Sunday, February 21, 2010

C.L.R. James, The Black Jacobins: Chapter 7, "The Mulattoes Try and Fail"

The mulatto minority resented the prominence of ex-slaves in republican San Domingo. The mulattoes sought leadership for themselves, and saw independence from France and its revolutionary government as a way to bring about their end. They would have been just as happy to see the return of slavery, as well.

The republican government of the island under Laveaux perceived that the ex-slaves were their most trustworthy allies, and Laveaux especially favored Toussaint. The ex-slaves generally reciprocated this faith in Laveaux and the republican government, and this was particularly true of the astute and well-informed Toussaint.

On March 20, 1796, the mulattoes under Valette staged a coup d'etat in Le Cap; Laveaux and other republican leaders were arrested. Toussaint was ready for the blow. He quickly had his agents raise the black laborers of the district against the coup, and sent a strong detachment from his army to back this up. The coup collapsed in short order, and Laveaux officially raised Toussaint to his second-in-command.

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