In this excerpt, Rainsford describes the divisive effects of the Declaration of Rights of the Blacks among the various racial/social groupings.
Better known for her defense of the rights of women, Olympe de Gouges defended the rights of the downtrodden in general. Here she points out the cruelty of slavery and expresses the hope that the slave trade will be abandoned.
In this article, the influential newspaper The Revolutions of Paris asks if Africans and their descendants are "Born to Slavery?" as part of a general consideration of the situation in the French colonies.
During the explosion of newspaper publishing after 1789, the Revolutions of Paris consistently supported radical positions, including the abolition of slavery in articles like this one entitled "No Color Bar."
In this excerpted source, Venture Smith recalls his experiences in the slave trade as a child. This source is especially important, as Smith gives a very vivid account of slave raiding, a common practice that took place during the peak years of the slave trade in the 18th century. Smith, the son of a Guinean Prince, was sold into slavery at the young age of three by his own mother. Unable to... Read More »
Baptiste–Henri Grégoire was a parish priest who was elected to the National Assembly by the clergy of Lorraine. He championed the rights of minorities both before the Revolution and in the legislature. The most noted beneficiaries of his attention were Jews and free blacks. He thought giving rights to Jews would encourage assimilation, while giving free blacks a greater stake in society would... Read More »
This image is of an advertisement for a nearly equal number of adults and children from Sierra Leone at a Charleston Auction. This image is important for several reasons, namely because one should see what an auction advertisement looks like, but also because the number of boys and girls is nearly equal to that of the number of men and women imported. Other things that should be pointed out is... Read More »
Antislavery Agitation: Abbé Raynal, Philosophical and Political History of the Settlements and Trade of the Europeans in the East and West Indies (1770)
Abbé Guillaume–Thomas Raynal (1711–96), known by his clerical title [abbé refers to ecclesiastical training], first published his multivolume history of European colonization anonymously in French in 1770. Today many sections of it seem almost quaint and hopelessly detailed, for Raynal and his collaborators (among them Diderot) gathered every imaginable fact to support their scathing... Read More »
Here Antoine–Pierre Barnave, a well–connected and influential lawyer from Grenoble, represented those interests that wanted to hold onto France’s rich colonial possessions. He wanted to treat the colonies separately from mainland France in order to exempt them from the Constitution as a means of maintaining the production of those colonial products that were such a large part of France’s... Read More »