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Why was the discourse of assimilation such a significant and distinctive ele
ment of the discourse of French colonial policy?
First order of business
after takeover, was
French influence
and pacification.
Lightning raids
to establish military
posts were done.
Claims should be base
don effective rather nominal
occupation, soliders
should set up forward
posts as they advanced,
giving opening markets, giving the
indigionous natives
to accept prescnee, medical
stations, in
order to better to consoldiate
their authority.

2. To what extent was French colonial rule influenced in practice by the theory
of assimilation? What were the obstacles to the application of a policy of assi
milation in French West Africa? (Group C reading the brief extract from Fuglesta
d will find this useful for answering the second half of this question)
Racial Policy
- Practised by Gallieni and Lyautey in Inodchina
and Madagascar, similar to British Divide and rule.
- French officers/administrators
negoitated with different chieftans.
- Helped stir rivarly, attempting
to keep them dominating from one another.
- Allows to play on traditional
rivalries and court support
from isolated groups even
if entire populations are not
amenable to conquest.
- Diminished chances
for unifed reistacnce,
and creating exaggeration
of ethnic and culutral
differences between neighbouring
Using local institutions
as foundations for colonial
Local chiegfs acted
as intermediaries
between the French and the masses.
Tunisia, indigioenous
governments retained

titular authority, though

French residents held
the real power.
Annexed colonies, French
devolved some responsibilites
such as tax-collecting
onto local chiefs,
the compensation they recieved.
Hoped, would encoruage
support for the French.
The French did the following:
- Saved on manpower
- Administration
- Attempted to win
the hearts and minds of
colonised people.
- Morale conquest, education,
healthcare, new sources
of income, arbitration of disputes,
abolition of slavery - show
the French as humane and kind rules,
didn't work, France resorted to violence.
Control of a Region:
French had to face the task
of governing conquered terriotires.
Exact structure of administration
varied widely according to time and place.

Navy and army

officers took
command of colonies
until the process
of pacification was
African terroties
remained under
military control
long afterwards.
From the late 1880s,
France gradually
set up civilian governments,
drawing more colonial
establishign bureaucratic
Largest colonial units
were federations of colonies
under a governor-general.
France gradually

set up civilian governments,

drawing more bureactic
High Commissioner embodied
French authority.
- headed administration
in the colonies
- Represneted French state
in relations with settlers,
indigenes, foreign powers.
- Worked out budgets,
issued decrees, advised
the government in Paris,
presiding over the privy
- Although only a consulative
body, was the sole represnetative
institution in many terrioties,
controlling public works,
justice, policing and everything else.
Governors Had the right to decree
states of emergency.
Appointed by the French Government
and responsible to the Government only.
Rights of indigenous governments, in theory
curbed the powers of French administrators
in the protectorates but in pratice, residents
generally ruled much as governors. In short
governors were potentates in their realms.
Public Servants, numerous
in the larger colonies, rare
in smaller one.
Colonial bureaucrats
directed spceific government
from departments of indigenous
affairs to departments of roads
and public works.
- Congregrated in the capitalk
cities of colonies.
But the Foot soliders
of the administration
were the commandants de cercle,
the equivalent of district agents

in the British Colonial system, and chefs

de subdivision -heads of regions, ruling
over numerous administrative
divisions, there were 118 cercles
in the AOF - incolonies.
District agents, young men, exercised
almost sole authority
over vast areas and lagre populations, assisted
only by a handful of assistants,
or just a local interpreter-cum secretary.
Although responsible
to superiors in colonial capitals,
and ultimately to Paris, commandants de cercle,
lagrer were on their own in running day to day affairs
Even with their best efforts,
large tracts of the Empire
remaiend under-adminitered,
Governor general of the AEF
admitted in 1914, that he
and his subordinates had real
control of only a quarter
of the terriory under nominal
French Administration.
At the apex of the Colonial
- Various ministries and other
government bodies in Paris.
- Under Napoleon III, government
briefly included a minister for Algeria
and the Colonies. Minister for Navy and Colonies
usually held titular authority
over overseas posessions.
Government appoints a SOus-Secreatrie
D'Etat aux Colonies - 1894
Colonial Minstry.
Posessions did not come
under the control o fit.
ALgeria included,
Ministries of War and concerned
with economic affairs, large say in determining
colonial polocu.
Imposig buiilding,
over 133 employes in 1935
44 ministers held the portfolio,
rapid turn out. Theophile DeclasseBecame Presidents/Prime Ministers.
Third/Fourth Republic

debated Colonial Leglisation

- Power to pass bills
Appropirate funds
approve budgets
Call Ministers to account
and bring down Governments.
Parliament could regulary
intervene in Colonial Administration.
Pratice in the regulations
- governed were decrees issued
by colonial ministries.
So the power was left to the colonial residen toffixals.
Administraotr's wide powers created dissent
among colonists, number of settlers in Algeria and New Caledonia,
baulked at intervention by governors often serving
only short terms, inexperinced junior administrators.
Random intervention,
Ministers from Paris.
Devolutiion of power,
some measure of autonomyu
French Political ssytem, preminum
on standaridisation of laws
and insitutions - was not congenial
to British style self government.
Concept which governed French Colonial
Policy through the late 19th century
was Assimilation.
Policy aimed at directing
by remvoing all differences between
colonies and the metropole by endowing
them with the same administrative
fiscal, judicial, social and other regimes
as the metropole and at giving their inhabitants
full civic rights, and obliging them
to the same duties as citizens in France itself.
Applied only to Europeans.
Policy aimed at little Frances,
turn Africans/Asians into French men/Women.
- Found it difficult to implement,
given the distance of colonies,
- Faced, small number of residents,
differences between indigenous culutres
- Manifest impossiibiluty of transforming
vast regions of foreign conitnents into
French provinces.
Assimilation - administration, attudies
by Frencyh, assiociation, francisation of colonies peope.

Left colonial development to private

initiative in the years from 1880s to WWI.
French Government
- Subsides
- Important public works
- Construction of railways
- Government felts it duties
were conquest, pacification
and administtation, not large scale
colonies, or the establishment
of public companies for agriculture and commerce.
Government hesitiation
to become involved REINFORCES
Ranging from Business to Church.
Promoters, entrepreneurs, settlers
repeated with almost tedious
regulairty - govt did too little.
Buisness community
- complained about tarrifs being discrimiatory
restrictions on trade between colonies and countries
other than France
Government unwillingness to provide
more funding for infrasturtural
development and aid in locating labour.
Church - Porttest
Some Governors anti-cleerical.
State not willing to provide susbides
for woork, edcucaition.
Exploitation of local populations.
Church/Government trying to restrict
their acquisitio of land labor, such lack of accord,
providied furtheer inidcation it wasn't a successful enterpise
as it had been enivisoned.
It was hoped that
the French would be able to retain power.
France ruled
the New Hebrides with
Britian under a unique
After WW1, France gained
terriotires under
mandate from the League
of Nations.

Algeria divided into

metropolitan style departments.
Some poessions fell
under the administrative
control of officials in neighbouring

3. What was the indignat and how did it work (the Mann text is especially useful
for this question)?
4. What was distinctive about colonial rule in the Four Communes of Senegal (the
Crowder text is especially useful for this question)?