In 18th century, France was one of the richest nations of the world and one of having a mixed economy. The potential for industrial development made France a rival to England, perhaps the most powerful country on Earth at the time.But it was its agricultural potential at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution (the period during the 18th and 19th centuries when Europe changed from agrarian, handicraft economies to the those dominated by industry and machine manufacture) which made France a world power. However, it's slow in moving from agrarian to industrial modes of production, together with several other factors such as a declining population, left France behind in an industrializing world in the 20th century. As this process continued, and due in part to nationalist sentiment, France largely closed its doors to foreign competition in order to protect its own industries. The nationalization of major industries in France took place in the late 1930s in railways, coal, natural gas, electricity, and the banking sector.
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