Wi: France Is More Open To Colonial Settlement?

Otl, the downfall of New France was its minuscule population compared to the 13 colonies and what would be canada. So what if France took a page out of the British book and lets those who want to, head off to the new world?

I imagine a good POD would be a proof of concept for the Hugonot colonies working out/not being conquered. This in turn, gives France land in northern Brazil and Florida. N. Brazil (let's call it New Burgundy, unless someone else has a better name) would likely be the better colony for the immediate future, but Florida is in a good position to expand into Carolina and the Mississippi, especially if France is sending dissenters and the occasional heretic, with entrepreneurial bretons and aquitainians coming of their own accord.

However, I think that France would prioritize Catholics for the areas beyond initial settlement, so as to limit the power of the huguenots, at least for a while.

This policy and successful hugonot settlement program has shifted European politics seriously, but how much?
 
The biggest difference between Britain and France was that Britain had a large class of merchants/capitalists who could invest in and govern colonies for themselves without much government interference. The Royal Government had quite a habit of deliberately not being too involved in the governance of their own colonies (this was called salutary neglect in America). Heck, the conquest of India was almost entirely a private venture.

In France, however, power was almost entirely in the hands of the central government, who could only devote so much time to colonial ventures. The British system of founding-and-forgetting would have made no sense to the French monarchy, who founded colonies strictly to serve their own interests. Allowing private investors to create a colony, and subsequently allowing peasants to freely migrate to these colonies, would have required levels of freedom that the French monarchy would have considered simply unacceptable.

In order to have French colonies like the British, you would need the centuries of liberal/mercantile reforms that occurred in England since the 1500s at the latest. This would result in an unrecognizable France and Europe.
 
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The biggest difference between Britain and France was that Britain had a large class of merchants/capitalists who could invest in and govern colonies for themselves without much government interference. The Royal Government had quite a habit of deliberately not being too involved in the governance of their own colonies. Heck, the conquest of India was almost entirely a private venture.
I see your point but disagree.
I'd say the big issue is that France went into the Industrial Revolution later. As such, it needed its agricultural population, including for internal colonisation and valorisation of marginal spaces. France is massive after all!
Second, France needs men for its navy but also to guard its land frontiers. While the UK could invest in naval ventures, France had to do that AND guard the land. That's a lot of soldiers needed.

Also, sure the BEC was private but it was also heavily bankrolled by the state, so at a minimum it's crony capitalism
 
I think the major difference between French and British North American colonies was the intent behind them. France was focused on trading with the natives for goods such as fur, while the British wanted to create settler colonies with cash crop plantations. The latter necessitates a larger population.
 
The biggest difference between Britain and France was that Britain had a large class of merchants/capitalists who could invest in and govern colonies for themselves without much government interference. The Royal Government had quite a habit of deliberately not being too involved in the governance of their own colonies (this was called salutary neglect in America). Heck, the conquest of India was almost entirely a private venture.

In France, however, power was almost entirely in the hands of the central government, who could only devote so much time to colonial ventures. The British system of founding-and-forgetting would have made no sense to the French monarchy, who founded colonies strictly to serve their own interests. Allowing private investors to create a colony, and subsequently allowing peasants to freely migrate to these colonies, would have required levels of freedom that the French monarchy would have considered simply unacceptable.

In order to have French colonies like the British, you would need the centuries of liberal/mercantile reforms that occurred in England since the 1500s at the latest. This would result in an unrecognizable France and Europe.
In this era, there are 80-100 million Europeans and 20 million of them are French. France absolutely can colonize a lot more than it did. It has a substantial merchant class. The only reason it did not send more colonists was that it was not a very high priority for the government, which saw colonies mostly as a way to make money.

This is not unique to France. The Dutch and Swedish did not send many colonists either. Spain and Portugal sent more than France but not as many as the British, who really were the outlier. Settler colonies were not very profitable and required a major commitment as early settlers died in huge numbers. The British for various reasons made that commitment but this was exceptional.
 
