This final paper asks you first to read and analyze three primary source passages (found at the bottom of this page) related to the French conquest of Algeria in the 19th century. Then, in a 4-5 page (double-spaced) paper, you must use those passages and other course materials from this semester to answer the following question(s):

Why did France invade and colonize Algeria during the mid-19th century, and how did the ideas and debates first introduced during the Revolution (starting 1789) shape France’s mission in Algeria? In answering this question, consider the similarities and differences between all three primary sources provided.

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In order to answer these questions, you must closely analyze evidence from all three primary source passages below, citing and quoting specific phrases or sentences where appropriate. Remember to consider the context of what was happening in France, Europe, and elsewhere during the period when each source was produced (1847, 1853, 1856).

You should also make connections to other class materials we have used this semester (other readings, lectures, etc). These materials can provide background context, and they can also help you explain the broader historical significance of your answer to the main question(s).

NOTE: No “outside” research or sources allowed. Use only materials we have covered in class this semester.

Please refer to these criteria for a strong paper:

Upload here on Canvas as a .doc/.docx file
Length: 4-5 pages, double-spaced
Standard formatting (Times New Roman, size 12 font, 1-inch margins).
Include your name and page numbers on the document.
When citing evidence from the three primary source texts below, simply insert parentheses with the speaker’s name, for example: (Suchet)
When citing evidence from other class materials, insert parentheses with name/author and page number if applicable, for example: (de Tocqueville, 63).
Note: your paper will be checked by TurnItIn for plagiarism when submitted.
Be sure to “set up” quotes before you add them (who is speaking, in what context, etc.); then follow your quotes with your own analysis (tell us how you understand this quote and how it helps you answer the paper’s main question)
Stick to the main question and make sure each of your paragraphs contributes something towards answering it.
Your paper should have an introduction paragraph and a conclusion paragraph – here are some tips for strong intros and conclusions. Your intro and conclusion should help explain how your answer to the question holds significance for our broader understanding of history (of France, Europe, North Africa, etc).
Paragraphs should start with a “topic sentence,” followed by specific points of evidence to back up that topic sentence – here are some tips for strong paragraphs.
Go back to your midterm and review the professor’s comments on it in order to think about how to improve your final. If you have any questions or need guidance based on those midterm comments, email the professor as soon as possible.
How will I grade your paper?

In addition to all of the details listed above, here is the rubric I’ll use to grade your papers.



Passage 1: Eugène Bodichon, from Etudes sur l’Algérie et l’Afrique (1847). Bodichon was trained as a medical doctor and was known as one of the most progressive French figures working in Algiers. While optimistic about France’s role in liberating enslaved peoples around the world, he saw Algerians as an obstacle to progress – a native people who would soon die out.

“He [an Arab] is the law of the strongest and the law of retaliation, of religious intolerance and the isolation of his coreligionists. He sanctions slavery, polygamy, castration, infibulations of women, despotism, servility within and hostility without. That is why we must combat him, we Christians who represent the preponderance of morality, who reject eunuchs and harems, and who carry with us the spirit of fraternity among all people, liberty for the strong and the weak, and universal benevolence…

In the state of nature, the wild dog, horse, and cow are instinctively the enemies of the domesticated dog, horse, and cow. This is a truth that is proven by numerous observations. It is such for the savage man and the civilized man. The first feels when in the company of the second, or even in the sight of the second, an instinctive antipathy, a natural aversion that sooner or later degenerates into hatred. Thus, the Moghrébins [North Africans] are our natural enemies because they will be barbarians and we will be civilized.”

Passage 2: Abbé Jacques Suchet, a Catholic priest leading his first mass in 1853 at the Church of Laghouat, Algeria. This church had been converted from a mosque following the brutally violent French campaign in 1852 that had left about 3,000 Algerians dead and the town of Laghouat depopulated by 80%.

“The Francs and the Crusaders, our valiant fathers, did the work of God in memorable combat in the Occident and Orient… Soldiers of France, you have not degenerated. In conquering Algeria, this new France, you also—do not doubt it—do the work of God. In pursuing the course of your victories over these proud children of Muhammad, masters of a large part of the globe, you extend Christian domination over the debris of Islamism, and even more than your fathers you accomplish here the work of God… Yes, your invincible sword has hewn the cross that shines throughout this country like a radiant sun, which will shed light and fertilize it by banishing the crescent, the lugubrious sign of night and sleep, image of the Moor. By this victory at Laghouat, the Eagle of France has flown audaciously farther in these countries than the Roman eagles; and the cross, doubtless for the first time, is planted and radiates in the middle of this desert, which it will make flower again.”

Passage 3: Auguste Margueritte, French military commander in Laghouat, reflecting in 1856 on French efforts in the region since the 1852 military campaign there.

“The submission of the indigenous populations of the [region] is now as complete as one could hope for. In the character of this submission there is more than passive obedience; in fact, one clearly observes a great satisfaction resulting from (1) a peaceful existence unknown to the Arabs before our domination; (2) a more just and equitable administration that works for all equally; (3) access to wells, corrals, and marketplaces which help commercial relations; (4) increased individual wealth… We must add to these causes of satisfaction those resulting from the modification of the false ideas that the Arabs had of our character, our manner of behaving, which they thought must be against their interests, their morals, their religion. Certainly the Arab character is very versatile; it seeks novelty, the marvelous, but it will transform itself under the influence of our domination and contact with our ideas. This transformation seems to us to have already begun, and we bring it to your attention in the anticipation and hope that it will increase daily.”


(Sources courtesy of Brower, A Desert Named Peace)

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