Every paragraph of this was a hard-hitter.
- First, how Jews came out of the ghettos after the French Revolution and essentially created secularism, cosmopolitanism in the cities across Europe.
- Then how French liberals supported colonization of Algeria, in the name of liberty and human rights.
“One of the founding fathers of liberalism, Tocqueville, pretty much set the tone in 1841, eleven years after the French army set foot in Algeria, and six before the territory was annexed by France: “I do not think that France could seriously think of leaving Algeria. The desertion it would thus create would appear to the eyes of the world as the sure announcement of its decadence Should France step back in front of such an action … it would seem as if it bent to its own powerlessness.” The second reason invoked by Tocqueville for colonizing Algeria was to bring the Enlightenment to the “ignorant races” inhabiting Africa. During most of the colonial era, it was this argument that was invoked by the progressive camp, not the reactionary one, in favor of colonization. Victor Hugo, the author of Les Misérables, favored colonization in the name of the Declaration of the Rights of Man.”