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Citizenship between Empire and NationRemaking France and French Africa, 1945-1960$
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Frederick Cooper

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691161310

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691161310.001.0001

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Becoming National

Becoming National

(p.372) Chapter 8 Becoming National
Citizenship between Empire and Nation

Frederick Cooper

Princeton University Press

This chapter expresses that with the independence of Senegal and the other former French territories in Africa, the question arose of how to allocate the people living in or linked to each territory to the nationalities that had been created. As former territories became independent, France was shedding a significant portion of its nationals, some of whom had claims to being French dating to the seventeenth century, others of whom had acquired French nationality with the conquests of the late nineteenth century, and most of whom had had the rights of French citizens since 1946. The French government was not eager to get rid of its overseas citizens, even if it wanted to rid itself of the burdens of colonies. As such, Michel Debré announced in the Assemblée Nationale the government's intention to let the citizens of France from all over the French Community “reclaim without other formality” the citizenship that they might be losing or had already lost.

Keywords:   French territories, nationalities, French nationality, French citizens, French government, overseas citizens, colonies, Michel Debré, French Community, citizenship

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