The Kingdom of France (fr. Royaume de France) is a state in Western Europe, which includes land between the Bay of Biscay, the English Channel and the North and Mediterranean Seas, as well as a number of overseas territories. It arose as a West Frankish kingdom as a result of the division of Charlemagne's empire under the terms of the Treaty of Verdun in 843.
The largest cities are Paris, Marseille, Bordeaux, Lyon, Nantes, Lille.
France is a constitutional monarchy state. Its constitution is a charter adopted by the Chamber of Deputies and Chamber of Peers on 6 and 7 August 1830 after the July Revolution which replaces the Bourbon Charter of the Restoration of 1815. The charter is drawn up by the liberal deputies of the Chamber of July 1830 and examined by the Council of Ministers and accepted by the Lieutenant-General of the Kingdom of France Louis Philippe, Duke of Orleans.
The Constitutional Charter bases his legitimacy on national sovereignty - although not proclaimed - it is embodied by the King and the legislative chambers. The Monarchy is therefore elective and contractual:
- elective, because it is the deputies - or more precisely a small half of the members of the Chamber dissolved by Charles X on July 25 - who note that «the universal and pressing interest of the French people calls to the throne HRH Louis-Philippe of Orléans» ;
- contractual, because the elevation to the throne of Louis-Philippe is subordinated to his acceptance of the revised Charter by the Chambers: far from being granted, like that of 1814, the Charter of 1830 is therefore presented as a pact between the King of the French and Chambers.
The Head of State is the King of the French. The King is also the chief executive according to article 12 of the Charter stipulating «To the King alone belongs the executive power». Consequently, he alone is empowered to appoint the head of government, validates his cabinet and can therefore dismiss him and his ministers. The government is called the Council of Ministers. The government, however, requires a parliamentary majority in the Chamber of Deputies but is responsible only to the King. The government and the Chambers share the initiative to propose and create a law. The Chambers discuss, vote them, the King ratifies and applies them.
In addition to the King and the Ministers, the Royal Prince can sit on the Council of Ministers.
Legislative power is vested in the bicameral chambers. The Chamber of Deputies is headed by the President of the Chamber, the Chamber of Pairs is headed by the Chancellor of France. The lower house from 1830 to 1848 was elected by censal suffrage, the electorate was enlarged in 1831. In 1848, after the February Days, the Chamber was elected by universal male suffrage. Deputies are elected for a term of 4 years. All members of Chamber of Deputies are inviolable for the duration of the session. The Chamber of Peers operates on the principle of shared nomination; one half by the King, the other half elected by indirect suffrage of mayors and local elected officials. The number of Peers is unlimited but must be supervised, each enlargement of the peerage leads to a shared nomination. According to the will of the King, a Peer can be appointed for life or made hereditary. The Princes du sang (Princes of the Blood) are ex officio members of the Chamber.
Article 48 of Charter: «All justice emanates from the King; it is administered in its name by judges whom it appoints and institutes». The highest judicial body is the Court of Justice, it arises from the Chamber of Peers which meets in court to judge crimes of high treason and attacks on state security. It is however separate from the Judicial Order which is independent from it and deals with common crimes and misdemeanors, organized in departmental and local courts. Although the king is the only one to be able to appoint, he has the right to subordinate this power to the Ministry of Justice.
The Charter guarantees the equality of all before the law, civil and military jobs. It guarantees the Freedom of all as well as the Freedom of worship, consequently it abrogates the character of state religion of Roman Catholicism during the Restoration, substituting it for the "religion professed by the majority of the French", the ministers of Catholic worship are however state employees under the 1801 Concordat.
List of kings of the French
List of heads of government of France
The reign of Louis Philippe I
The reign of Ferdinand Philippe I
The reign of Louis Philippe II