Sunday, February 21, 2010

C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins: Chapter 6, "The Rise of Toussaint"

The British invaders had ample supplies and cash. The republican forces lacked both, but they prevailed because they made up for this with motivation. The black ex-slaves who comprised the core of their army were fighting to preserve their freedom.

Character and approach of Toussaint -- personally reserved and taciturn, authoritative if not authoritarian, emphasis on direct personal intervention in battles and resolution of disputes and rebellions, merciful to defeated enemies. Became the de facto leader of San Domingo.

Toussaint's political priority was economic recovery. This required reconciliation with white planters and restoration of their estates when possible -- the planters had needed experience and expertise. It also required keeping laborers on the plantations -- the government restricted their movement, although it also imposed regulations on planters to ensure that they were paid.

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