Pages The Colonies in Paris. The Colonies in the Provinces. Colonial War Memorials. Of Men and Monuments. The abolitionist movement of the July Monarchy wasadmittedly weak. As a result, the French colonial lobby was successful in fending offabolitionist legislation under the Orleanist regime with arguments that slave labor wasnecessary to the French sugar supply and that slaves were not yet sufficiently prepared forfreedom.
Nonetheless, by the time of the invasion of Algiers, both opponents and defenders ofcolonial slavery were convinced that emancipation was inevitable. The violence of theHaitian Revolution had left deep scars in the French collective imagination, and theinjustices that had led the slaves to revolt returned to the public eye in sentimental andlurid narratives of slavery and the slave trade that appeared in fiction, theater, and artduring the Restoration and July Monarchy.
The Frenchstate was not overwhelmingly concerned with the impact of British emancipation, but theliberation of slaves by the leading European colonial power still appeared to be a sign ofchanging times. This concern becamemore acute in the late s, as tensions arose over the British right to search Frenchtrading vessels for clandestine slaving. An external source would have to be found toreplace the workers formerly imported from West and Central Africa. Like most. French abolitionists of his day, Jean-Baptiste Say was a gradualist and advocatedliberating slaves in stages designed to overcome their supposedly natural indolence and toready them for life as free men.
In the eyes of critics from Montesquieu to Condorcet andbeyond, the corruption of empire transcended the boundaries between metropole andcolony, sapping the moral fiber of individuals engaged in imperial ventures and thenations that spawned them. Outmoded in theera of liberty, this sin of the past could not be given new life in the new colony. That free labor would meanEuropean emigration and settlement was assumed by nearly all participants in the ensuing. The liberal Revue des deux mondes articulated the linkbetween abolition and settlement colonization in , in one of its first articles on thetopic.
He described Algeria as unmarked by the original sin of earlierEuropean empires and insisted that France could not allow itself to repeat the mistakes ofthe past in this virgin territory. Here is a vast colony without slaves that offers itself to us; without slaves, do you hear?
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Here we need neither debase nor torment humanity. No, on African soil, everything can take place nobly; free men will cultivate the land, French and European colonists will live by work under the protection of our arms, and the new colony will see flourish three of the most noble, humane things: liberty, agriculture, and war. Without recourse to a servile labor force, settlement by European emigrants became anecessary feature of the Algerian colonial enterprise.
Algerians responded to the French invasion with a combination offlight and armed resistance that made a local work force difficult to recruit. European emigration was more than an economic solution to the problem of coloniallabor in the age of abolition, however. As an alternative to chattel slavery, it became thedefining feature of a new vision of empire to be inaugurated in Algeria, where socialvirtue could flourish to the benefit of both metro-pole and colony.
Drawing once again from Enlightenment critiques, especially that of Diderot,nineteenth-century French thinkers interpreted the corruption of modern colonies largelyas the product of the corrupt individuals who created, ran, and populated them. Slaveryand trade monopolies were, in this analysis, symptoms of the essential selfishness ofcolonists and administrators who saw the colonies purely as a source of personalenrichment. Say attributed the persistence of modern colonies to private interests, inparticular those of colonial officials and planters who sought enormous wealth withoutregard for the effect of their actions on society as a whole.
Taken as a whole, thegoverning apparatus of empire sought to extend its own power at the public expense. Colonists, for their part, were equally self-interested and wished only to enrichthemselves as quickly and as easily as possible, according to Say. In their single-mindedpursuit of personal fortune, they built a society devoid of civic virtue.
They went overseasonly temporarily to seek wealth by whatever means possible and then returned to Europeto enjoy their ill-gotten gains, without ever developing a long-term stake in the colonialcommunity. The convergence on this pointbetween liberal economists like Say and the romantic socialists who occupied the far leftof contemporary intellectual life indicates the strength of the colonial consensus of theday.
They disagreed with Say on the question offree trade, but the three men concurred on the evils of slavery. Colony and slavery are just about synonymous because the European requires inexpensive labor, docile hands to rip from the soil the riches that he covets. Only when we see by their numberthat this condition has been met can we have faith in the strength of colonies and thefuture of the institutions we found.
