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All Souls' Rising - Essay Example

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All Souls’ Rising Critical Review {Your Name} / Number} The Americas have historically witnessed only one slave revolution which erupted in 1791 as thousands of slaves on Saint-Domingue rose up against their oppressive and brutal masters…
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Download file to see previous pages The decision of the French administration on the island was ratified by the French revolutionaries in 1794 and this decision quickly challenged the previously accepted norms of the master slave relationship. The entire Americas domain was shaken up as the emancipation on Saint-Domingue became public knowledge. One of the largest disturbances from the Saint-Domingue experiences was for the American South where the economy was predominantly based on slave manpower. However the revolution of slaves in Saint-Domingue holds more than meets the eye. The composition of whites, mulattos and blacks meant that society was already in a precarious balance that the revolution upset. As a reaction to the changes introduced by the revolution the various strata of society began taking steps to increase their influence. The pivotal role for the balance of power play lay with the mulattos in society who were obliged to corroborate with the blacks and the whites alike. The British and Spanish conquest only added to the panic and confusion in society. The invasion was dealt with by an uprising lead by an ex slave Toussaint who was supposedly prepared by the whites in order to decimate the blacks in the shorter run and the mulattos in the longer run. The overall objective of the whites was to restore the previous order. The novel penned by Madison Smart Bells All Souls’ Rising also portrays this precarious situation and the immense power plays that occurred. In order to understand the issue better it would be relevant to wade through the novel within historical context. The novel depicts the grand blancs (who are members of the white elite) as conceiving a slave rebellion in order to augment their political needs and desires. As the story progresses it becomes clear that the highly esteemed Bayon de Libertat who is the owner of the slave rebellion leader Toussaint is also part of the conspirators. The slave rebellion leader is shown as being handpicked by the white power elite in order to serve their nefarious purposes. Here consideration must be provided to the political problems of the grand blancs as the French Revolution was at its zenith by 1791 however the King was still in place on the throne. On the other hand the petit blancs, the day laborers, white craftsmen and poor ne’er do wells had already taken up arms and adopted the red cockade of the revolution. These groups had by this point in time taken to rebellion in Saint Domingue and had managed to capture Port au Prince which was a direct threat to the power of the grand blancs. Given also that this was the most profitable island in the Atlantic, its loss was not acceptable for the grand blancs. The problem became all the more complicated as the Estates de General declared by decree in May 1791 that all free property owning mulattos in Saint Domingue would be given full citizenship. Consequently the red cockaded petit blancs became overwhelmingly outraged by this decision. In a similar manner the white cockaded grand blancs were also outraged at such a decision by the government. However the white cockaded grand blancs contend that they cannot win the war against the petit blancs and the free mulatto calls for full citizenship at the same time. In order to deal with these threats the stratagem of the slave rebellion was created. The plan of action suggests that when the slave rebellion occurs the petit blancs would be neutralized and will try to unite with the whites in order to quell the black slave ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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