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The trial of Angelique - Essay Example

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The Trial of Angelique The trial of Angelique can be said to be among the one of the most controversial issues to have taken place in eighteenth century Canada, in the era of slavery. Throughout the history of slavery in Canada, it is a fact that all the slaves in this society were treated as a lower class of people, despite the fact that they received fairer treatment than their counterparts in what is now the United States…
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The trial of Angelique
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Download file to see previous pages When one considers the details that were revealed during the trial of this slave, one will come to the conclusion that the slaves of New France were provided with plenty of freedoms by their owners. This is mainly due to the fact, for example, that Angelique was allowed the freedom to move around the town of Montreal, without any restrictions by her owners. In addition, it was mentioned that she was a very firm woman who had her own opinions that at times went against those of her owner, to the extent that she was accused of talking back to her owner whenever she was addressed. It has been speculated that it was her well known independent streak that may have been the reason why she ended up setting fire to her owner’s house in protest towards her living conditions and her status in society.1 The fact remains that the fire which destroyed most of Montreal took place at a time when Madame de Francheville had the intention of selling Angelique against the latter’s wishes. ...
It was mainly because of her attempted escape, as well as her lack of the required submissiveness towards her owner, which might have led to her being accused of setting the fire and as a result destroying most of the town. Her independent nature may have been a basis of her accusation by the French authorities in Montreal mainly because they were in need of a scapegoat to appease the angry residents of the town. This can be considered to be the most plausible explanation for Angelique’s trial based only on rumour and lacking in any evidence that she had indeed started the fire. Despite her having, throughout the trial denied that she was the culprit, because of her reputation, first as a runaway slave, as well as her rebelliousness towards her owner, she was considered to be guilty of the crime that she was rumoured to have committed.2 It can, therefore, be said that Angelique’s trial was an injustice to this slave woman, who was not only placed in bondage against her will, but because of her status in the society, she was presumed to be guilty without any real or tangible evidence being presented to prove the claims that were made against her. The law that was practiced in New France at the time dictated that a person could be presumed guilty through “public knowledge”, meaning that whether one were guilty or not, as long as the public believed that one was guilty, and then there was nothing that one could to prove his or her innocence. It is this injustice which happened to Angelique, who despite her not being guilty, and there being no eyewitnesses to her presumed crime, was not only tried, but also ended up losing her life. The strength of character displayed by Angelique can be seen throughout her trial where she insisted that she was ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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