The Case Of France And West Africa By Alice L Conklin

1288 Words6 Pages
In Colonialism and Human Rights, A Contradiction in Terms? The Case of France and West Africa by Alice L Conklin revisits the cultural, political, and ethical implications of Western colonization and how the French empire justified expansion. The purpose of this study is to reanalyze the French government's actions to colonize uncivilized countries in Africa. The reason for writing the article was to weigh in on this discussion of France’s involvement in colonization. This topic has become popular for historians to discuss because the ramifications are present in today's society. Conklin is a historian that specializes in Modern France in the twentieth century and uses this to create a critical analysis of this overlooked period of history.…show more content…
This fight for land intensified and France began to use military force to abolish the powers of local chiefs. Conklin highlights the experience felt by the African country Dakar who was harshly treated by France. The native people of Dakar were exposed to the brutal rule of France and also became enslaved to the nation. Conklin uses this information to condemn the French government and says, “The government assumed both to be entrenched institutions in pre-colonial African society, and it did not hesitate to attack either in the name of a higher republican morality. Its actions marked a break with the views and policies of colonial officials in France's much more limited territories under the Second Empire.”(424) France did not uphold itself to the regulations that they had intended to stick to when colonizing Africa. This statement made by Conklin is very realistic due to the inequality of power that France had over civilizations in Africa. As an established nation France had advancements in weaponry, an established army, and endless supplies which resulted in an uneven match for Dakar. If need be France could wipe out their population, but enslaving them could educate them to adopt French culture and ideas. As France continued to colonize Africa they had to find new ways to convert natives to adopt French culture due to anti slavery laws. France planned to wipe out chiefs or any relics that once represented old African culture. Conklin provides evidence that supports the side of the natives in Africa that had to deal with this unfair treatment. This aligns with her previously stated reasoning that France’s actions are immoral. Conklin quoted a Dakar native and he says, “‘It was "a splendid massacre," as one Dakar official noted after World War I; the directive sent down "was to liberate the slaves to
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