This article identifies Algeria as a significant, if obscure, topos in Arendt's writing. It traces various moments of this encounter across Arendt's oeuvre, in well-known texts, such as The Origins of Totalitarianism (1951) and “On Violence” (1969), as well as in lesser-known writings, such as “Why the Crémieux Decree Was Abrogated” (1943). In pursuing this trajectory, the article argues that Arendt's sustained engagement with Algeria reflects an ongoing and ambivalent negotiation with French imperialism. While Arendt continually falls back on an apologetic discourse concerning the French imperial nation-state, her text nonetheless hints at an important geometric lesson about the space–time of its legal structure: the differential temporalities governing its regime of assimilation and its regime of decree. Through a parallel recasting of Arendt's famous distinction between power and violence, this article delimits colonial rule in Algeria as a question of speed.