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Divided RuleSovereignty and Empire in French Tunisia, 1881-1938$
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Mary Dewhurst Lewis

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780520279155

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520279155.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 27 September 2021

The Politics of Protection

The Politics of Protection

Chapter:
(p.61) Three The Politics of Protection
Source:
Divided Rule
Author(s):

Mary Dewhurst Lewis

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520279155.003.0004

France needed a sovereign bey to successfully bring in revenue, administer native justice, and defend Tunisia’s borders without burdening the French taxpayer or linking the protectorate administration too closely to unpopular taxes and conscription. Yet the bey had difficulty determining who his subjects were among a Muslim and Jewish population that circulated frequently between Tunisia, Algeria, Tripolitania, Fazzan, and Mediterranean islands such as Malta, or that had purchased individual protection from a European government. Since an effective protectorate required an identifiable and compliant subject population, French authorities endeavored to strengthen the bey’s domestic sovereignty. But the very process of defending the bey’s sovereignty paradoxically engendered an unprecedented degree of French intervention in the day-to-day affairs of beylical administration. As French officials increasingly intervened in the everyday affairs of government, Tunisia slowly came to resemble a directly ruled colony.

Keywords:   Muslims, Jews, subjecthood, sovereignty, Algeria, Tripolitania, Fazzan, Malta, taxation, conscription, direct rule, indirect rule

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