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Why, at a time when alcohol made a substantial contribution to colonial economies in West Africa, did the French governor of Côte d'Ivoire launch a temperance campaign in 1912? This question serves as the starting point for an exploration of the ways in which economic, social, and cultural ideas interacted and shaped French policies on social problems in the colonies. Linking together metropolitan and colonial histories of drink, and placing Côte d'Ivoire in a broader regional context in which British West African governors were reluctant to embrace temperance movements, the article finds that temperance was one aspect of a consolidation of state power in Côte d'Ivoire that entailed greater French intervention in Africans' daily lives. The governor's campaign benefited briefly from its appearance at the same time as an African temperance movement, but in the long run the economic and cultural imperatives that favored the importation of French wine tended to undermine the argument that alcohol was harmful to taxpaying Africans.