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You Are All Free: The Haitian Revolution and the Abolition of Slavery Paperback – August 30, 2010

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You Are All Free: The Haitian Revolution and the Abolition of Slavery + Politics, Culture, and Class in the French Revolution: With a New Preface, 20th Anniversary Edition (Studies on the History of Society and Culture, No. 1)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 436 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press; Reissue edition (August 30, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521731941
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521731942
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #370,331 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"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

Book Description

You Are All Free provides the first complete account of the dramatic events that led to the abolitions of slavery in the French Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue in 1793 and in revolutionary France in 1794, 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.

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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Roger on May 8, 2011
Format: Paperback
I just completed reading Professor Popkin's new book and I am very impressed, indeed. I have always been interested in the French Revolution of 1789, including its interplay with the anti-slavery uprising of 1791 in the French colony of Saint Domingue (the future Haiti). The two historical events are very deeply connected. This book does a masterful job of explaining how.

The relationship between the two world historical events is more complex than I had previously thought. While it is true that the 1789 Revolution encouraged and opened the door to the Haitian revolt, each have their own roots and dynamics. I like how the author presents the interconnection as a two-way street, so to speak. France's declaration abolishing slavery throughout the empire on February 4, 1794 (later reversed by Napoleon Bonaparte, in 1802) was part declaration of universal freedoms and part recognition of the de facto situation created in Saint Domingue by the success of the slave revolt.

The title of the book, "You Are All Free," was the announcement that ran through the streets of Cap Français (today's Cap Haitien) on June 21, 1793. In order to defeat a revolt that united Royalists, plantation owners and disgruntled sailors in France's naval fleet, France's commissioner's (governors) were obliged to call upon the Black population to fight on the side of the Republic. They declared abolition in the colony's northern province in order to win its allegiance. In the course of the battle for the city, it burned to the ground. That catastrophic event was the backdrop to the declaration of February 4, 1794.

I spent two days in Cap Haitien in 2007. The feeling of history one feels there while pondering the city's history and visiting its monuments is awe-inspiring. My next visit will be all the more significant thanks to Professor Popkin's impressive research and writing.

May 7, 2011.
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