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You Are All Free
The Haitian Revolution and the Abolition of Slavery

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  • Date Published: August 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9780521517225

$ 108.00 (P)

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About the Authors
  • The abolitions of slavery in the French Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue in 1793 and in revolutionary France in 1794 were the first dramatic blows against an institution that had shaped the Atlantic world for three centuries and affected the lives of millions of people. Based on extensive archival research, You Are All Free provides the first complete account of the dramatic events that led to these epochal decrees, and also to the destruction of Cap Francais, the richest city in the French Caribbean, and to the first refugee crisis in the United States. Taking issue with earlier accounts that claim that Saint-Domingue’s slaves freed themselves, or that French revolutionaries abolished slavery as part of a general campaign for universal human rights, the book shows that abolition was the result of complex and often paradoxical political struggles on both sides of the Atlantic that have frequently been misunderstood by earlier scholars.

    • Detailed accounts of the events leading up to the abolition of slavery in Saint-Domingue/Haiti and in France; a genuinely trans-Atlantic history
    • Clearly and dramatically written, for general readers as well as scholars and students
    • Based on extensive first-hand archival research
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    • Winner of the 2010 David Pinkney Prize from the Society for French Historical Studies

    Reviews & endorsements

    “This is an impeccably researched and narrated history of the Saint-Domingue Revolution, which pivots on the destruction of the city of Cap François on the journée of June 20, 1793. It compellingly takes issue with a number of leading historiographical perspectives and for that reason alone deserves attention.” – Seymour Drescher, University of Pittsburgh

    “The events of 1793 were a watershed moment in the history of slavery and democracy. Popkin’s deeply researched and fascinating account of this transformative moment is a major contribution to the existing literature on the history of the Haitian Revolution and on emancipation in the Atlantic world.” – Laurent M. Dubois, Duke University

    “Grafting original research in the colonial archives onto an extensive background in French Revolution scholarship, Jeremy Popkin has quickly established himself as one of the leading analysts of the Haitian Revolution. You Are All Free serves up a vivid and finely detailed investigation of a key turning point in Atlantic world history.” – David Geggus, University of Florida

    “Brilliantly written and tightly argued, this book will compel readers to rethink the history of Haiti, the French Revolution, and the abolition of slavery.” – Lynn Hunt, Eugen Weber Professor of Modern European History, University of California, Los Angeles

    "Popkin’s gripping story, vivid characters and fine attention to primary sources make this an excellent book for students and teachers of history, as well as a wider, historically engaged public." - Sue Peabody, H-France

    "...impressively researched book..." -Chris Bongie, H-LatAm

    "...elegant and carefully researched..." -William S. Cormack, Canadian Journal of History

    "Jeremy D. Popkin's book is riveting." Sibylle Fischer, American Historical Review

    "The details of Popkin's brilliant account will surely remain authoritative..." -Paul Cheney, Journal of Modern History

    "This meticulously researched work covers the years 1792-94 in SaintDomingue (Haiti) and France..." -Philippe R. Girard, New West Indian Guide

    Popkin's brilliant new study of the events surrounding the emancipation ofslaves in the French colony ofSaint Domingue in June 1793 is a masterpiece of micrological historiography." -Nick Nesbitt, Journal of Interdisciplinary History

    "This elegantand carefully researched new study suggests that it became apparent only after 20 June 1793 that the victory of black insurgents might be achieved in alliancewith the French Republic." -William S. Cormack, Canadian Journal of History

    "This meticulously researched work covers the years 1792-1794 in Saint-Domingue (Haiti) and France, 1110St notably the tenure of the French commissioners Leger-Felicite Sonthonax and Etienne Polverel; the June 20, 1793 infighting in Cap Francais that led to the destruction of the city; Sonthonax's August 1793 emancipation proclamation; and the Convention's February 1794 emancipation law that confirmed and expanded Sonthonax's proclamation." -Philippe R. Girard, New West Indian Guide

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    Product details

    • Date Published: August 2010
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9780521517225
    • length: 440 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 29 mm
    • weight: 0.7kg
    • contains: 14 b/w illus. 4 maps
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: the journée of 20 June 1793 in Cap Français and the abolition of slavery
    1. A colony in revolution
    2. Municipal revolution in a colonial city
    3. French Jacobins and Saint-Domingue colonists
    4. Creating revolutionary government in the tropics
    5. A model republican general
    6. The powderkeg explodes
    7. Freedom and fire
    8. The road to general emancipation
    9. Saint-Domingue in the United States
    10. The decree of 16 Pluviôse An II

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • American Philosophy, Political Philosophy
    • Black Studies Theoretical Traditions
    • France in the Americas
    • Introduction to the Caribbean
    • The French Revolutionary and Napoleonic Era
    • Topics in Global History
    • World of the French Revolution
  • Author

    Jeremy D. Popkin, University of Kentucky
    Jeremy D. Popkin, T. Marshall Hahn Jr Professor of History at the University of Kentucky, has written numerous books on the French and Haitian Revolutions and on the subject of autobiographical literature, including Revolutionary News: The Press in France, 1789–1799 (1990), History, Historians and Autobiography (2005), and Facing Racial Revolution: Eyewitness Accounts of the Haitian Revolution (2007). He has been a visiting Professor at the College de France (2009) and Brown University (2005) and held numerous fellowships, including awards from the J. S. Guggenheim Foundation, the National Humanities Center, the Fulbright Program, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the Newberry Library.


    • Winner of the 2010 David Pinkney Prize from the Society for French Historical Studies
    • Winner of the 2011 J. Russell Major Prize, American Historical Association

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