Sample Political Science Paper on Political Cultures of France and Russia

The fourth republic of France existed for a short period of time; beginning in 1946, and ending in 1958, while the fifth republic is the longest-serving constitution. The country has been using the fifth republic since 1958 to date. the fourth republic was characterized by an all-powerful parliamentary system of governance such that the president was more of a symbolic figure in France while the legislature held all the supreme power. On the other hand, the fifth republic of France adopted Gaulle’s ideologies in decentralizing leadership power such that the legislature had equal powers to the executive. In addition, the fifth republic was marked by a period of political stability resulting in the rapid industrial revolution unlike the fourth republic marked by political instabilities not only within the French borders but also the struggles for independence in the French colonies. As a result, the fourth republic was viewed as a failed government since in the period of the fourth republic approximately, 12 prime ministers resigned even before a vote of no confidence was convened. In contrast, the fifth republic is viewed as a successful government because it formed the foundation for the capitalism adopted in France.


Section B

France and Russia both had aristocratic governments, however, the two counties adopted different political cultures that later influenced industrialization in the counties. Foremost, the political culture adopted by France was a liberal culture that leaned towards a Unitarian type of governance unlike the political culture in Russia that was characterized mainly by dictatorial leadership. Secondly, France’s political culture allowed freedom of expression as evidenced by the numerous riots and strikes when the government failed to solve societal problems. For example, the 1968 infamous riot by students from the University of Paris in Nanterre complaining of the substandard living conditions in hostels depicts the freedom to voice one’s opinion. However, such kind of freedom was non-existent in Russia. For instance, Alexander was assassinated in 1881 because he wanted to introduce a new reform that could grant 5 percent of the male population the right to vote (“Part 3: The Crisis of Communism”). Another instance that shows that Russian political culture undermined democracy was witnessed in Joseph Stalin’s tenure. The majority of the citizens who opposed the government’s plan to collectivize agriculture and redistribute labor were either assassinated or imprisoned.

Thirdly, culture influenced the type of revolution adopted in a country. According to Rosenfeld (2019), the political culture in France promoted capitalism, and consequently, resulted in the French revolution. On the other hand, the Russian political culture promoted communism that led to the Soviet revolution. As such the French revolution focused on minimizing the role the government played in running the economy while the Russian political culture emphasized the key role government interventions played in the running of the economy. For instance, during Stalin’s tenure (1879-1953) the country adopted a collectivization policy for agriculture, and most peasants were relocated to towns to work in factories (“Chapter 9: Russia”). Lastly, whereas the French political culture did not allow for the unification of the state and the church despite a connection between aristocracy and the church; the Russian political culture was founded by the unification of the church and state.

France and Russia both had aristocratic leadership within their systems of governance. However, the political culture of each country shows the processes of reformation adopted in each country. Hence the comparative analyst is able to compare the different cultures, identify the strengths and weaknesses of each culture, as well as recommend the most effective culture in sustaining the development of a country.




Rosenfeld, S. (2019). The French revolution in cultural history. Journal of Social History, 52(3), pp. 555-565. DOI: 10.1093/jsh/shy078

Chapter 9: Russia. Cengage Learning, pp. 225-234. Printed by

Part 3: The crisis of communism. Cengage Learning, pp. 238-247 Printed by