Mitterrand acted as a catalyst for a series of developments which would probably have occurred anyway, but whose particular form was unmistakably shaped by his personality. This aspect of Mitterrand's legacy can be charted most pertinently in relation to his activity as a political opponent in the 1960s and 1970s. The acceptance of presidentialism as an organising principle, the strategy of the union of the Left, and the rejuvenation of the Socialist Party in the 1970s would probably all have occurred eventually, but their particular form was moulded by Mitterrand. The real tribute to Mitterrand's political skills derived from the fact that he came to embody the aspirations of the French Left, in spite of his past as a Fourth Republican centrist politician, and his reputation for being an unprincipled Florentine leader. The consistency with which Mitterrand held to his strategic objectives after 1958, throughout difficult political circumstances, contrasted strongly with the portrait sometimes painted of him of a political dilettante.