Social Control in Slave Plantation Societies: A Comparison of St. Domingue and Cuba / Edition 1

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First published in 1971, Gwendolyn Midlo Hall's comparison of two developing sugar plantation systems -- St. Domingue's (Haiti) in the eighteenth century and Cuba's in the nineteenth century -- changed the focus in comparative slavery studies. Hall establishes that slavery and race relations in any given time and place were determined by strategic needs, the raison d'etre of the colony, evolving economic and demographic factors, and above all, by the need to preserve social order in colonies where the slave population was large, active, competent, resourceful, and independent minded. She delineates a pattern of racism rising and entrenching itself as a matter of public policy, as a means of bolstering the exploitative system, a pattern that recurred throughout the hemisphere.

LSU Press

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Editorial Reviews

**** Reprint of the work originally published by Johns Hopkins U. Press in 1971 and distinguished by inclusion in BCL3. Based on Hall's thesis, U. of Michigan. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807120835
  • Publisher: Louisiana State University Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1996
  • Series: Studies in Historical & Political Science Series
  • Edition description: Louisiana Paperback Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 184
  • Sales rank: 1,042,513
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.42 (d)

Meet the Author

Gwendolyn Midlo Hall is professor of history at Rutgers University and consulting professor of history at the University of New Orleans. Her second book, Africans in Colonial Louisiana, has won numerous prizes, including the John Hope Franklin Prize of the American Studies Association and the Elliott Rudwick Prize of the Organization of American Historians. Her latest book is Love, War, and the 96th Engineers (Colored): The World War II New Guinea Diaries of Captain Hyman Samuelson.

LSU Press

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Table of Contents

I Methods and Overview 1
II The Problem of the Survival of the Slave Population 13
Mortality and Overwork 16
Suicide among Slaves 20
Growing Concern about Survival of the Slave Population 23
Institutionalization of the Illegal African Slave Trade 28
III Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion 32
European Belief in Witchcraft 37
Efforts to Convert the Slaves Deteriorate 40
Abandonment of Religious Education of Estate Slaves in Nineteenth-Century Cuba 42
Religious Education and Social Stability 50
IV Black Resistance and White Repression 52
Slave Revolts in the Spanish Caribbean 52
The Conspiracy of the Ladder 57
Systematic Resistance in St. Domingue 62
Theft and the Market 66
Murder 68
Poison: Real or Imaginary? 71
Herbalism in Africa 73
Attempts to Control the Slaves 74
Enforcement of Security Measures 78
V Protective Aspects of Slave Law 81
The French System 84
Spanish Slave Law before the Bourbon Reforms 89
The Street Slaves 90
Marriage and the Family 92
The Bourbon Reform Period 96
Spanish Slave Codes of the Reform Period 102
The Myth of Protective Spanish Slave Law 105
Slave Law of Nineteenth-Century Cuba 108
The Impact of Corruption in Public Office 110
VI Emancipation and the Status of the Free 113
The Predominance of Military Considerations during the Pre-plantation Period 114
Policy toward Emancipation and the Needs of Plantation Agriculture 119
The Evolution of French Policy toward Emancipation 122
The Evolution of Spanish Policy toward Emancipation 124
The Impact of the Haitian Revolution upon Racial Policies in Nineteenth-Century Cuba 125
Growing Hostility toward the Free-Colored Population in Nineteenth-Century Cuba 127
The Emancipados 132
VII Racism as an Instrument of Social and Political Domination 136
Origin of the Colored Elite of St. Domingue 139
Social Conflict between the Colored and White Elite of St. Domingue 144
Manipulation of Racial Conflict in the Face of the Independence Threat 147
Epilogue 152
Bibliography 155
Index 161
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