By Andrei Dragan.
The French historical predilection for centralization and a unitary state is not a new phenomenon. It is even older than the French Revolution, older than the modern French state itself. Even compared with the Ancien Régime, with its patchwork of feudal and ecclesiastical estates and mosaic of customs and laws, post-Revolutionary France did not represent a break in the process of centralization, but a mere speeding-up of a process that had already started before it was even born. But what made the French understanding of l’état and la nation distinct from its neighbors was its fundamentally assimilationist philosophy which, in the name of egalitarianism, was particularly hostile to differential treatment and dividing France into groups. […]