France is a republic with a mixed presidential-parliamentary system of government. As with many countries, it has a history filled with division, intolerance, absolutism, and empire. But France also has a strong tradition of republicanism, popular revolution, human rights, and resistance to Nazi occupation. The seminal event in its modern history was the Revolution of 1789, which toppled the absolute monarchy and ushered in the country’s first republican government. Today, France’s democracy is among the world’s strongest. Its powerful presidency is unusual for Europe, where the parliamentary system is more common, but its constitutional limits are clearly established. The National Assembly has decisive powers to approve or censure the government and pass laws and budgets, and the system is further protected by two constitutional courts, independent news media, and a vibrant intellectual class that exercises its rights of speech, conscience, and thought without hindrance.