The Black Jacobins, first published in , changed the way colonial history was written. Its author, C L R James, would later recall his. A classic and impassioned account of the first revolution in the Third World. This powerful, intensely dramatic book is the definitive account of. C. L. R. James’s brilliant book, The Black Jacobins, rescues the Haitian Revolution from repression. James wrote it in , making this year the seventieth.

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While Toussaint L’Ouverture set out to defend and maintain the dignity of man as he garnered it from French revolutionary literature, and particularly Raynalaccording to James, ” Feuillants and Jacobins in France, Whites and Mulattoes in San Domingo Saint-Dominguewere still looking upon the slave revolt as a huge riot which would be put down in time, once the division between the slave-owners was closed.

In France, Napoleon had just seized control of the French state to prevent a royalist coup.

The work explores the dynamics of the Caribbean economy and the European feudal system during the era before the Haitian Revolution, and places each revolution in comparative historical and economic perspective. In a narrative arc iames academician would die for, CLR James has revisited, broadened the context of, reset the parameters for, and perhaps not intending to, also began to expose some of the more unsavory hidden details of both the French and the American Revolutions.

Please try again later. In San Domingue, the commanders—the better-educated slave overseers—provided the organization and leadership through secret meetings, which were often Vodou ceremonies.

The Black Jacobins

The big whites, small whites, and the free men of color split into hostile camps. One French abolitionist, Abbe Raynal, wrote: Jun 25, Hadrian rated it really liked it Shelves: James, detailing the Haitian Revolution of They struggled at every step from capture to transport to the plantation. I think I must have a co After the earthquake in Haiti, all books about Haiti in the Pittsburgh library system were checked out.


Where is he, that great man whom Nature owes to her vexed, oppressed and tormented children? The free men of color in turn resented the big whites and also despised the monarchy and its representative for enforcing a racial order that excluded their full rights as rulers.

This is activist history, which I much appreciate. He ruled for a brief period before the final war for independence. Leclerc began with Toussaint.

The Black Jacobins – Wikipedia

But a word of warning is in order: There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Discover Prime Book Box for Kids. The flaws of the book are perhaps more interesting. Unfortunately, the book and human history have too many Dessalines, who would destroy instead of build, and not enough L’Ouvertures, with the courage and vision to create a better world. It pushed the revolutionary process forward in the metropole itself, investing notions of human rights with new meanings and blaco significance.

Review of “The Black Jacobins” by CLR James | The End of Capitalism

The book naturally focuses on the figure of Toussaint L’Ouverture. This radicalism extended to Haiti like pamphlets and played a crucial role helping organize slave revolts. Without this mass insurrection, there is no doubt that France would never have abolished slavery.

During the 18th century heroic bands of slaves would escape from the plantations and form independent maroon communities in the mountains which they successfully and fiercely defended from the colonial militias. Blck was won only after the stronger powers eventually became the weaker ones on the battlefields, and were then forced to fold their hands and sue for peace. CLR James spends an unfortunate amount of time praising the discipline of the slave army in not destroying the material conditions that kept them in slavery.

Another captured woman refused to be hung by others, grabbed the rope and hung herself, remarking how sweet it is to die for liberty. He sees all that the white man does. Toussaint foundered on a contradiction he could not resolve.

The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution

See Austin ed Their arguments increasingly carried weight in revolutionary France itself, where a transformation of mass consciousness was now under way.


The slave trade and mercantilism connected the world and its events in ways rarely acknowledged with any depth. Spain retained control of the eastern side of the island and called it San Domingo, while the French won control of the eastern half and named it San Domingue. Within the slave gangs, the planters appointed commanders from among the slaves to oversee their work. Revenge poisoning by a slave of a slave master was common, as was the avoidance of splitting up families by poisoning all but one son of a slavemaster so that there would be but one heir.

That Walvin himself is no Marxist might be seen by the award of an OBE for the part he played in the official British commemoration of the bicentenary of the abolition of the slave trade in The seeds of the problems of modern-day were sown during this period and in many ways the people are still suffering.

But Toussaint was a natural compromiser and tried again and again to make a deal with the French. Published October 23rd by Vintage first published The merchants used the trade and consequent profits to develop the port cities, the heart of early French capitalism, like Nantes, Bordeaux and Marseilles that would generate many of the early leaders of the French Revolution.

The capitulation also gave the green light to reaction. The United States, France, and Britain strangled Haiti in the nineteenth century precisely because it was a threat to their slave economies, a threat that should be defended and celebrated.

Perhaps the best aspect of this book is that it is an interactive history of the Haitian and French Revolutions.

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