The genetics of the Cotentin Peninsula is being studied by the University of Leicester to investigate the possibility of Scandinavian ancestry in Normandy. French nationality has not meant automatic citizenship.
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Some categories of French people have been excluded, throughout the years, from full citizenship:. France was one of the first countries to implement denaturalization laws. Philosopher Giorgio Agamben has pointed out this fact that the French law which permitted denaturalization with regard to naturalized citizens of "enemy" origins was one of the first example of such legislation, which Nazi Germany later implemented with the Nuremberg Laws.
Furthermore, some authors who have insisted on the "crisis of the nation-state" allege that nationality and citizenship are becoming separate concepts. They show as example "international", " supranational citizenship" or " world citizenship " membership to international nongovernmental organizations such as Amnesty International or Greenpeace. This would indicate a path toward a " postnational citizenship".
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Beside this, modern citizenship is linked to civic participation also called positive freedom , which implies voting, demonstrations , petitions , activism , etc. Therefore, social exclusion may lead to deprivation of citizenship. In France, the conception of citizenship teeters between universalism and multiculturalism. French citizenship has been defined for a long time by three factors: integration, individual adherence , and the primacy of the soil jus soli.
Political integration which includes but is not limited to racial integration is based on voluntary policies which aims at creating a common identity, and the interiorization by each individual of a common cultural and historic legacy. Since in France, the state preceded the nation, voluntary policies have taken an important place in the creation of this common cultural identity. On the other hand, the interiorization of a common legacy is a slow process, which B. Villalba compares to acculturation.
According to him, "integration is therefore the result of a double will: the nation's will to create a common culture for all members of the nation, and the communities' will living in the nation to recognize the legitimacy of this common culture". Villalba thus shows that any democratic nation characterize itself by its project of transcending all forms of particular memberships whether biological — or seen as such,  ethnic, historic, economic, social, religious or cultural.
The citizen thus emancipates himself from the particularisms of identity which characterize himself to attain a more "universal" dimension. He is a citizen, before being a member of a community or of a social class .
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Therefore, according to Villalba, "a democratic nation is, by definition, multicultural as it gathers various populations, which differs by their regional origins Auvergnats, Bretons, Corsicans or Lorrains Ernest Renan described this republican conception in his famous 11 March conference at the Sorbonne , Qu'est-ce qu'une nation?
A nation-state is not composed of a single homogeneous ethnic group a community , but of a variety of individuals willing to live together.
Renan's non-essentialist definition, which forms the basis of the French Republic, is diametrically opposed to the German ethnic conception of a nation, first formulated by Fichte. The German conception is usually qualified in France as an "exclusive" view of nationality, as it includes only the members of the corresponding ethnic group, while the Republican conception thinks itself as universalist , following the Enlightenment 's ideals officialized by the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen. While Ernest Renan's arguments were also concerned by the debate about the disputed Alsace-Lorraine region, he said that not only one referendum had to be made in order to ask the opinions of the Alsatian people, but also a "daily referendum" should be made concerning all those citizens wanting to live in the French nation-state.
Henceforth, contrary to the German definition of a nation based on objective criteria, such as race or ethnic group , which may be defined by the existence of a common language , among other criteria, the people of France is defined as all the people living in the French nation-state and willing to do so, i. This definition of the French nation-state contradicts the common opinion , which holds that the concept of the French people identifies with one particular ethnic group. This contradiction explains the seeming paradox encountered when attempting to identify a "French ethnic group ": the French conception of the nation is radically opposed to and was thought in opposition to the German conception of the Volk "ethnic group".
This universalist conception of citizenship and of the nation has influenced the French model of colonization. While the British empire preferred an indirect rule system, which did not mix the colonized people with the colonists, the French Republic theoretically chose an integration system and considered parts of its colonial empire as France itself and its population as French people. This ideal also led to the ironic sentence which opened up history textbooks in France as in its colonies: "Our ancestors the Gauls However, this universal ideal, rooted in the French Revolution "bringing liberty to the people" , suffered from the racism that impregnated colonialism.
Liberal author Tocqueville himself considered that the British model was better adapted than the French one and did not balk before the cruelties of General Bugeaud 's conquest. He went as far as advocating racial segregation there. This paradoxical tension between the universalist conception of the French nation and the racism inherent in colonization is most obvious in Ernest Renan himself, who went as far as advocating a kind of eugenics. In a 26 June letter to Arthur de Gobineau , author of An Essay on the Inequality of the Human Races —55 and one of the first theoreticians of " scientific racism ", he wrote:.
The French mind turns little to ethnographic considerations: France has little belief in race, [ Does that mean total decadence? Yes, certainly from the standpoint of the stability of institutions, the originality of character, a certain nobility that I hold to be the most important factor in the conjunction of human affairs. But also what compensations! No doubt if the noble elements mixed in the blood of a people happened to disappear completely, then there would be a demeaning equality, like that of some Eastern states and in some respects China.
But it is in fact a very small amount of noble blood put into the circulation of a people that is enough to ennoble them, at least as to historical effects; this is how France, a nation so completely fallen into commonness, in practice plays on the world stage the role of a gentleman. Setting aside the quite inferior races whose intermingling with the great races would only poison the human species, I see in the future a homogeneous humanity. Feudal law recognized personal allegeance to the sovereign , but the subjects of the sovereign were defined by their birthland.
According to the 3 September Constitution, those who are born in France from a foreign father and have fixed their residency in France, or those who, after being born in foreign country from a French father, have come to France and have sworn their civil oath, become French citizens. Because of the war, distrust toward foreigners led to the obligation on the part of this last category to swear a civil oath in order to gain French nationality.
