An Empire Divided

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

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Between 1880 and 1914, tens of thousands of men and women left France for distant religious missions, driven by the desire to spread the word of Jesus Christ, combat Satan, and convert the world's pagans to Catholicism. But they were not the only ones with eyes fixed on foreign shores. Just as the Catholic missionary movement reached its apex, the young, staunchly secular Third Republic launched the most aggressive campaign of colonial expansion in French history. Missionaries and republicans abroad knew they had much to gain from working together, but their starkly different motivations regularly led them to view one another with resentment, distrust, and even fear. In An Empire Divided, J.P. Daughton tells the story of how troubled relations between Catholic missionaries and a host of republican critics shaped colonial policies, Catholic perspectives, and domestic French politics in the tumultuous decades before the First World War. With case studies on Indochina, Polynesia, and Madagascar, An Empire Divided-the first book to examine the role of religious missionaries in shaping French colonialism-challenges the long-held view that French colonizing and "civilizing" goals were shaped by a distinctly secular republican ideology built on Enlightenment ideals. By exploring the experiences of Catholic missionaries, one of the largest groups of French men and women working abroad, Daughton argues that colonial policies were regularly wrought in the fires of religious discord-discord that indigenous communities exploited in responding to colonial rule. After decades of conflict, Catholics and republicans in the empire ultimately buried many of their disagreements by embracing a notion of French civilization that awkwardly melded both Catholic and republican ideals. But their entente came at a price, with both sides compromising long-held and much-cherished traditions for the benefit of establishing and maintaining authority. Focusing on the much-neglected intersection of politics, religion, and imperialism, Daughton offers a new understanding of both the nature of French culture and politics at the fin de siecle, as well as the power of the colonial experience to reshape European's most profound beliefs.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 344 pages
  • 162.6 x 236.2 x 33mm | 635.04g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 8 halftones, 4 maps
  • 0195305302
  • 9780195305302

Review quote

Eminently readable, with a strong analysis that is richly peppered with narratives large and small; doubtlesss it will become a landmark text for specialists, and a useful resource for graduate students. * Jennifer M. Dueck, The English Historical Review. * Thoroughly researched and eloquently written, Daughton's comparative study of the complex, often contradictory, relationships between Republicans in France, the Church, and Catholic orders across the French Empire is one of a kind. His work also pays attention to critical issues of women and gender throughout, which renders this history all the more original. * Julia Clancy-Smith, The University of Arizona * ...a thoroughly absorbing and informative book which should appeal across the board to scholars, students and general readers. * Claire Eldridge, French History * Daughton's book brings our attention to a wealth of archival material (mainly Catholic) and offers an important insight into the part played by Catholic missionaries in the expansion and consolidation of the French Empire * Patrick Crowley, French Studies * ...uses three deeply researched case studies to explore the enormously important and complicated role of Christian missionaries in the construction of the French empire. An Empire Divided is broad in its sympathies, gracefully written, and full of dramatic incidents; it is a major contribution to the emerging literature on the history of European imperialism. * Thomas Kselman, University of Notre Dame * [An]...excellent volume Daughton's is a history of competing missions, of how they interacted and changed one another with lasting consequences, not just for the French, but also for the colonial populations they ruled."-Philip G. Nord, Princeton University Daughton succeeds in writing missionaries back into empire and, mostly, at elucidating their complex and shifting roles as para-colonial actors with interests of their own. Nuanced and balanced, the book is also beautifully crafted. * Eric Jennings, author of Vichy in the Tropics * This illuminating book explains how the political tensions between Catholics and Republicans that beset France were exported to its new colonies, with grave consequences for the subject populations. Covering a wide range of territories and examining new documents, J.P. Daughton paints a picture of a colonial enterprise tainted by hypocrisy and warped by the animosity between church and state. * Ruth Harris, Oxford University, author of Lourdes: Body and Spirit in the Secular Age * Daughton's book brings our attention to a wealth of archival material (mainly Catholic) and offers an important insight into the part played by Catholic missionaries in the expansion and consoildation of the French Empire. * Pascal Mercier French Studies *show more

About J. P. Daughton

J. P. Daughton is an assistant professor of history at Stanford University.show more

Rating details

23 ratings
3.69 out of 5 stars
5 22% (5)
4 35% (8)
3 35% (8)
2 9% (2)
1 0% (0)
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