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Napoleon and Slavery

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  • Napoleon and Slavery

    Revolutionary France was split between abolitionists and pro slavery factions. However the growing success of a slave revolution on Saint-Domingue and the threat that this would spread violence throughout French possessions in the West Indies forced the National Assembly to come down on the side of abolition and in 1794 slavery was abolished in all French colonies. However large numbers of West Indians of African descent continued to work on the plantations in conditions not too far removed from slave times.
    In May 1802 Napoleon reintroduced slavery and slave trafficking and the latter continued until 1817 when Louis XVIII abolished it However the institution of slavery continued until 1845. The reintroduction of slavery saw various risings against it which were savagely suppressed.

    A bit of Napoleonic history that seems to slip under the radar.
    Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
    Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

  • #2
    Not to anyone familiar with the period. What is overlooked, however, is that the British did not abolish slavery in the West Indies until The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833. The British then changed to a system of apprenticeship to their former owners in exchange for provisions. This system was subsequently abolished in 1838.

    It should also be noted that Toussaint l'Ouveture employed a similar system to slavery under his 'benign' rule, so the situation of the former slaves didn't really improve. Different name, same result.
    We are not now that strength which in old days
    Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
    Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
    To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Massena View Post
      Not to anyone familiar with the period. What is overlooked, however, is that the British did not abolish slavery in the West Indies until The Slavery Abolition Act of 1833. The British then changed to a system of apprenticeship to their former owners in exchange for provisions. This system was subsequently abolished in 1838.

      It should also be noted that Toussaint l'Ouveture employed a similar system to slavery under his 'benign' rule, so the situation of the former slaves didn't really improve. Different name, same result.
      But in neither case did they re introduce slavery that had been abolished
      Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
      Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by MarkV View Post

        But in neither case did they re introduce slavery that had been abolished
        With Toussaint, it was merely slavery by another name. And Haiti is still a mess.
        We are not now that strength which in old days
        Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
        Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
        To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Massena View Post

          With Toussaint, it was merely slavery by another name. And Haiti is still a mess.
          Yes lots of places have disguised slavery and I have posted in other threads on this subject but despite your blind adoration of Napoleon you have to admit that nobody else formally reinstated the slave trade after it had been abolished.
          Human history becomes more and more a race between education and catastrophe (H G Wells)
          Mit der Dummheit kaempfen Goetter selbst vergebens (Friedrich von Schiller)

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by MarkV View Post

            Yes lots of places have disguised slavery and I have posted in other threads on this subject but despite your blind adoration of Napoleon you have to admit that nobody else formally reinstated the slave trade after it had been abolished.
            Please don't use the term 'blind adoration' regarding any historical subject towards me. It is very inaccurate and usually you post excellent material. But the false accusation here is just rubbish.
            We are not now that strength which in old days
            Moved earth and heaven; that which we are we are; One equal temper of heroic hearts
            Made weak by time and fate but strong in will
            To strive to seek to find and not to yield.

            Comment

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