Notions of Race in the Eighteenth Century

Sue Peabody

in ‘There Are No Slaves in France’

Published in print January 1997 | ISBN: 9780195101980
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854448 | DOI:
Notions of Race in the Eighteenth Century

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In 1759, the Parlement of Paris made a decision that established the status of slaves who sued for their freedom within the jurisdiction of this court and, consequently, the Admiralty Courts within its domain. This was the case of Francisque, which set an important example for the suits that would follow it in the same jurisdiction, as well as across the channel in England's Somerset case. It also provided an opportunity for French thinking on racial difference in the middle of the eighteenth century. The lawyers revealed assumptions about the meaning of the term negre and the foundations of racism in eighteenth-century France due to their attempts to argue that Francisque was not a negre, and thus not subject to the laws of 1716 and 1738.

Keywords: Admiralty Court of France; Parlement of Paris; Declaration of 1738; Francisque; race; slaves; negre

Chapter.  5275 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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