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History, Rise of Algerian Nationalism

Ferhat Abbas, French National Assembly, parliamentary assembly, French government, exile

Algerian nationalism developed after World War I (1914-1918) among groups of Muslims who at first wanted only equality with the Europeans. Ferhat Abbas, Ahmed Messali Hadj, and Shaykh Abd al-Hamid Ben Badis were among the most prominent Algerian leaders in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1936 the French government devised a plan providing full equality for Muslim war veterans and professionals, but it was scuttled by colonial deputies in the French National Assembly. Frustrated by the settlers’ stubborn resistance to reform, Abbas joined forces with Messali during World War II (1939-1945) to organize a militant anti-French party, the Friends of the Manifesto and Liberty. After the war the Algerian Organic Statute (1947) set up Algeria’s first parliamentary assembly. The bicameral (two-chambered) body had separate houses (“colleges”) for settlers (and a few select Algerians) and indigenous Algerians. The political power of the assembly, along with that of the governor-general, was weighted in favor of settler interests. The system satisfied neither Algerians nor settlers and proved ineffective. The more militant, younger nationalists were by then beginning to favor armed revolt. In the early 1950s many went into hiding or exile.

Article key phrases:

Ferhat Abbas, French National Assembly, parliamentary assembly, French government, exile, Manifesto, governor-general, Europeans, World War, political power, Liberty, equality, colleges, reform, forces, plan, Friends, body, professionals, system


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