Perhaps grant powers in the colonies to nobility and give them grants to create realms and domains therein. I am not sure what reason there is to have nobles carve out all sorts of new domains, but it would create an incentive for feudal lords to send subjects there.
 
This is a pretty big subject with a great deal of diversity in a thorough response. So, instead of giving a thorough response, I'll make some broad generalizations that might help lead someone to more helpful answers. Since it’s beginning, French colonialism in New Franc less successful and enduring than Spanish or British colonialism because it couldn't sustain popular homeland support.

British colonialism really took off in the late 1500s, peaked late in the 19th Century, and took a precipitous nosedive in the wake of World War II. Spanish colonialism began a little bit sooner, peaked much earlier, and was more or less obsolete before the 20th century began. France, however, was somewhere in the middle. It began fairly early in New France and parts of the Caribbean, but France's global footprint never really grew commensurately with its influence over Europe. There were a number of factors involved, but considering how powerful France was compared to Spain or Britain in the early modern period, it would seem like they should have had more holdings in the New World or in Asia.

To generalize, New France was regarded as a lazy cash cow for France, not as a serious expansion of its frontiers. Cities like Québec, New Orleans, and Montréal are gorgeous, historic, and impressively European, so it might be tempting to point to them as examples of France trying to settle Canada. There's some truth, but remember how small of an area those cities represent compared to how much they were governing. Huge swaths of the American Midwest, the Great Lakes region, the entirety of the Mississippi River basin... those were just hunting grounds. They'd be mapped out by Voyageurs in enormous canoes, the indigenous languages would be studied by some Jesuits, and a couple outposts would be installed to facilitate trade. Yet there were no migrations of families and slaves like there were to Jamestown or Plymouth or Havana.

The overwhelming majority of Frenchmen to come over were just that--men, on personal adventure, who wished to make their fortunes by trapping furs. Finally, lucrative economic opportunities in New France were limited to a chosen few under a monopolistic system under royal fiat. Under this system, colonists were forbidden to settle west of Montreal to protect the fur trade monopoly.

Actually the French were generally more in control of their colonies than the British were, which is part of the problem. French control was always from the centre, British control was pushed to the periphery, this is partially from the lessons of the American revolution, and partially because they left empire building to private organisations like the EIC (or even before that, out and out pirates), whereas the French, even when they set up trading companies, were still controlled by the Crown or later the French state. The outcome was that the British were often expanding territory before anyone in power even knew it had happened,

The manorial system of New France was the semi-feudal system of land tenure used in the North American French colonial empire. Both in nominal and legal terms, all French territorial claims in North America belonged to the French king. French monarchs did not impose feudal land tenure on New France and the king’s actual attachment to these lands was virtually non-existent. Instead, landlords were allotted land holdings known as manors and presided over the French colonial agricultural system in North America.

Actually the French were generally more in control of their colonies than the British were, which is part of the problem. French control was always from the centre, British control was pushed to the periphery, this is partially from the lessons of the American revolution, and partially because they left empire building to private organisations like the EIC (or even before that, out and out pirates), whereas the French, even when they set up trading companies, were still controlled by the Crown or later the French state. The outcome was that the British were often expanding territory before anyone in power even knew it had happened,

So, French colonialism didn't "work" because it didn't invest very much into moving France into its territories, it simply focused on sucking resources out of the territories. One factor behind this is that there was never much impetus for French people to suddenly up and move to a new continent. Spanish noble families were motivated to move away because there were limited opportunities for economic growth in the Iberian Peninsula at that time; it didn't have the raw ingredients for a solid manufacturing economy, and agriculture is boring. England was becoming overcrowded and suffering from constant religious infighting, so it had no shortage of people willing to leave it behind. France, though, had a fairly stable agricultural economy with a centralized monarchy that was reasonably stable. People in France had their quotidian grievances against the king and their way of life, but nothing so severe that they would chuck it all and take a boat to the other side of the world.

The only religious group that might have wanted to escape France to live their dissident religion freely might have been the huguenots (protestants), but they were not allowed to emigrate to New France, reason why they moved en masse to the British colonies instead...

