ISBN-10:
0674027590
ISBN-13:
9780674027596
Pub. Date:
04/28/2008
Publisher:
Harvard
Degrees of Freedom: Louisiana and Cuba after Slavery / Edition 1

Degrees of Freedom: Louisiana and Cuba after Slavery / Edition 1

by Rebecca J. Scott

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Overview

Degrees of Freedom: Louisiana and Cuba after Slavery / Edition 1

As Louisiana and Cuba emerged from slavery in the late nineteenth century, each faced the question of what rights former slaves could claim. Degrees of Freedom compares and contrasts these two societies in which slavery was destroyed by war, and citizenship was redefined through social and political upheaval. Both Louisiana and Cuba were rich in sugar plantations that depended on an enslaved labor force. After abolition, on both sides of the Gulf of Mexico, ordinary people-cane cutters and cigar workers, laundresses and labor organizers-forged alliances to protect and expand the freedoms they had won. But by the beginning of the twentieth century, Louisiana and Cuba diverged sharply in the meanings attributed to race and color in public life, and in the boundaries placed on citizenship.

Louisiana had taken the path of disenfranchisement and state-mandated racial segregation; Cuba had enacted universal manhood suffrage and had seen the emergence of a transracial conception of the nation. What might explain these differences?

Moving through the cane fields, small farms, and cities of Louisiana and Cuba, Rebecca Scott skillfully observes the people, places, legislation, and leadership that shaped how these societies adjusted to the abolition of slavery. The two distinctive worlds also come together, as Cuban exiles take refuge in New Orleans in the 1880s, and black soldiers from Louisiana garrison small towns in eastern Cuba during the 1899 U.S. military occupation.

Crafting her narrative from the words and deeds of the actors themselves, Scott brings to life the historical drama of race and citizenship in postemancipation societies.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674027596
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 04/28/2008
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 1,053,749
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Rebecca J. Scott is Charles Gibson Distinguished University Professor of History and Professor of Law at the University of Michigan.

Table of Contents

Introduction

1. Two Worlds of Cane, 1803-1860

2. Building Citizenship: Louisiana, 1862-1873

3. Crisis and Voice: Southern Louisiana, 1874-1896

4. Finding the Spaces of Freedom: Central Cuba, 1868-1895

5. A Wartime Cross-Racial Alliance: Cuba, 1895-1898

6. Democracy and Antidemocracy: The Claims of Citizens, 1898-1900

7. The Right to Have Rights, 1901-1905

8. The Search for Property and Standing: Cuba, 1906-1914

9. Diverging Paths and Degrees of Freedom

Appendix: Tables

Abbreviations

Notes

Select Bibliography of Primary Sources

Illustration and Map Credits

Acknowledgments

Index

What People are Saying About This

Scott has written a masterful comparative history, but she has also succeeded in the challenging task of integrating the
political, social and economic history of each society into a unified
story, documenting how issues of race, labor, and citizenship were
inextricably intertwined.

George Reid

Scott has given us an epochal work that is the most
important comparative analysis of race relations in the Americas since
Carl Degler'sNeither Black Nor White. What makes the book so important is its truly unusual method, and the great skill and brio with which that method is carried out. It is a triumph of historical investigation. --(George Reid Andrews, author of Afro-Latin America, 1800-2000)

John Rodrigue

Scott has written a masterful comparative history, but she has also succeeded in the challenging task of integrating the
political, social and economic history of each society into a unified
story, documenting how issues of race, labor, and citizenship were
inextricably intertwined. --(John Rodrigue, author of Reconstruction in the Cane Fields: From Slavery to Free Labor in Louisiana's Sugar Parishes, 1862-1880)

Lawrence N. Powell

Degrees of Freedom is a watershed study in the history of post-emancipation societies in the Americas. Rebecca Scott spins a fascinating narrative about race and nationality, political voice and associational activism, the struggle for resources and the quest for respect, the role of labor and the power of law to set limits of the possible. In ranging widely between the large, impersonal structures that constrain change and the ground-level individual and collective struggles that advance it, Rebecca Scott has pulled off a remarkable feat. --(Lawrence N. Powell, Tulane University)

Eric Foner

A model of how comparative history should be written, Degrees of Freedom offers strikingly original insights into how former slaves in two of the western hemisphere's most important slave societies tried to breathe substantive life into the idea and experience of freedom. --(Eric Foner, Columbia University)

George Reid Andrews

Scott has given us an epochal work that is the most important comparative analysis of race relations in the Americas since Carl Degler'sNeither Black Nor White. What makes the book so important is its truly unusual method, and the great skill and brio with which that method is carried out. It is a triumph of historical investigation.

George Reid Andrews, author of Afro-Latin America, 1800-2000

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