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

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By J.P. Daughton

Among 1880 and 1914, tens of hundreds of thousands of fellows and ladies left France for far-off spiritual missions, pushed by way of the will to unfold the be aware of Jesus Christ, wrestle devil, and convert the world's pagans to Catholicism. yet they weren't the single ones with eyes mounted on overseas seashores. simply because the Catholic missionary stream reached its apex, the younger, staunchly secular 3rd Republic introduced the main competitive crusade of colonial growth in French heritage. Missionaries and republicans overseas knew that they had a lot to realize from operating jointly, yet their starkly diverse motivations frequently led them to view each other with resentment, mistrust, or even worry. In An Empire Divided, J.P. Daughton tells the tale of ways family among Catholic missionaries and a number of republican critics formed colonial rules, Catholic views, and family French politics within the tumultuous a long time earlier than the 1st international battle. With case stories on Indochina, Polynesia, and Madagascar, An Empire Divided--the first publication to ascertain the position of non secular missionaries in shaping French colonialism--challenges the long-held view that French colonizing and "civilizing" targets have been formed by way of a enormously secular republican ideology outfitted on Enlightenment beliefs. through exploring the stories of Catholic missionaries, one of many greatest teams of French women and men operating out of the country, Daughton argues that colonial regulations 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 finally buried a lot of their disagreements via embracing a idea 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 constructing and conserving authority. targeting the much-neglected intersection of politics, faith, and imperialism, Daughton bargains a brand new realizing 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 info for An Empire Divided: Religion, Republicanism, and the Making of French Colonialism, 1880-1914

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In the seventeenth century, Indochina was the destination of missionaries from the Société des missions étrangères de Paris, France’s oldest and most respected missionary organization. In the same era, Lazarists, under the directorship of the famous French missionary Saint Vincent de Paul, ventured to Madagascar. Though a failure, the Lazarists’ early attempt was followed by others until Jesuits established a permanent mission on the island in the mid–nineteenth century. Finally, starting in the 1830s, Polynesia—especially the Gambier Islands, Tahiti, and the Marquesas—was the destination of religieux from three French missions: the Congrégation des Sacrés Coeurs, the Marists, and the Soeurs de Saint Joseph de Cluny.

The redefinition of missionary goals, therefore, represented a significant shift in the popular perception of the empire for a large number of French men, women, and children. In August 1914, when France went to war, the cacophonous wrangling of the Catholic right and the republican left was overwhelmed, if not entirely silenced, by the thunder of artillery. 59 But there is reason to believe that the union in the colonies was more genuine. Missionaries working abroad volunteered to return to France to work as chaplains or translators for colonial troops—a move welcomed by many government officials.

65 And missionary work in France’s newer possessions in West and Central Africa was still in an early state of development. 66 Thus, when publications heralded the long commitment of French missionaries in the colonies, they naturally turned to their accomplishments in Indochina, Polynesia, and Madagascar. These three were also among the most important possessions consolidated and developed as colonies during the early Third Republic: Indochina was integrated administratively in 1887, Tahiti (the center of French activity in Polynesia) was declared a colony in 1880, and Madagascar came under direct French control after 1895 when French troops took the island by force.

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