This work traces the emergence and development of the fifth French Republic from 1958 up to the 1990s, and examines the history of the different French political parties and trade unions since the end of World War II. It provides key extracts from the constitution of the Fifth Republic and presents the work of prominent French politicians, accompanied by detailed notes and questions on the extracts enabling the reader to examine critically the text of the constitution as well as the basic ideas of the politicians themselves. The political ideas represented here range from the right-wing "Front National" of Jean-Marie Le Pen to the French Communist Party, and include all the parties situated between - the "RPR", the "UDF", the "Parti Socialiste", the "Greens", and more. All extracts chosen have been approved by the parties and publishers concerned. Each chapter is composed of an explanatory section devoted to the history and development of the constitution and the different political parties. This is followed by key extracts and detailed notes and questions on those extracts.