Caribbean History: Account For The Emancipation Of Slaves In Any One Caribbean Territory. Territory Choosen: French

1042 words - 5 pages

Subject: Caribbean HistoryAssignment: Account for the emancipation of slaves in any one Caribbean territory.Territory choosen: FrenchEmancipation in the French West Indies (F.W.I) was administered in 1848 based upon the argument that slavery was inhumane. The discovery, emphasized in Victor Schoelcher's report, caused dissatisfaction among the public, which in turn placed pressure on the government. It is perhaps rather interesting that the humanitarians had in the French West Indies a stronger role in emancipating the slaves as in comparison to other territories.Even before Victor Schoelcher's trip to the French colonies of Guadalupe, Martinique and French Guiana, the French had sh ...view middle of the document...

An example of this is of the coffee planter Le Jeune who killed four of his slaves. Fourteen of his slaves complained to the authorities but then white witnesses came forward, swore this was not true, and petitioned to have the slaves who complained whipped. The reality of the treatment of slaves ridiculed the laws in the Code Noir.In addition to this, Blacks were over worked, lived in atrocious conditions, and were viewed as having as much morals as a swine. Women in particular were treated as "supeordinate amazons who could...labour all day, perform sex all night, and be quite satisfied morally and culturally to exist outside the formal structures of marriage and family"(Hilary Beckles, "Sex and Gender in the Historiography of Caribbean Slavery"p:135). In fact, the planter, Foache's endless need for more slaves persuaded him to order female slaves who had miscarriages to be whipped and placed in iron collars until they became pregnant again. The fact that his reference was to a human being was lost on him. This is the situation Victor Schoelcher walked into in 1840.While this was going on in the French West Indies, in France the public was beginning to disapprove of slavery. Franklin W. Knight noted that in as early as 1792, slave riots had erupted in Paris with crowds burning many sugar establishments. In 1832 the tax on manumission was removed, and the following year branding and the like of slaves were forbidden. In 1834, the French Society for the Abolition of Slavery (F.S.A.S) was established and in 1836 slaves, on arriving into France were considered free. The president of the F.S.A.S, Duc de Broglie considered that the gradual emancipation of slaves should limit the chaos that everyone was sure would erupt when the slaves were freed. In 1845, a commission was appointed with de Broglie as chairman. Unfortunately, the commission's conclusion satisfied no one. After this, the rein was passed over to Victor Schoelcher.Many histori...


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