Mill the original essay in French is included in OC M 2. At such times great characters stand 62 Tocqueville to Louis de Kergorlay, October 18, , in Selected Letters, I do not have to tell you, my dear Mill, that the greatest malady that threatens a people organized as we are is the gradual softening of mores, the abasement of the mind, the mediocrity of tastes; that is where the great dangers of the future lie. Benjamin Constant, The spirit of conquest Ottoman rule left Algerian society fragmented, and some local tribes appeared receptive to cultivating shared commercial interests with the French. Penguin Books, , Alexis de Tocqueville, Second letter on Algeria
When, in , Constant wrote The spirit of conquest and usurpation , the Bonapartist threat was immediate. Constant wrote as one following a strong tradition of cosmopolitanism and anti-imperialism. A nomadic lifestyle, for example, was greatly looked down upon. Indeed, Tocqueville appears to have learned more from Napoleon than perhaps he was willing to admit. I believe firmly that our contemporaries can make us great as well as prosperous, but only on the condition that we remain free. Letter to Royer-Collard, 15 August His first published writings on Algeria, written in as he sought a seat in parliament, envisioned an Algerian colony as a source of glory for France, but also expressed a hope for eventual intermarriage with Arabs and amalgamation of the two peoples into a distinct whole.
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Liberalism and empire: Tocqueville on Algeria
If the complex dynamic of the virtue political participation, liberty, honor, and self-respect were out of reach for the France of his day, only something quite dramatic could serve as an alternative, and as a means of essau the possibility of such virtue. Since their barbarism stemmed from something below the level of politics or institutions, it was a fact of culture the French could not undo.
As he wrote to Henry Reeve, I can only rejoice in the thought of an invasion of the Celestial Empire by a European army. This lacuna in his argument suggests that, in his writings on empire, Tocqueville was often guided by wishful thinking rather than by the careful sociological analysis, the scrutiny of specific causal mechanisms essag politics, for which he was justly famous.
When the Revolution happened, one would have searched most of France in vain for ten men who had the habit of acting in common in an orderly way, and taking care of their own defense themselves; only the central power was supposed to take care of it, so that the central power, fallen from the hands of the royal government into the hands of a sovereign and irresponsible assembly, and changed from good-natured to terrible, found nothing which could stop, or even briefly slow it down.
Tocqueville and Terror in Algeria.
Perhaps most strikingly, then, the prevailing accounts of liberal imperialism algerua to capture the great shifts in attitudes toward imperialism and the non-European world that occurred between about and Sessions, By Sword and Plow: Mill, who believed many local cultures would have to be effaced and local loyalties broken down in the service of a national state.
These half-savage African countries are now undergoing a social development very much like that which took place in Europe at the end of the Middle Ages. For a description of this phenomenon, as well as one of the best recent accounts of the role that empire played in the consolidation of the British nation, see Linda Colley, Britons: To Tocqueville, all people as equals have a right to be free, yet not all people are equal.
By alyeria Algeria at whatever cost, France would partake in the greatest source of glory in democratic modernity: The casus belli was a diplomatic incident that happened three years prior to that: On this view, nineteenth-century Britain and the French mission civilisatrice serve as typical examples of the imperialist logic of liberal political thought. The question how imperial conquest would affect this dangerous social dynamic, however, was hotly contested.
Cornell University Press,12— In contrast, the number of Algerians killed, often directly through massacres such as those at Dahra, exceeded tens of thousands.
On the question of empire, each was in a sense representative of his age: Another argument might be that liberalism is inherently anti-imperialist, given its commitment to human equality and self-government: This paper has discussed a key moment in the French side of this story. Spearheaded by institutions like the bureaux https: University of Delaware Press, Edited and translated by Michael Brett.
Ironically, the word is derived from the Algerian Arabic term for a Bedouin raid. Future citations to this edition will be given in-text and abbreviated as DA. You can follow him on Twitter: The two traveled the region for a month, interviewing General Bugeaud, his subordinates, and local Arabists.
Essay on Algeria | The Core Curriculum
James provides what is still one of the best accounts of the ambivalence of the French Revolutionaries regarding political independence and self-determination for the non-white residents, including mixed-race freemen, of the French colonies. Bard College, on 01 Feb at He saw the problem of centralization, rather, as at root a technical one: His first published writings on Algeria, written in as he sought a seat in parliament, envisioned an Algerian colony as a source of glory for France, but also expressed a hope for eventual intermarriage with A,geria and amalgamation of the two peoples into a distinct whole.
Elster, Political psychology Algeriz Cambridge University Press, ,