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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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Children and the State

Children and the State

(p.315) 35 Children and the State
The French Republic

Ivan Jablonka

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines state intervention in family affairs—particularly in matters of child welfare. From the eighteenth century on, three interwoven functions fell to the state: the physical protection of minors, their preparation for the future through schools, and material assistance upon the death of their parents or other threats to their survival. The French Revolution had introduced the idea that the state could no longer afford to leave the child in the hands of his relations alone. Thus, in a democracy, the child is king: from the moment the national will replaced a single will, the people became sovereign and the child the sovereign of the future. In this vein, the chapter shows how, through the protection and the education of minors, the republican welfare state works toward national cohesion through the assimilation of both individuals and territories.

Keywords:   child welfare, minors, children, republican welfare state, national cohesion, child education, child protection, family affairs

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