Past Precedents and Colonial Rule

Thomas Martin

in Empires of Intelligence

Published by University of California Press

Published in print September 2007 | ISBN: 9780520251175
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520933743 | DOI:
Past Precedents and Colonial Rule

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  • Modern History (1700 to 1945)


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This chapter returns us to the question of how colonial governments made policy choices about the treatment of subject populations, particularly in circumstances where imperial security was at stake. The role of what might be termed “lessons from the past” in determining these choices is central to the answer. So, too, is the part played by intelligence providers, whose past experiences provided frames of reference for policy makers, shaping the ways in which these lessons were understood by politicians and senior colonial officials. The chapter thus connects past precedents and the dilemmas of colonial security in the interwar period. Colonial authorities recognized the organizational power of Islam and the centrality of Shari'a law to Muslims' lives. However, colonialism imposed requirements for political loyalty, as well as legal systems based on the ownership and sale of private property, that were at variance with customary practices and Islam's codes of behavior.

Keywords: governments; populations; security; intelligence; providers; Islam; Shari'a law; colonialism; codes; behavior

Chapter.  12108 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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