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Selection, exclusion and assimilation: the project lambert of 1931 on the reform of French immigration policy

journal contribution
posted on 2005-01-01, 00:00 authored by Gregory Burgess
The unemployment crisis of 1926-7 focused attention onto the question of immigration. Historians of this period have generally focused on the crisis of public policy and popular antipathies towards foreigners; more recently historians have become attuned to voices of racism. Less attention has been paid to attempts to redress the policy weaknesses through a new legislative regime on immigration. This paper reviews one such proposal, made by Charles Lambert, a deputy from the Rhone, in 1931. Instrumental in a revision of the naturalization law in 1927 to encourage the assimilation of foreigners through the acquisition of French citizenship, Lambert proposed a comprehensive statute on immigration to select “desirable” foreigners and exclude the “undesirables” to promote the assimilation of the “better” elements. The paper argues that his rationale betrays a profound fear of mounting French weakness in the face of economic and demographic decline, and grave anxieties for the future health of the French nation.


History

Journal

French history and civilization : papers from the George Rudé seminary

Volume

1

Pagination

197 - 205

Publisher

George Rudé Society

Location

Clayton, Vic.

ISSN

1832-9683

eISSN

1557-3605

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

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