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By Sword and PlowFrance and the Conquest of Algeria$
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Jennifer E. Sessions

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801449758

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801449758.001.0001

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The Blood of Brothers

The Blood of Brothers

Bonapartism and the Popular Culture of Conquest

(p.125) 3 The Blood of Brothers
By Sword and Plow

Jennifer E. Sessions

Cornell University Press

This chapter considers the popular culture of the period, which offered French audiences a very different understanding of the war and helped create a will to empire founded on very different understandings of sovereignty and citizenship. The primary vehicles that brought the North African war to French audiences were the vaudeville theater, patriotic poetry and song, and popular imagery that spread the Napoleonic legend in postrevolutionary France. In their search for profits, the authors, artists, and publishers who disseminated the myths of popular Bonapartism incorporated the Algerian conquest into established Napoleonic topoi, even as they drew explicit comparisons between the Armée d'Afrique and the Napoleonic armies. But popular representations of the conquest began to change in the second decade of the war, as producers modified Bonapartist conventions to focus on the triumphs and sacrifices of the ordinary soldier instead of on heroic general officers. Rather than discrediting French domination, this shift provided new arguments for expanding French domination in Algeria and completing it with civilian colonization.

Keywords:   Algeria, France, Algerian conquest, Napoleon, French soldiers, colonization, Bonapartism

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