European colonial society also suffered from the domination of men whosevalues were fundamentally hostile to the development of social good and civic virtue. Instead, they looked to the ancient past for examples of colonization that contributed to thegeneral good and the development of human society.
The self-interest of permanent settlers was thuspresumed to be a source of social virtue that stood in sharp contrast to the corrupting self-. Both Adam Smith and Jean-Baptiste Say had citedthe Greek and Roman republics as owners of empires whose colonies strengthened themetropole without imposing undue financial or moral burdens.
First, they had avoided thepitfalls of exclusive trade. This greed propped up the company rule and commercialmonopolies that maintained the colonies in a dependent relationship to their metropoles,constrained the scope for productive forms of self-interest among colonists, and facilitatedthe development of slavery. Although Smith invoked the pre British colonies and Say the western frontier of theindependent United States, their ideals were the same: freed from company rule and traderestrictions, North American settlers had developed the productive self-interest thatresulted in agricultural prosperity, social cohesion, and an increase in the public good.
And he was less convinced that the contemporary United States embodied thevirtues of the ancients. Strangely, for a committed abolitionist, he did not mention slavery,nor did he highlight the treatment of Native Americans, despite lengthy denunciations ofsettler violence against aboriginal peoples in Australia and the Cape Colony.
The influence of political economists like Smith, Say, andSismondi can be seen in the footnotes and citations that littered works on Algeria. Brunet was typical in this regard, and his call to emulate the ancients and theAnglo-Americans focused on the creation of a permanent colony of European emigrants,protected by French armies and settled on land distributed by the state.
This type ofcolonization was expected to extend the social progress enjoyed in the metropole byoffering property to emigrants and civilization to native Algerians. The result would be acolonial society that shared in the virtues of individual liberty and public solidarity thatwere seen as the birthright of post-revolutionary Frenchmen. A New France in Algeriawould thus reproduce the best aspects of the metropole while avoiding the moral excessesand corruption of the old colonial empire.
Emigration, Settlement, and the Social QuestionAn Algerian colony would also, another group of reformers hoped, ameliorate dangerouschanges taking place within France itself. Population growth, urbanization, and revolutionloomed large in the collective imagination of postrevolutionary elites, who feared theirdestabilizing consequences. During the July Monarchy, the locus of population growth shiftedfrom rural areas to cities, however.
The capital had , inhabitants in and passed the one million mark atthe census. Other large cities lagged far behind in total population, but experienceddramatic expansion nonetheless, primarily through internal migration: Marseille grew 75percent, from , to ,, between and ; Lyon grew by 62 percent to,; and Bordeaux by 44 percent to , Seemingly endemic crime, disease, and increasinglyvisible social and political protest convinced them that the growth of cities was a sign ofpathological disorder rather than prosperity.
Cities were not flourishing, but overcrowdedwith immigrants whose ignorance, immorality, and poor hygiene made working-classquarters a breeding ground for crime and disease. Contemporary statistics and fiction alikepainted portraits of working-class criminality that sent chills down the spines of middle-and upper-class readers. Balzac, for example, estimated that one in ten Parisians was acrook, a category that included confidence artists, petty thieves, burglars, prostitutes, andkept women. Crime seemed to go hand in hand with social maladies, such as infanticide,.
The deadly cholera epidemic thatstruck France in provided striking confirmation to anxious elites that the urban poorwere a pathological element, as mortality rates in insalubrious working-classneighborhoods far outpaced those in wealthier areas. Such everydayviolence largely affected working-class communities themselves, but political violence byartisans and workers took the privileged classes as its target.
Theseevents evidenced the growth of an increasingly militant and organized working-classmovement that struck fear into the hearts of property-owning elites. Whereas those whoadvocated Algerian colonization on economic and moral grounds were situated primarilyon the left of the political spectrum, interest in colonial emigration transcended politicaldifferences.
These men often disagreed aboutthe specific mechanisms driving the phenomenon, but they shared a conviction thatunmeasured population growth was the prime source of pressure on national resources. Private charity, critics argued, could not keep up with poverty onthe scale that resulted from these structural changes.
