Reasons For French Imperialism

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The latter half of the nineteenth century was an era of unprecedented rapid expansion for European civilization. This growth was the result of multiple factors originating from within Europe— such as the Industrial Revolution, and the development of the highly organized nature of European nation-states— but had consequences that resonated far outside European borders (Jones). The expansion of European industry and economy created an inter-European power struggle, and “one way to demonstrate national preeminence was through the acquisition of territories around the world” (Iweriebor). This acquisition of territories included Africa, and by the start of the twentieth century, most of the African continent had been conquered by only a handful …show more content…
Behind Great Britain, France was the second largest imperial power of the time, but it’s motivation for colonialism differed from the English in a few ways. Like most of imperialist Europe, Britain’s main motivation for colonialism was economic. France was, of course, interested in the economic benefits that imperialism could bring, considering the nation had debts to repay, as well as a recent economic depression to recover from. However, the ideological motivation was of equal— if not greater— importance to French imperialists. French imperialists “…envisioned the creation of a Greater French Empire that would promote what they considered to be the universal ideals of the Enlightenment”; in addition to Enlightenment ideals, these imperialists were also guided by the French republican values that influenced the French Revolution of 1789, summarized in the motto of “liberty, equality, fraternity” (Jones). These ideals and values included a belief in the system of democracy, secularism, and in equality in all areas of life without regard for societal identifiers. To rationalize imperialism under the justification that it would spread and glorify French culture, France’s “colonial ideology explicitly claimed that they were on a ‘civilizing mission’ to lift the benighted ‘natives’ out of backwardness to the new status of civilized French Africans” (Iweriebor). France’s foray into Africa was extensive, but …show more content…
These effects can be found in multiple areas of Algerian life and culture. One such area is that of language. The prolonged presence of French peoples in Algeria meant that the French language inevitably permeated everyday Algerian life. The long-term effects of this permeation can be seen in the mounting attention that francophone authors have been receiving from renowned critics and competitions. Yet, while “the awarding of prestigious literary prizes to francophone Maghrebian authors has legitimized the practice of writing in French…lesser known francophone Maghrebian writers face enormous problems when they seek to publish and sell their works in their own countries, particularly in Algeria” (Déjeux 7). After achieving independence, Algeria embraced its Arabic roots and encouraged the use of Arabic for it’s citizens, making it the national language (MiddleEast Arab). French, on the other hand, “has often been derided by Algerian critics as a capitalist tongue, the tongue of yesterday’s occupiers, the language of infidels” (Déjeux 11). Algeria’s status as a francophone country is a constant source of contention for a nation trying to separate itself from it’s colonial past. In his paper, Jean Déjeux provides an anecdote where an Algerian literary competition sent out a flyer asking for entries written

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