An Empire Divided: Religion, Republicanism, and the Making by J.P. Daughton

By J.P. Daughton

Among 1880 and 1914, tens of millions of fellows and ladies left France for far away non secular missions, pushed via the need to unfold the be aware 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 shorelines. simply because the Catholic missionary move reached its apex, the younger, staunchly secular 3rd Republic introduced the main competitive crusade of colonial enlargement in French background. 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 the way bothered kinfolk among Catholic missionaries and a number of republican critics formed colonial guidelines, Catholic views, and family French politics within the tumultuous many years sooner than the 1st global conflict. With case experiences on Indochina, Polynesia, and Madagascar, An Empire Divided--the first e-book to check the function of non secular missionaries in shaping French colonialism--challenges the long-held view that French colonizing and "civilizing" objectives have been formed via a highly secular republican ideology equipped on Enlightenment beliefs. via exploring the reviews of Catholic missionaries, one of many greatest teams of French women and men operating in a foreign country, Daughton argues that colonial rules have been usually wrought within the fires of non secular discord--discord that indigenous groups exploited in responding to colonial rule. After many years of clash, Catholics and republicans within the empire finally buried a lot of their disagreements via 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 advantage of setting up and keeping authority. targeting the much-neglected intersection of politics, faith, and imperialism, Daughton deals a brand new realizing of either the character of French tradition and politics on the fin de siecle, in addition to the facility of the colonial adventure to reshape European's such a lot profound ideals.

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

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Ah! What a situation, brother! What joy, on the one hand; but also what sorrows, what tortures of the heart! —Père Honoré Dupont, 1885 Et d’abord! La grande raison de cette vocation, c’est la foi! —Père Augustin Aubry, 1888 In 1888, a Catholic missionary stationed in Kibanga, in the Upper Congo, wrote a letter to the superior general of his mission in Algiers. Père Guillemé’s letter described the countryside in which he traveled—in this case, the region around Lake Tanzania—and recounted the tribulations of a lone European missionary evangelizing in a land far from home.

Far from being local complaints, such criticisms of the colonial administration were regularly picked up in the metropolitan press, spurring angry letters to editors and becoming fodder for speeches on both sides of the political aisle. This uncomfortable symbiosis—between missions, their critics, and administrators in the middle—reveals the extent to which colonizing and civilizing were far more convoluted than a simple application of universal truths and ideological goals. For example, when radical critics of the missions called for the opening of secular schools in places like Indochina and Polynesia in the early 1900s, they were not only expressing their age-old commitment to laïcité and spreading republican civilisation.

The priest had no choice but to accept the challenge, though he knew he put himself in a most tenuous position. 4 Guillemé took his rifle in hand and, with the laughter of the crowd ringing in his ears, approached a tree full of monkeys. ”5 Guillemé aimed at the largest and fired. The animal fell. At the sight of the dead monkey, the villagers broke into an excited frenzy and pummeled the corpse, yelling things, according to Guillemé, that would have made a soldier blush. A villager explained that local folklore considered monkeys powerful creatures, for spears not only failed to reach their perches in tall trees but endangered bystanders on the ground as they fell back to earth.

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