||The growth of sectarianism in the mid-nineteenth century, and its institutionalization in the early twentieth, made religious affiliation the dominant mode of organizing society and politics in Lebanon. While the National Pact of 1943, an unwritten agreement enumerating the sectarian basis of political posts, is often seized upon as the Rosetta Stone of Lebanon consociationalism, it was merely the last step in the entrenchment of sectarianism in the political and social lives of the Lebanese. This study uses both citizenship theory and a historical narrative to expose the rickety foundations upon which Lebanon's citizenship laws were constructed. The hegemony of sectarianism in Lebanon was realized through a combination of European domination, indigenous opportunism, and the momentum of legal and political acts designed to bestow legitimacy onto an illegitimate state. Sectarianism informed how the Lebanese state was shaped, who shaped it, and the nature of citizenship prevailing within its borders.