The author of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), was deeply influenced by the European Enlightenment. He spent many years in Paris and was just as much at home among European intellectuals as he was on his plantation in Virginia. Although a slaveholder, Jefferson wrote eloquently about freedom for the colonists. Even though it was not an official part of the U.S.... Read More »
This important and revealing document evokes both the contemporary situation in the colonies and the political developments taking place in Paris. It comes from Marcus Rainsford’s supportive account of the Haitian Revolution.
News traveled slowly from the colonies back to France, and the first word of the emancipations in Saint Domingue aroused suspicion if not outright hostility in the National Convention. Many of the original members of the Society of the Friends of Blacks, such as Lafayette, Brissot, and Condorcet, had either fled the country or gone to their deaths at the guillotine for opposing the faction now... Read More »
Rainsford wrote one of the first favorable accounts of the Haitian Revolution. He blamed the colonists for refusing to alter the slave system. Our excerpts begin with reactions to the revolution in mainland France in 1789 and continue through the death in prison in France of Toussaint L’Ouverture in 1803.