At the same time, however, Frenchsocial reformers were deeply suspicious of state involvement in charity and poor relief. Almost every proponent of Algerian settlement during the July Monarchy shared thepresumption that colonial settlement constituted a useful remedy for growing social ills. Fifty years before natalism became a national obsession, advocates ofsettlement colonization dismissed the idea that emigration might weaken France bydepopulating the countryside. Rapid population growth posed a much greater danger, theyargued. Say, for example, lauded settler colonies as a safeguard againstoverpopulation, which he believed to be the cause of colonial expansion in the ancientworld, as we have seen.
Emigration by the indigent, he argued, helped to prevent poorfamilies from turning to abortion or infanticide to limit the number of mouths they had tofeed. When population began to outstrip food supplies, the excess would find an outletoverseas. Itsproximity to Europe, reputedly fertile soil, and Mediterranean climate made it quitedifferent from and more suitable to European habitation than tropical island colonies. These perceptions were critical in shaping French colonization plans, as we will see in thenext chapter.
The point here, though, is that advocates of Algerian colonization presumedthat French emigrants would transition easily to life in North Africa, where they wouldembark on healthy, agricultural lives and prosper from the work of their own hands. Hundreds of petitions and colonization plans submitted to parliamentary and ministerialofficials during the July Monarchy reflect this conviction. One pamphleteer, a certain V. Afterwards, there would be almost no morevagabonds or any of those lazy and penniless men always ready to sell [their] services tothose seeking to disturb public tranquility.
For many political economists and socialreformers, it was simply assumed, and the very prevalence of this assumption suggestshow deeply ingrained the idea had become in intellectual and political circles. At the far left, the utopiansocialist Prosper Enfantin turned to Algeria in the wake of his famous series on the Saint-Simonian religion in the Globe —32 and a voyage to Turkey and Egypt in search ofthe female messiah and plans for what would become the Suez Canal. In , hepetitioned to join the scientific commission being sent by the government to explore itsnew conquest, and the hefty volume based on his observations appeared in Settlementschemes promised to help the poor earn a living they could no longer make in France.
InSeptember of , for example, a M. Colonization also offered a productive alternative to repressive forms of poor relief. Inthe eyes of nineteenth-century social reformers, punitive measures that clapped debtorsand vagrants into prisons and hospices merely spread criminality. Cash handouts were alsoviewed with suspicion and considered both ineffective in stemming the tide of pauperismand encouraging of laziness.
Dutch reformers had createdcolonies agricoles to rehabilitate the impoverished in the Low Countries in the s, andsimilar establishments were founded on this model in France during the July Monarchy. According to Bigot de Morogues, the small farm alonecould guarantee the worker an adequate and fair wage for his labor.
The same nostalgic fantasies informed plans for the colonization of Algeria. A systemin which poor emigrants from France were settled on the rich Algerian land wouldmultiply the number of small farmers who constituted the ideal citizens of this stable,agrarian society. Self-sustaining agriculture would replace uncertain wage labor, andworking-class tendencies towards laziness, improvidence, and revolt would betransformed into laboriousness, thrift, and docile patriotism. He will have created for himself a new patrie, allwhile remaining attached to France, and he will bless the government that has procured forhim such unexpected bliss.
AM Marseille 13F 1, B. TEFA , Although the transnational dimensions of the settler movement have yet to be examined in depth, there are manynational and, more recently, comparative studies. Kiernan, Blood and Soil, — Shelley Frisch Princeton, , Muriel Lloyd Pritchard Auckland, , Oxford, , 8, , vi. Pagden, Lords of All the World, 6. Say is one of the few early nineteenth-century French thinkers whose views on empire have received scholarlyattention. The Ideologues were a group of liberal philosophers, scientists, and economists of therevolutionary and Napoleonic eras. Horace Say ; Paris, , — Horace Say, 2 vols.
Campbell and A. IV, p. Denis Crouzet, Charles de Bourbon, op. Madrid, , p. Florence Buttay-Jutier, Fortuna.
Paris, , p. Contamine, Ch. Giry Deloison, M. Keen, Lille, , p. Leroux de Lincy, op.
Coleccion de documentos ineditos para la historia de Espana, t. Michaud, Poujalat, Paris, , p.
Genin, Paris, , t. June E. Monluc, op.
Florange, op. Fulin, F. Stefani, N. Barozzi, G. Berchet, M. Allegrini, Venise, t. Bologne, , p. Taylor, Th e Art of war in Italy , Cambridge, , p. Sanudo, op.
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