Citizenship between Empire and Nation: Remaking France and by Frederick Cooper

By Frederick Cooper

As the French public debates its current range and its colonial prior, few do not forget that among 1946 and 1960 the population of French colonies possessed the rights of French electorate. additionally, they didn't need to agree to the French civil code that regulated marriage and inheritance. you will, in precept, be a citizen and diverse too. Citizenship among Empire and Nation examines momentous alterations in notions of citizenship, sovereignty, country, nation, and empire in a time of acute uncertainty concerning the way forward for a global that had past been divided into colonial empires.

Frederick Cooper explains how African political leaders on the finish of global battle II strove to abolish the entrenched contrast among colonial "subject" and "citizen." They then used their new prestige to say social, financial, and political equality with different French electorate, within the face of resistance from defenders of a colonial order. Africans balanced their quest for equality with a wish to convey an African political character. They was hoping to mix a level of autonomy with participation in a bigger, Franco-African ensemble. French leaders, attempting to carry directly to a wide French polity, debated how a lot autonomy and what sort of equality they can concede. either side appeared to models of federalism as possible choices to empire and the geographical region. The French govt needed to confront the excessive expenditures of an empire of electorate, whereas Africans couldn't accept as true with French leaders or between themselves on how one can stability their contradictory imperatives. Cooper indicates how either France and its former colonies subsidized into extra "national" conceptions of the country than both had sought.

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With local autonomy, a federation embracing all the French West African territories (or perhaps a wider federation among Africans) with legislative and executive authority, and a French confederation, in which the West African federation, European France, and whatever other units chose to join would participate as free and equal member states. The middle tier, the “primary” or “African” federation, was for Senghor intended to both express and develop national sentiment among Africans and give Africans a stronger position in relation to European France.

But that was not the situation that Senghor and other African leaders faced. Not only had France been a colonial power, but it was rich and large, with a well-­educated population. And it had the great advantage of actually existing as an internationally recognized state. African states had to be created. The reality of whatever kind of ensemble France and its former colonies created was their inequality in resources and standard of living. Sen­ ghor referred to the need for both “horizontal solidarity”—­of Africans with each other—­and vertical solidarity—­of Africans with France.

The revolution, like most social movements that advance very far, brought together people across social categories in a complex struggle. , Invention et réinvention de la citoyenneté (Aubertin: Éd. Joëlle Sampy, 2000), 137–­53. 25 Pierre Rosanvallon, Le sacre du citoyen: Histoire du suffrage universel en France (Paris: Gallimard, 1992). 14 q Introduction empire of free citizens. 26 Empire citizenship was ended by Napoleon, who reinstated slavery in 1802. At that point the revolution in Saint-­Domingue turned from remaking France toward exiting from it.

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