Finally while it was true that British naval domination was a key factor in Britain’s relative success in comparison to France, that domination was effectively a response to early French (and Dutch) dominance in the Empire business; it was France, not Britain, who were the dominant power up until the Seven Years’ War.

So, to sum up.
- have a less stable France and more incentives to leave
- send more women into Nouvelle France (historically 1/5 were women)
- exile the Huguenots to Nouvelle France (I wrote about it somewhere else in the forum)
- less early friendliness with the natives
- avoid a centralized control and the creation of monopolies
- abolish the seigneurie system as early as possible
- no stupid settlement laws blocking colonization
- move further to the south to keep Ohio river and valley
- reinforce Fort Carillon, later named Fort Ticonderoga
- improve Louisbourg Forteress and fortify all Nova Scotia
- create a lot of forts along the Saint Laurent
- build more forts between Montreal and the British
- set a network of forts, not only along waterways
- start early before the Seven Years war and win it
- expell or drastically reduce the size of British involvement in North America
- lose Haïti or other Caribbean colonies
- focus on Nouvelle France
- etc.
 
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In this era, there are 80-100 million Europeans and 20 million of them are French. France absolutely can colonize a lot more than it did. It has a substantial merchant class. The only reason it did not send more colonists was that it was not a very high priority for the government, which saw colonies mostly as a way to make money.

This is not unique to France. The Dutch and Swedish did not send many colonists either. Spain and Portugal sent more than France but not as many as the British, who really were the outlier. Settler colonies were not very profitable and required a major commitment as early settlers died in huge numbers. The British for various reasons made that commitment but this was exceptional.
I don't disagree. In fact, it seems like we are making the same point. However, the "various reasons" you describe are basically due to a more freer merchant class in Britain. French merchants were under strict government oversight and could have the terms of their charters changed or revoked at the government's whim. Compare this to the joint stock companies of Britain, who, despite having strong financial ties to the British government, were rarely under their direct control. Colonies could thus grow and prosper without government directives...at least until the government DID try to exert stronger control, at which point the colonies promptly declared independence.
 
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In this era, there are 80-100 million Europeans and 20 million of them are French. France absolutely can colonize a lot more than it did. It has a substantial merchant class. The only reason it did not send more colonists was that it was not a very high priority for the government, which saw colonies mostly as a way to make money.

This is not unique to France. The Dutch and Swedish did not send many colonists either. Spain and Portugal sent more than France but not as many as the British, who really were the outlier. Settler colonies were not very profitable and required a major commitment as early settlers died in huge numbers. The British for various reasons made that commitment but this was exceptional.
Actually the Portuguese sent more colonist to Brazil than England sent to 13 colonies.
 
There is another reason why there were more British immigrants. Convicts were offered the choice of prison or being shipped to the colonies. With the harsh conditions in British prison, being shipped to the colonies was a lot better. I read somewhere that Ben Franklin though that the colonies should return the favor by sending rattlesnakes to England.

Also many poor people accepted being sold as indentured servants and workers in exchange passage to the colonies. Ships captains used this as a way to take advantage of available space on their ships and make some money.
 
Part of the problem is that France was constantly at war and/or broke, so it may have had the material/human resources, but it lacked the will and money.
France had interest in increasing settlement of New France, but had limited funds/time/enthusiasm in accomplishing that goal.

However, accepting the premise of the OP, instead of arguing why France couldn't have/ why they didn't, etc, let's examine the results.

A different Huguenot policy has massive consequences. If France is more accommodating toward them, with less persecution, you don't have the massive diaspora from the revocation of Edict of Nantes leading to weakening of France while strengthening everyone else, while escalating the anti French Catholic hysteria. That possibly has massive repercussions on the Glorious Revolution.

A stronger footprint in New France means altered relations with the natives, although there's still plenty of room for both of them...for a while.
A stronger footprint means France has an easier time defending it. There's going to be a large population difference between French and British North America, but New France only has to get large enough to be a deterrent. OTL, it didn't get that big, but it wouldn't have been too much longer. Speed up the settlement, and by the time Britain is in a position to press the matter, New France will have a population to resist.
 
