The Many, Many Ways of Not Giving People Freedom

Throughout the Dubois article, there is a lengthy discussion on the various ways the ruling elite thought about emancipating the slaves in the colonies. Some of these ideas included gradual emancipation based on age and “freeing” oneself by working for payment on their own time: “a process of gradual self-purchase, where the slaves, using money they made during their one [emphasis added by me] free day of the week, could buy additional days of freedom from their masters until they were entirely free (270). All of these discussions are predicated on the idea that a formerly enslaved human could not understand the significance of being an active member of society. To me, this arguments seem to be focused on maintaining white economic superiority within the French Empire and not at all to do with actual human right issues the revolution is attempting to address. In fact, I think Dubois feels this way with the incorporation of the Sieyes paragraph on page 259. What are your thoughts on the many painfully arrogant ways these French men though about emancipation within an empire?

One Reply to “The Many, Many Ways of Not Giving People Freedom”

  1. I agree with Sydney that many ruling elite frenchmen needed to be on top in order to contain their economic positions. I agree that the french elite simply saw those who weren’t french as people of labor and only served to do work. Since the French elite saw them solely as people of labor they imagined that they were not worthy of rights nor anything at all.

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