Chapter

New Syrians Abroad: An Émigré Project for a United States Mandate in Syria, 1918–1920An Émigré Project for a United States Mandate in Syria, 1918–1920

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Chapter

New Syrians Abroad: An Émigré Project for a United States Mandate in Syria, 1918–1920An Émigré Project for a United States Mandate in Syria, 1918–1920

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Abstract

This chapter focuses on Syrian migrant activists who lobbied for American intervention and a US Mandate in Syria after the 1918 armistice. Calling themselves the “New Syrian” parties, activists in New York City, Boston, Buenos Aires, and Cairo petitioned for the United States to take guardianship of Syria as a bulwark against French colonialism in the region. The New Syrians were rejected by the 1919 Paris Peace Conference, which led them to promote their ideas through petitioning and mass meetings held in the mahjar. Examining a history of the Wilsonian moment from beyond the Paris petitions, the chapter argues that the conference engaged in the construction of a legal fiction: that the Syrian mahjar favored the French Mandate. Far from partners in empire, the diaspora Syrians and Lebanese presented the French with the difficult task of pacifying an extraterritorial subject population that could not be controlled through blunt military suppression.

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