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The Black Jacobins Essay

  • Submitted by: nina_2
  • on March 27, 2009
  • Category: English
  • Length: 571 words

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Essay Question: CLR James’ broke new ground in the study of resistance to slavery when he wrote the Black Jacobins. Compose an essay that describes what his new viewpoints were and why they were important. Please focus on the topics of historical image of African resistance, economic/Marxist interpretation of the Haitian Revolution, and the international and political consequences of the revolution.

Viewpoints on the Haitian Revolution
Cyril Lionel Robert James’ essay, the Black Jacobins, is a historical account of the Haitian slave revolution in the 1790s. In this essay, James analyzes the revolutionary progress according to economic and class distinctions, instead of racial distinctions and recounts the emancipation in Haiti.
One of James’ viewpoints speaks on the topic of Toussaint L'Ouverture as being the revolutionary forefront and organizational leader. The author stresses that L’Ouverture is the perfect leader because he has benefited from his position in slave society more than most slaves. He is credited with uniting the revolutionary forces, as well as leading many important battles. His influence is one of the main propellants of the passage. James reminds us that L’Ouverture can read, which means he lives a privileged life as a slave. L'Ouverture learned military tactics, "sophisticated" speaking and writing techniques, and leadership dynamics throughout the time that he served his master that later were crucial to his successes in leading the slaves to independence.   James then goes into explaining the characteristics of the small privileged class of slaves. The house-servants could gain education and many other benefits that field slaves could not. They could also see the unfairness and brutality of the social system on certain classes but benefitted from it nevertheless. However, because of this, in future times, the privileged slaves could use their advantages toward helping the cause of the oppressed people. According to James, "the...

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