My dissertation examines the growth of the Cameroonian colonial state and the highly complex forms of bureaucratic navigation that emerged in tandem with it through the interactions of local African entrepreneurs with state bureaucracy. This study will investigate the burgeoning power of the state from the late colonial era through independence (1940 to 1970) and bring the increasingly entrepreneurial and persistent African underclass into the history of modern Africa. This project addresses everyday state-building, the formation of a public sphere, and colonial and postcolonial governmentality. It also examines the history of the imposition physical, mental, and moral boundaries on the individual and its role in changing ideas of identity formation, and self-rule. Overall, it is a study of the evolution of corruption and its corollaries in civil and political life. Understanding the evolution, philosophy, and everyday practice of bureaucracy and corruption in developing countries is key to reform. Examining the late colonial period in Cameroon provides background to the development of bureaucratic and administrative hierarchies under imperial rule. Bringing the research into the contemporary period demonstrates the endurance of imperial administrative mechanisms and the transformation of ideas surrounding governance and corruption during independence.