Protection And Unequal Alliance Analysis

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Gilles Havard’s article “Protection” and “Unequal Alliance”: The French Conception of Sovereignty over Indians in New France describes the way Indigenous people living in New France were perceived by the French authorities, the degree of citizenship that Indigenous people were given, and how these concepts of sovereignty affected the Indigenous communities both positively and negatively. In France, citizens were considered “regnicoles” (Havard, 2013) – citizens who had the full breadth of the modern concept of human and political rights. In contrast, the Indigenous people of New France were not granted regnicole status; they were merely considered under the “protection” of the French king. Only Indigenous people who converted to Catholicism …show more content…
That being said, Havard explains that the way the French viewed the Indigenous people was different from the way the English viewed them. The French authorities formally recognized at least some degree of sovereignty and nationhood for the Indigenous people, while the English viewed them as entirely dependent subjects. That being said, the historic subjugation of Indigenous people in New France is undeniable. The way the French viewed the Indigenous people was inherently paternalistic; Indigenous people were described as savages at the time and the French “governed” them the way a father governs his family. Any negotiations or treaties signed between the two groups were understood as an agreement between two equal partners for the Indigenous people, but the French authorities used them as a tool of domination. According to Havard, this system “symbolically [formalized] a relationship of domination” …show more content…
It definitely acknowledges the undeniably unequal relationship that history tells us the French settlers had with the Indigenous people in New France, but it also provides a nuanced glance at the specifics of this relationship while contrasting it with the relationship Indigenous people had with English settlers. The lengthy bibliography suggests that it is thoroughly researched, and it makes strong connections with other contemporary realities and theories. For example, it is interesting that Havard differentiates between the relationship with communities near the core of the settlements and the relationship with communities at the periphery. In comparative politics and the study of colonialism, it is noted that nations that were deeply colonized were treated differently - and had far different outcomes - than nations that sat at the periphery of empires and had little actual contact with the colonizer, so it is interesting that Havard also makes this distinction. Havard also provides a useful context for the conception of sovereignty for Indigenous people when he explains the situation in Europe, where France was trying to expand its empire and naturalize the citizens of its new territories. This information was certainly helpful in understanding the attitudes of the French towards the Indigenous people of New France. Overall, this article was a

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