Tunisian internal autonomy and the transformation of the French colonial empire

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This article aims to examine the transformation of the French colonial empire. Immediately after the end of World War II, the principle of French colonial policy was assimilation, but in the mid-1950s, France suddenly changed its stance towards decolonization. This move would culminate in the year 1960, when most French overseas territories won independence. The turning-point is, as usually argued, the so-called Loi-cadre in 1956, which allowed self-government in each overseas territory. Few works, however, have addressed the question of how and why the French government decided to turn to decolonization. This work points to the links between Tunisian internal autonomy and sub-Saharan African affairs. Indeed, Paris's decision to lead Tunisia to internal autonomy through the Carthage Declaration in July 1954 meant that France chose collaboration with the nationalists and adopted a new way of preserving its influence: decolonization. This calculation greatly prompted the French to embark on the reorganization of their colonial empire as a whole.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-27
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Francophone Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Mar


  • Colonial policy
  • Decolonization
  • The Carthage Declaration
  • The French Union Tunisia
  • The Loi-cadre


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