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He was the black upplysningsmannen who led the fight against slavery

Slavery has existed in many societies and times. Slaves also rebelled. But almost without exception, have the uprisings have been knocked down and everything re

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He was the black upplysningsmannen who led the fight against slavery

Slavery has existed in many societies and times. Slaves also rebelled. But almost without exception, have the uprisings have been knocked down and everything reverted to the old.

At the end of the 1700s was broken this pattern. Inspired by the French revolution's declaration on human rights – all human beings are born free – seized a former slave, Toussaint Louverture, the power in the French colony of Saint-Domingue, modern day Haiti. Along with the other slaves and ex-offenders, he created, in different rounds, a revolutionary dominion on the island. It held out for over ten years, beating back invasions by foreign powers and negotiated with the americans.

the Present was startled and amazed. Sure, they had slaves in the past set themselves up against their masters, but rarely against slavery as such, but in the first hand to the brutal penalties for uppstudsighet. They turned against the very conservative, but not its root, the lack of freedom. If cruelty were, in return, many stories, some grotesque, as when one of the slavägarna did sew in a rebellious koskötare in the belly of a dead mule, and in this way slowly suffocate him. Such stories were told about again and again, a kind of grymhetens eternal litany.

the european visitors in the Caribbean where they love total domination in the population. White accounted for not more than five–six per cent of Saint-dominguez, are being held in the population and in certain areas was, at most, a dozen people against the 3.000–4.000 black. And during these there were the whole line of so-called ”white black” and ”black white”, the mulattos of different shades and color. A lot of slave owners took mistresses from among their slaves (another word is rape), relationships, which led to an increasing number of colored.

the Many-colored was also redeemed. It happened to and that the free colored themselves bought slaves, and ran plantations. Skin color was perceived more and more as irrelevant in the assessment of people. What counted was energy, a view which of course led to the white slavägande the population saw their privileges threatened. They were often black driftigare than the white which could conveniently lean against their privileges, send their sons to France and put them in school in order to teach them more about their white expertise and know-how. The tradition gave them the security, a security that has faithfully served them for centuries.

But from 1789 was the French motherland is no longer safe for the people with privileges. The French revolution had changed everything.

the american historian Philippe Girard written a thorough, well-documented and clear study, ”Toussaint Louverture: A revolutionary life” (Basic Books, 2017). What distinguishes Girards book from other books on the same subject, for example, Aimé Césaires ”Toussaint Louverture: La révolution francaise et le probléme to colonial” is its prosaic objectivity. It is otherwise tempting to romanticize a person of Toussaint Louverture. Toussaint had, himself unknowingly, set in motion a movement that would change history. With the beginning of Saint-Domingue was repealed, slavery was not only there, but afterwards in all the French colonies. In the long term it is of course a tipping point in human history, a story you did not hear so much about in school.

Toussaint soon became a famous person not only in Europe but also in the united states and the Caribbean. He had accomplished the impossible: to turn a slavägande to a basically free society (however with a lot of non-free feature). In particular, he feared. But Toussaint was not a revolutionary in the traditional sense of the word. He was a devout catholic and upset over the execution of Louis XVI, which he perceived as the black friend, and helped the owners of the plantation where he worked to escape. It he especially could not accept that he was as black ever was seen over the shoulder. He didn't want to be henpecked. His great desire was to be recognized by Napoleon, who, however, allowed to take him prisoner and sent him to France where he soon died (froze to death) in a prison.

the foremost on the barricades, but the most ståndfaste. The last thing he did was with the help of a secretary to account for their actions during the revolution, a kind of minnesrapport which he sent to Napoleon, who, however, never deigned to read it.

”Toussaint Louverture: A revolutionary life” provides important insights into racism as the emergence and early history. Girard shows, step by step, how the white plantation owners subsequently built up a ”scientific” arguments to defend their position. In the concept of race, a previously rarely used words, they got a decisive argument. Race was a more unambiguous concept than skin color. The svartes dark skin was, according to the racism that emerged, a sign of a fundamental mental and intellectual inability, a lack of which was inherited. ”Our safety requires that we treat the blacks with disdain, so that they understand their place,” writes one of the white plantation owners in the 1770s. ”We need to get them to realize the white man's superiority.”

So, a racist program that gradually drew up more and more dividing lines between the white upper class, and the colored and black population. Black did not have French surnames, they have to dress in a different way than the white and not be out in the evenings; the nocturnal dances, who previously brought life to the darkness, perceived now as african witchcraft, so-called voodoo. The white was of course scared of voodoo. Voodoo was primitive, nocturnal drumming was perceived as a wordless threat which constantly seemed to increase in strength. In the morning everything was quiet. But how would the tranquility be interpreted. It was the calm before the storm?

huge threat. By contrast, constituted an argument for the black primitiveness. It seemed to confirm the white image of the black – their skin colour tape them at night, on a dark, primitive past, dominated by magical beliefs, brought from Africa. For rasisterna, it was necessary to deprive the black the very foundation of a free action: understanding and – not least – the possibility of a moral consciousness. If the slaves got freedom, he said, to the white, the roles are reversed and the black men molest white women. They had a hard time thinking outside of them, given the context. The whites raped the black. Why wouldn't the black rape white?

Later, during the 1800s, the refinement of the racist ideas of the ”experts” of various kinds, biologists, anthropologists, kulturforskare. To racism's central ideas heard the link between external and internal: the black skin was associated with intellectual and moral inability. Arvstänkandet also came to play an increasingly important, yes decisive role. The black man inherited his inability, it was a part of her nature.

the racism a little bit anyway. There is rarely any difference between xenophobia, racial prejudice and racism. People are mistrustful towards that which appears different, at least at the beginning. One is waiting. But according to a racist view, the black man never reaching up to the white man's level. How many schools you put the black in, they remained intellectually inferior and morally misguided. So it is perhaps not so many as intend to in the day. There is so much that speaks against such a view. Rasisterna are becoming fewer and fewer. But they are still there.

But racism is only one element in the late 1700's in the Caribbean. There was also a strong upplysningstro as reflected in the books of Denis Diderot, and Nicolas de Condorcet, and Guillaume-Thomas Raynal, which found their way into the French Caribbean. In these books described slavery as unnatural. Toussaint was certainly literate, but we don't know for sure if he read any of the upplysningsfilosoferna – some of the circumstances suggest that he may have read Raynals work on the Caribbean.

not having read these books; the ideas spread fast among the literate groups in the coloured and black community. Toussaint was the coachman and traveled a lot, picked up ideas that he heard from other coaches, brought on what he heard, and the pegging relations. He was often in the many harbours, where not only goods were unloaded and loaded, but also ideas changed owners. He came to turn against the voodoo, but was intrigued by the new upplysningsidéerna.

Girard can't point to any decisive event that got Toussaint to break with the racist rulers. It's probably the closest to the question of a gradual development. Small events lead to large, a realization takes the form: slavery is, as Toussaint came to see it, against both reason and morality. And when circumstances made it possible pin point, he turns to the crowds who wanted to see a change. Afterwards, he became their leader. The other maybe had a bigger vision. But it was eftertänksamheten who won, the ability to assess risks, reflect on their situation and act, when it was possible. To use the sense that we all share, white as black.

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