Part of the problem is that France was constantly at war and/or broke, so it may have had the material/human resources, but it lacked the will and money.
France had interest in increasing settlement of New France, but had limited funds/time/enthusiasm in accomplishing that goal.

However, accepting the premise of the OP, instead of arguing why France couldn't have/ why they didn't, etc, let's examine the results.

A different Huguenot policy has massive consequences. If France is more accommodating toward them, with less persecution, you don't have the massive diaspora from the revocation of Edict of Nantes leading to weakening of France while strengthening everyone else, while escalating the anti French Catholic hysteria. That possibly has massive repercussions on the Glorious Revolution.

A stronger footprint in New France means altered relations with the natives, although there's still plenty of room for both of them...for a while.
A stronger footprint means France has an easier time defending it. There's going to be a large population difference between French and British North America, but New France only has to get large enough to be a deterrent. OTL, it didn't get that big, but it wouldn't have been too much longer. Speed up the settlement, and by the time Britain is in a position to press the matter, New France will have a population to resist.
It does not look like the ordinary French had been too interested in emigration: the peasants could be in a lousy shape economically but most of them had at least some land they owned (or allowed to use) and the colonies could not survive exclusively on the city dwellers. “Nobility heavy” model worked for plantation style economy on the islands and even then with some caveats but was it practical for most of the French Louisiana? So, in an absence of a massive influx of the farmers, how these colonies would be populated?

“Huguenots” is an abstract notion and most of those who left France after cancellation of the Edict of France probably were not peasants. Anyway, this was probably almost too late.

Government tried a forced settlement but it seems that (rather surprisingly) there were not enough whores and petty criminals to provide Louisiana with an adequate population and, anyway, it is rather difficult to imagine chevalier des Grieux and Manon Lescaut as a farmer family. 😂
 
Under Champlain hundreds of convicts and women who had fallen were sent to New France. Majority of the convicts like in England were those in debt, who had run afoul of local magistrate or noble rather than hardened criminal. Those usually had the whereabouts to avoid prison.

so even if French settlement had continued at previous level under Champlain with natural high growth of French in New France you could of had a population of 500,000 to 1 million instead of 65,000 at time of 7 year war. With settlement we’ll into what was now Ontario.

another factor in France favor would of been that Acadia could of had close to 100,000 people also making its conquest harder.
 
Under Champlain hundreds of convicts and women who had fallen were sent to New France. Majority of the convicts like in England were those in debt, who had run afoul of local magistrate or noble rather than hardened criminal. Those usually had the whereabouts to avoid prison.

so even if French settlement had continued at previous level under Champlain with natural high growth of French in New France you could of had a population of 500,000 to 1 million instead of 65,000 at time of 7 year war. With settlement we’ll into what was now Ontario.

another factor in France favor would of been that Acadia could of had close to 100,000 people also making its conquest harder.
I’m afraid that century and a half would not be enough to breed realistically from few hundreds to half a million. The same goes for the administrative measures: with the population of approximately 20M by 1700, it is rather difficult to assume that France had the whores numbered by the hundreds of thousands (and, anyway, majority of them could not be deported without causing major public unhappiness or even a revolt). 🤪

Not to mention that all these whores, pickpockets and card sharps had to be taught at least elementary farming skills and to be provided with a livestock, agricultural implements and many other things before they turn into a self-sustainable population.
 
I’m afraid that century and a half would not be enough to breed realistically from few hundreds to half a million. The same goes for the administrative measures: with the population of approximately 20M by 1700, it is rather difficult to assume that France had the whores numbered by the hundreds of thousands (and, anyway, majority of them could not be deported without causing major public unhappiness or even a revolt). 🤪

Not to mention that all these whores, pickpockets and card sharps had to be taught at least elementary farming skills and to be provided with a livestock, agricultural implements and many other things before they turn into a self-sustainable population.
Sorry but the population of New France when immigration was cut was under 6,000 and that grew by 1760s to over 60,000. Therefore if emigration has continued at level of Champlain of 500-1000 a year till 1760s you could of increased the population at least 10 fold to over 600,000. The numbers are not unrealistic. Plus greater and larger new France would of attracted more merchants and more settlers.
 
