staged a coup

and overthrew them now Napoleon was a

big-shot military hero who a lot of

people respected for his leadership

skills but even he was loyal to the

principles of the revolution and so when

he first took power he continued to

respect the rule by committee system but

his committee was only three people

rather than five but then in 1802

Napoleon was like to hell with this I

should be permanent chairman of the

committee for life and in two years

after that he was like you know I should

actually be Emperor of all of France and

so that's what happened they had a big

coronation in everything Napoleon

honeymooned is Emperor of France for 10

years during which time he invaded and

conquered much of Europe but then the

tide turned and after a botched invasion

of Russia in 1814 he was forced to

resign and flee France with the backing

of the other major European powers the

exiled heir of the cap a dynasty louis

xviii was installed as king of france

but a few months later napoleon

successfully invaded paris and

reinstalled himself as emperor in what

the French called the 100 days this

triggered another period of European

warfare and Napoleon was defeated and

exiled a second time and louis xviii was

installed as king a second time the

restoration of the cap a dynasty seemed

like it marked a return to normal for

France after the Revolution but there

were still a lot of serious unresolved

questions about what sort of

system friends should have King Louie

died in 1824 and was replaced by his

brother King Charles the tenth but

following a power struggle with

Parliament and rioting in the streets he

was forced out in 1830 Parliament then

appointed a new guy as King Charles the

tents very distant and very liberal

cousin Louis Philippe the first Louis

Philippe was the last King of France

permanently forever his government is

generally seen as a sort of pathetic

last-ditch attempt to keep Frances some

kind of monarchy even a very weak one

but by 1848 France was once again

engulfed in political turmoil and it was

Louis Philippe's turn to resign and flee

into exile the Parliament voted to end

the monarchy a second time triggering

what we now call the beginning of the

Second Republic this Republic was set up

much more like the United States and

much less like the crazy rural by

committee system they had used the first

time so in 1848 France had its first

ever presidential election and guess who

was elected as the first ever president

of France that's right Napoleon the

third Napoleon the third was the first

Napoleon's nephew Napoleon the second

having died in the meantime President

Napoleon was very proud of his family

legacy and wanted to copy his uncle as

much as possible so after a few years as

president he also declared himself

emperor of all of France in 1852 and

like his uncle Napoleon the third was

also into ill-conceived European Wars

after leading France into a disastrous

war with neighboring Prussia in 1870 he

too was overthrown and fled into exile

becoming a bit of a theme now the French

Parliament then adopted a new

constitution that introduced a new

system of government under a more pure

parliamentary system from now on the

head of the government would be a prime

minister and the Prime Minister would be

the head of whatever was the majority

faction in the Parliament alas this

proved to be a very acrimonious system

the French parliament of that time was

horribly divided into all of these

preposterous factions you know you had

like extreme left wingers and then like

super hardcore monarchists and in like

prone Napoleon people

all and then like ultra fundamentalist

Catholics and Lord knows what else it's

made it very difficult to cobble

together anything resembling a majority

coalition as a result for the next seven

decades France had a different Prime

Minister almost every single year this

is considered one of the most stable

periods of French government in June of

1940 France was conquered by Nazi

Germany to negotiate france's terms of

surrender the Parliament appointed a guy

named marshal patan as emergency Prime

Minister patan had been a heroic

military leader during the first world

war and a lot of people saw him as

someone who could lead France during

this time of crisis under the terms of

the surrender deal the Germans took

control of Paris and all of northern

France while Patton's government was

allowed to retain control of the

southern half of the country the capital

of independent France was moved to the

city of Vichy and the government that

followed is usually referred to as the

Vichy regime after the surrender a lot

of French politicians blamed their

countries humiliating defeat on

democracy or a certain weakness in the

national character there became a lot of

support for turning France into a

fascist dictatorship of the sort that

seemed to be having a lot of success

elsewhere in Europe so in 1940 the

Parliament voted to abolish democracy

and turn patan into their very own

fascist dictator today martial patan is

seen as one of the great villains of

French history for his government's

willingness to work within the Nazi

ruled European order after the 1940

defeat France tried to stay neutral for

the remainder of the war though a lot of

historians would argue that patan was

really just a German puppet who only had

as much power as the Nazis were willing

to give him at any particular time after

the Allied forces liberated Paris from

the Nazis in 1944 a guy named Charles de

Gaulle was installed as the interim

leader of a new non fascist government

for France

de Gaulle was an army general who had

fled France to oppose the patan regime

from London where he led a Allied backed

Herman in exile he served as head of the

temporary government for a year and a

half followed by three other men until

in 1947 France adopted a new democratic

constitution it wound up being a lot

like the old pre-war one they call this

the fourth Republic this new government

was once again set up as a pure

parliamentary system and it didn't take

long for the old problems to come back

and France to once again get into the

habit of having a different Prime

Minister every year then in 1958 France

entered yet another period of intense

political turmoil this time provoked by

an ill-fated war to hang on to their

African colony of Algeria it was an

issue that was so divisive there was

actually fear that the French army might

stage a military coup as a compromise

the Parliament decided to bring back old

man de Gaulle the great symbol of

reconciliation after the Second World


hoping he could resolve the crisis the

Parliament voted him in as prime

minister and gave him all of these new

powers de Gaulle liked these powers and

thought that France was best served when

it had a single strong leader like him

who was independent from the Parliament

so shortly after becoming prime minister

de Gaulle proposed and the French voters

eventually approved a new constitution

in which the head of the government was

a powerful president who was directly

elected for a five-year term this became

known as the fifth republic and it is

still the system that France uses today

president de Gaulle resigned in 1969 and

Georges Pompidou was elected in his

place then came a discard disc Tom

Francois Mitterrand

Jacques Chirac Nicolas Sarkozy Francois

Hollande and of course today Emmanuel

macron so there you go the complete

history of France told by a regnal

chronology this was a pretty difficult

video to make only because I had to

research so many different things and I

tend to get kind of overwhelmed when I'm

taking on a really big ambitious project

but you know who's good at teaching you

how to manage complicated projects the

popular youtuber thomas frank who has a

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question any ideas for another country

whose history would be fun to summarize

using regnal chronology I was thinking

maybe Turkey or Russia anyway let me

know in the thing below and I will see

you all next week actually no probably


I'm actually going to VidCon next week

and I probably won't have time to make a

video but if you are going to VidCon be

sure to keep your eyes peeled for me

because I do not know anybody who is

going to be there and I don't want to

just be standing around awkwardly by

myself the whole time

ok video over see you all soon