During the 1830s and 40s, Schoelcher had authored several volumes on the history of France’s colonies, and on Haiti. Schoelcher’s sense of history made him afraid that delaying the question of emancipation would lead to a rebellion amongst the slaves. Title image: Biard, L’abolition de l’esclavage dans les colonies françaises, 1849. Proclamation of the Abolition of Slavery in the French Colonies, 27 April 1848 is an 1849 painting by French artist François-Auguste Biard which is kept in the Palace of Versailles, France. In his account of the outbreak of the slave rebellion in Saint-Domingue, in Colonies étrangères et Haïti, Schoelcher wrote: The slaves, despite the profound degradation into which they had been plunged, could not long remain strangers to the movements that were happening above their heads. Everyday low prices and free delivery on eligible orders. Within three days, the king had fled and a republic was proclaimed. He can be reached at jonathan.e.dusenbury@vanderbilt.edu or on Twitter @jdusenbury. The Provisional Government that ruled France from February to May 1848, was thoroughly republican in its credentials, but also acutely abolitionist in its sentiments. Revolutionary France abolished slavery throughout its empire in 1794, although it was restored in 1802 by Napoleon as part of a programme to ensure sovereignty over its colonies. By December, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte had been elected President—France’s first directly-elected head of state. However, this announcement was not linked to any humanitarian act – it was the fear of slave insurrections in Martinique and Guadeloupe that prompted the provisional government to follow Victor Schoelcher. Marx fails to address one crucial repetition of the French Revolution of 1848 – the abolition of slavery. For the next eight years, revolutionary France operated under a system of official racial equality. Enter Victor Schoelcher. William Wilberforce's Slave Trade Act 1807 abolished the slave trade in the British Empire. In Europe, a movement in favour of abolitionism preceded this awareness. Some works have examined the first and temporary abolition of French colonial slavery during the French Revolutionary era, but relatively little is known about the second French abolitionist movement that culminated in the freeing of a quarter of a million slaves in 1848. By December, Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte had been elected President—France’s first directly-elected head of state. Some works have examined the first and temporary abolition of French colonial slavery during the French Revolutionary era, but relatively little is known about the second French abolitionist movement that culminated in the freeing of a quarter of a million slaves in 1848. ( Log Out /  Jonathan Dusenbury is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at Vanderbilt University where he specializes in nineteenth-century Atlantic and hemispheric American intellectual and political history. However, it has been generally attested that either he or his mother was the illegitimate child of noted planter Joseph Tascher de la Pagerie. While metropolitan officials debated in Paris, in the colonies, British ships brought news of the revolution and the Provisional Government’s intention to abolish slavery. Several days later, the governor of Guadeloupe followed suit. France forbade slavery in its colonies on a permanent basis and had it written into its constitution. In February, 1794, in the midst of the slave uprising in Saint-Domingue, the French National Convention decreed the abolition of slavery throughout the French colonial empire—the first empire in the Atlantic World to do so. The colonists spoke of independence, the petits blancs of equality, the mulattos of political rights, the negroes in their turn talked of liberty.[2]. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2006. 2 (Paris : Pagnerre, 1843), 98. Eventually becoming a wealthy merchant and a slave-owner himself, Bissette was radicalized in the 1820s following his imprisonment for promoting a pamphlet championing colonial reform. Bissette saw himself as playing the part of an earlier generation of free colored activists, like Vincent Ogé and Julien Raimond. Slavery was finally abolished in 1848 by the French Second Republic. *On this date in 1794 France abolished slavery. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! If Schoelcher and other white abolitionists could not recognize the contributions of free people of color in the 1790s, they would not be able to do so in the 1840s either. 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