Blackburn on Haiti, Slavery and the Age of Democratic Revolution

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Blackburn, Robin. “Haiti, Slavery, and the Age of the Democratic Revolution.” William & Mary Quarterly 63 (October 2006): 643-674.

First paragraph steal:

“IN the sequence of revolutions that remade the Atlantic world from 1776 to 1825, the Haitian Revolution is rarely given its due, yet without it there is much that cannot be accounted for. The revolutions—American, French, Haitian, and Spanish-American—should be seen as interconnected, with each helping to radicalize the next. The American Revolution launched an idea of popular sovereignty that, together with the cost of the war, helped to provoke the downfall of the French monarchy. The French Revolution, dramatic as was its influence on the Old World, also became a fundamental event in the New World because it was eventually to challenge slavery as well as royal power. This challenge did not come from the French National Constituent Assembly’s resounding “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of Citizens 1789,” since neither the assembly nor its successor, the National Convention, moved on its own initiative to confront slavery in the French plantation colonies. Indeed the issue was not to be addressed for another five years, by which time the French Caribbean colonies were engulfed in slave revolts and threatened by British occupation.”

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