I’m afraid that century and a half would not be enough to breed realistically from few hundreds to half a million. The same goes for the administrative measures: with the population of approximately 20M by 1700, it is rather difficult to assume that France had the whores numbered by the hundreds of thousands (and, anyway, majority of them could not be deported without causing major public unhappiness or even a revolt). 🤪

Not to mention that all these whores, pickpockets and card sharps had to be taught at least elementary farming skills and to be provided with a livestock, agricultural implements and many other things before they turn into a self-sustainable population.
These people were brought over and became servants of the land owners and taught the skills that you mention. In time they became their own farmers just like indentured servants going to 13 colonies.
 
See https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/ahc-larger-franco-american-community.481419/#post-20034023 where I discuss the reasons for greater emigration from England than from France in the nineteenth century in terms of the different economic structures of the countries. Now it is true that we are speaking of an earlier era here, but as noted in that post, some of the differences antedated the French Revolution.:

"Already smallholders before the revolution, French peasants, through their rebellions, interdicted the penetration of a central feature of agrarian capitalism—legally sanctioned enclosures—into the countryside. (Significantly, neither potatoes nor cottage industry gained much of a foothold either [see Lesthaeghe 1990: 18].) This, Chesnais argues, delayed the formation of an industrial proletariat and with it France's industrial revolution, but precipitated a demographic revolution as yet more smallholders remained on the land. The "triumph of the small" or the "revenge of the small against the large estate" was realized. Two-thirds of France's 32 million inhabitants in 1830 belonged to landowning families; in Britain, including Ireland, only 54 percent had this status (see Hobsbawm 1962).

"Chesnais considers, but rejects, the nineteenth-century thesis of Le Play that the Napoleonic Code, with its provision for equal divisions of property among all heirs, was the decisive element inducing peasants to limit family size or face an intolerable fragmentation of their resources. Fertility decline began before the code was instituted--indeed in some regions before the revolution. There was even early evidence for it in places of single-heir inheritance in southern France. He concedes, however, that enforced partibility may well have intensified a process already underway..." [my emphasis--DT]
 
Sorry but the population of New France when immigration was cut was under 6,000 and that grew by 1760s to over 60,000. Therefore if emigration has continued at level of Champlain of 500-1000 a year till 1760s you could of increased the population at least 10 fold to over 600,000. The numbers are not unrealistic. Plus greater and larger new France would of attracted more merchants and more settlers.
Agree. There were a lot of legitimate reasons immigration dwindled to nil. However, in a country of millions, finding 500-1000 per year to migrate is not an insurmountable task. Doing so early compounds the population down the line. There was simply no emphasis on migration and/or there were more pressing needs (like attending to war), and hence migration was low. There were several times of famine when it would be easy to find recruits but war intervened. 2 million or so perished during the famine of mid 1690s (9 yr war), and another weather related famine occurred during the war of Spanish succession. There's 2 decades of being too busy with war to worry about migration, and plenty more wars took the attention and the treasury during the 17th and 18th centuries.
 
Sorry but the population of New France when immigration was cut was under 6,000 and that grew by 1760s to over 60,000. Therefore if emigration has continued at level of Champlain of 500-1000 a year till 1760s you could of increased the population at least 10 fold to over 600,000. The numbers are not unrealistic. Plus greater and larger new France would of attracted more merchants and more settlers.
You are missing the point: there was not too much of the resettlement enthusiasm in France so this “calculation” does not make too much of a practical sense (and anyway 1000 * 100 is a far cry from 600,000) and neither does a sustainable high rate of the surviving breeding: most of the children would die before they reached adulthood and enough food must be produced to fed these unproductive consumers.

The merchants would be attracted with what exactly? France at the time of LXIV had only few hundreds merchant ships (as opposite to the tens of thousands in the Netherlands) and by the late XVIII the French quite profitable trade with Russia had been conducted by the British shops, which should give you an idea about the energy and activity of the French merchant class. The same goes for the settlers: majority in OTL had been interested in hunting and fur trade.
 
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