There Are No Slaves in France: The Political Culture of Race and Slavery in the Ancien Régime

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9780195158663: There Are No Slaves in France: The Political Culture of Race and Slavery in the Ancien Régime
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There Are No Slaves in France examines the paradoxical emergence of political antislavery and institutional racism in the century prior to the French Revolution. Sue Peabody shows how the political culture of late Bourbon France created ample opportunities for contestation over the meaning of freedom. Based on various archival sources, this work will be of interest not only to historians of slavery and France, but to scholars interested in the emergence of modern culture in the Atlantic world.

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"There Are No Slaves in France": The Political Culture of Race and Slavery in the Ancient Regime examines the paradox of political antislavery and institutional racism in the century prior to the French Revolution. Black slaves who came to France as domestic servants of colonial masters challenged their servitude in courts. On the basis of the Freedom Principle, a judicial maxim granting freedom to any slave who set foot in the kingdom, hundreds of slaves won their freedom. Sue Peabody shows how the political culture of late Bourbon France created ample opportunities for contestation over the meaning of freedom. Men of letters used the metaphor of slavery to critique the supposed despotism of Louis XV and Louis XVI. In the second half of the century, courts and the crown colluded to erect a series of laws prohibiting the entry of blacks into the metropolis. "There Are No Slaves in France" shows how both antislavery and anti-black discourses emerged from the tension between France's reification of liberty and its dependence on colonial slavery.

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Sue Peabody is at Washington State University.

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9780195101980: There Are No Slaves in France: The Political Culture of Race and Slavery in the Ancien Régime

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