This article presents a conceptual history of representation in the political debates of the Polish émigré community in the period 1832–1846/48. As I argue, while the concept was present in the output of all political environments of the Polish Great Emigration, there were more discrepancies than similarities about how to understand it. As a result of debates about what the Polish diaspora in exile actually was and who had the right to represent it, the concept became a part and parcel of political frays. In this way, the right to use it—and consequently to represent the whole Polish community and Polish nation as well—occupied a central place in the evolution of the concept of representation.
Piotr Kuligowski in 2019 was awarded a PhD in history at the Faculty of History, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ORCID number: 0000-0002-6251-0482