However, the Napoleonic Code would insist on jus sanguinis "right of blood". However, according to Patrick Weil , it was not "ethnically motivated" but "only meant that family links transmitted by the pater familias had become more important than subjecthood". With the 7 February law, voted during the Second Republic — , "double jus soli " was introduced in French legislation, combining birth origin with paternity. Thus, it gave French nationality to the child of a foreigner, if both are born in France, except if the year following his coming of age he reclaims a foreign nationality thus prohibiting dual nationality.
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This law was in part passed because of conscription concerns. This system more or less remained the same until the reform of the Nationality Code, created by the 9 January law. The reform, which defines the Nationality law , is deemed controversial by some. It commits young people born in France to foreign parents to solicit French nationality between the ages of 16 and This has been criticized, some arguing that the principle of equality before the law was not complied with, since French nationality was no longer given automatically at birth, as in the classic "double jus soli " law, but was to be requested when approaching adulthood.
Henceforth, children born in France from French parents were differentiated from children born in France from foreign parents, creating a hiatus between these two categories. The reform was prepared by the Pasqua laws.
The first Pasqua law, in , restricts residence conditions in France and facilitates expulsions. With this law, a child born in France from foreign parents can only acquire French nationality if he or she demonstrates his or her will to do so, at age 16, by proving that he or she has been schooled in France and has a sufficient command of the French language. This new policy is symbolized by the expulsion of Malians by charter. The second Pasqua law on "immigration control" makes regularisation of illegal aliens more difficult and, in general, residence conditions for foreigners much harder.
Charles Pasqua, who said on 11 May "Some have reproached me of having used a plane, but, if necessary, I will use trains", declared to Le Monde on 2 June "France has been a country of immigration, it doesn't want to be one anymore. Therefore, modern French nationality law combines four factors: paternality or 'right of blood', birth origin, residency and the will expressed by a foreigner, or a person born in France to foreign parents, to become French. The Maastricht Treaty introduced the concept of European citizenship , which comes in addition to national citizenships.
By definition, a " foreigner " is someone who does not have French nationality.
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Therefore, it is not a synonym of " immigrant ", as a foreigner may be born in France. On the other hand, a Frenchman born abroad may be considered an immigrant e. In most of the cases, however, a foreigner is an immigrant, and vice versa. They either benefit from legal sojourn in France, which, after a residency of ten years, makes it possible to ask for naturalisation. Some argue that this privation of nationality and citizenship does not square with their contribution to the national economic efforts, and thus to economic growth. The INSEE does not collect data about language, religion, or ethnicity — on the principle of the secular and unitary nature of the French Republic.
It is said by some [ who? As of , the French national institute of statistics INSEE estimated that 5,3 million foreign-born immigrants and 6,5 million direct descendants of immigrants born in France with at least one immigrant parent lived in France representing a total of Among them, about 5,5 million are of European origin and 4 million of North African origin. Between and , 1 million people with French passports emigrated to other countries.
There are nearly seven million French speakers out of nine to ten million people of French and partial French ancestry in Canada. The Canadian province of Quebec census population of 7,, , where more than 95 percent of the people speak French as either their first, second or even third language, is the center of French life on the Western side of the Atlantic; however, French settlement began further east, in Acadia. Quebec is home to vibrant French-language arts, media, and learning. There are sizable French-Canadian communities scattered throughout the other provinces of Canada, particularly in Ontario , which has about 1 million people with French ancestry who have French as their mother tongue , Manitoba , and New Brunswick , which is the only fully bilingual province and is 33 percent Acadian.
The United States is home to an estimated 13 to 16 million people of French descent , or 4 to 5 percent of the US population, particularly in Louisiana , New England and parts of the Midwest. The French community in Louisiana consists of the Creoles , the descendants of the French settlers who arrived when Louisiana was a French colony, and the Cajuns , the descendants of Acadian refugees from the Great Upheaval.
Very few creoles remain in New Orleans in present times. In New England, the vast majority of French immigration in the 19th and early 20th centuries came not from France, but from over the border in Quebec, the Quebec diaspora. These French Canadians arrived to work in the timber mills and textile plants that appeared throughout the region as it industrialized. Today, nearly 25 percent of the population of New Hampshire is of French ancestry, the highest of any state. English and Dutch colonies of pre-Revolutionary America attracted large numbers of French Huguenots fleeing religious persecution in France.
In the Dutch colony of New Netherland that later became New York, northern New Jersey, and western Connecticut , these French Huguenots, nearly identical in religion to the Dutch Reformed Church , assimilated almost completely into the Dutch community. Huguenots appeared in all of the English colonies and likewise assimilated.
Even though this mass settlement approached the size of the settlement of the French settlement of Quebec, it has assimilated into the English-speaking mainstream to a much greater extent than other French colonial groups and has left few traces of cultural influence. New Rochelle, New York is named after La Rochelle , France, one of the sources of Huguenot emigration to the Dutch colony; and New Paltz, New York , is one of the few non-urban settlements of Huguenots that did not undergo massive recycling of buildings in the usual redevelopment of such older, larger cities as New York City or New Rochelle.
French Argentines form the third largest ancestry group in Argentina , after Italian and Spanish Argentines.
Most of French immigrants came to Argentina between and , though considerable immigration continued until the late s. Today around 6. With something akin to Latin culture, the French immigrants quickly assimilated into mainstream Argentine society. French Uruguayans form the third largest ancestry group in Uruguay , after Italian and Spanish Uruguayans.
During the first half of the 19th century, Uruguay received mostly French immigrants to South America. It constituted back then the second receptor of French immigrants in the New World after the United States. Today, there are an estimated at , French descendants in Uruguay. French migration to the United Kingdom is a phenomenon that has occurred at various points in history.