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By J.P. Daughton

Among 1880 and 1914, tens of millions of guys and ladies left France for far away spiritual missions, pushed by way of the need to unfold the note of Jesus Christ, strive against devil, and convert the world's pagans to Catholicism. yet they weren't the one ones with eyes mounted on overseas beaches. simply because the Catholic missionary circulate reached its apex, the younger, staunchly secular 3rd Republic introduced the main competitive crusade of colonial enlargement in French heritage. Missionaries and republicans overseas knew that they had a lot to achieve from operating jointly, yet their starkly varied motivations on a regular basis led them to view each other with resentment, mistrust, or even worry. In An Empire Divided, J.P. Daughton tells the tale of ways kinfolk among Catholic missionaries and a bunch of republican critics formed colonial regulations, Catholic views, and family French politics within the tumultuous many years sooner than the 1st global battle. With case stories on Indochina, Polynesia, and Madagascar, An Empire Divided--the first publication to ascertain the function of non secular missionaries in shaping French colonialism--challenges the long-held view that French colonizing and "civilizing" ambitions have been formed through a noticeably secular republican ideology equipped on Enlightenment beliefs. by way of exploring the stories of Catholic missionaries, one of many biggest teams of French women and men operating in another country, Daughton argues that colonial rules have been on a regular basis wrought within the fires of spiritual discord--discord that indigenous groups exploited in responding to colonial rule. After a long time of clash, Catholics and republicans within the empire eventually buried a lot of their disagreements by way of embracing a thought of French civilization that awkwardly melded either Catholic and republican beliefs. yet their entente got here at a value, with either side compromising long-held and much-cherished traditions for the good thing about constructing and retaining authority. concentrating on the much-neglected intersection of politics, faith, and imperialism, Daughton bargains a brand new figuring out of either the character of French tradition and politics on the fin de siecle, in addition to the ability of the colonial adventure to reshape European's so much profound ideals.

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Extra resources for An Empire Divided: Religion, Republicanism, and the Making of French Colonialism, 1880-1914

Sample text

Critics railed that corrupt missionaries, concerned wholly with catechism and personal power, failed on every level—to form colonial citizens, to spread French authority, and even to teach their students French. Critics insisted on more secular schools not only as a means of educating children but also as a way to undermine the worrisome power of the missions. This book argues, therefore, that the main impetus for developing republican civilizing programs was neither a purely liberal ideological nor a “humanitarian” one.

While anticlerical republicans might have welcomed the exodus of religious Catholics from French soil, a wide range of politicians, journalists, and colonists argued that, just as clerics endangered the authority and prestige of metropolitan France, missionaries in the possessions threatened republican colonial rule. Establishing and maintaining control in the colonies, these critics insisted, was already difficult enough without having to worry about plots and conspiracies devised by antirepublican missionaries and their crowds of converts.

For example, the Quai d’Orsay supported the missions in the Ottoman Empire, one of the most developed Catholic enterprises in the nineteenth century, as key tools for spreading French influence there. 52 Best of all, missionaries worked almost for free. 53 For the foreign ministry, anticlericalism was not for export in large part because the tariff was far too high. But for critics of religious proselytizing, the Quai d’Orsay’s rationale made no sense. In their minds, the republic could ill afford not to shut down the Catholic missions.

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