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  • The French Third Republic was France from 1870, when the Second French Empire collapsed, to 1940, when France's defeat by Nazi Germany led to the Vichy France government. Vichy was replaced by the French Fourth Republic. The early days of the Third Republic were dominated by the Franco-Prussian War, which the Republic continued to wage after the fall of the Emperor. Harsh reparations exacted by the Prussians after the war resulted in the loss of Alsace-Lorraine, social upheaval, and the establishment of the Paris Commune. Early governments of the Third Republic considered re-establishing the monarchy; however, confusion as to the nature of that monarchy, and who among the various deposed royal families would be awarded the throne, caused those talks to stall. Thus, the Third Republic, which was originally intended as a transitional government, instead became the permanent government of France. The French Constitutional Laws of 1875 gave the Third Republic its shape and form, consisting of a Chamber of Deputies and a Senate forming the legislature, and a President serving as the head of state.

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