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States and Power in AfricaComparative Lessons in Authority and Control$
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Jeffrey Herbst

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691164137

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691164137.001.0001

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The Political Kingdom in Independent Africa

The Political Kingdom in Independent Africa

(p.97) Four The Political Kingdom in Independent Africa
States and Power in Africa

Jeffrey Herbst

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the most revolutionary aspect of Africa’s independence: the attempt to build a large number of states during peace, with particular emphasis on the boundaries and state system that the Africans constructed for themselves. After gaining independence in the early 1960s, African leaders were faced with a major dilemma. If the states, with their colonial power gradients, were to change, the new leaders would have to give up many of the newly tasted benefits of power and face considerable uncertainty about their own fate and the fate of their nations. The chapter considers how leaders in independent Africa confronted the problem of how to extend power over their territories given the incomplete and highly variable administrative systems they inherited from the Europeans.

Keywords:   states, peace, boundaries, power, independent Africa, Europe

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