The History of French Colonial Policy (1870-1925)

The History of French Colonial Policy (1870-1925)

The History of French Colonial Policy (1870-1925)

The History of French Colonial Policy (1870-1925)

Excerpt

This book is an attempt to cover an obvious gap in modern European history. It is strange that, despite the importance of the subject, nothing exists on it in English, even in the slightest form. My own connection with the topic goes back a long way. During earlier researches on the Pacific, and while still in Australia and the Pacific, I worked out French policy in that part of the world. From that, I went on to submit it as a doctorial thesis at the University of London, working both in London and in France. I am particularly indebted to the resources of the Paris Libraries and Government Departments, and to those persons in Marseilles who gave me much information on the mercantile aspect and the connection of the mainland with North Africa. By that time the theme had outgrown the original idea of a doctorial thesis, and assumed its present form.

It seems fitting at this stage to point out that the book does not pretend to be an interpretation based on actual colonial experience: it is a piece of historical research and analysis, the main colonial element coming from the fact that the author himself has lived for most of his life in a colony and thus has some capability of understanding the colonial point of view. It would be foolish to assume that actually living in the French colonies would not result in a more living presentation: but, on the other hand, one can write of the Middle Ages without having lived in them. Such a work as this has to be considered in light of what is claimed for it--and the claim is for historical presentation and comparative analysis rather than for a narration of personal colonial experience.

The book itself divides into two parts, each with a distinct approach. The raw material is contained within a regional survey, which takes each colony in turn and gives the full details of its particular history and position. As against this, are the chapters in which general principles are discussed and conclusions drawn--chapters in which some knowledge of the events dealt with is assumed. These include all of Part I . . .

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