Originally published 08/15/2013
Credit: Wiki Commons/HNN staff.The French and British empires historically had different premises, with the former (in the Roman tradition) focused more on culture and the latter more on race, hierarchy, and family. This difference took many forms: one finds meals of bifteck-frites in tiny towns in the former French colony of Niger but little English food even in the cities of neighboring Nigeria. Léopold Senghor of Senegal became a significant French poet and cultural figure whereas Rabindranath Tagore of Bengal could never transcend his Indian origins.Likewise, French and British politicians responded to the initial post-World War II immigration of non-Western peoples to their countries in characteristically different ways. Charles de Gaulle, arguably the most important leader of France since Napoleon, focused on culture while Enoch Powell, a rising star in the United Kingdom, emphasized race. Here are their speeches on the topic, starting with de Gaulle (1890-1970), who spoke on March 5, 1959:
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