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The French RepublicHistory, Values, Debates$
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Edward Ducler Berenson, Vincent Duclert, and Christophe Prochasson

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449017

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449017.001.0001

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(p.232) 26 Immigration
The French Republic

Mary Dewhurst Lewis

Cornell University Press

This chapter argues that the story of the modern French Republic is inseparable from the human saga of immigration. Debates over immigration reveal the contradictions of the republican project since the late nineteenth century: the impossible effort to reconcile democracy and imperialism, together with the empire's lingering aftershocks, and the tensions between national unity and pluralism, freedom of religious expression and laicity, the principle of equality and the reality of social distinctions. Immigration has raised fundamental questions about the very nature of French civic life, as the arrival and settlement of immigrants have repeatedly amplified the tension between the pluralism inherent in democracy and the unitary thrust of French republican ideology.

Keywords:   immigration, pluralism, democracy, imperialism, immigrants, modern French Republic

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