Mission Civilisatrice, French Cultural Policy 1914. Degoutant non.

As the rationalization for colonialism, the “civilizing mission” signified France’s attempt to convert its colonial subjects into French people. Whereas the British tended to reject the notion that an Indian, for example, might become British, the French believed that if properly taught French values and the French language, Algerians and Vietnamese alike would slowly evolve and become French. Hence the term evolué, which was used to refer to those who had adapted to French culture. There was also a moral component to the civilizing mission, in that some French held that it was their duty as an enlightened race to arouse the ignorant of the world.


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