Chapter

The <i>Police des Noirs</i>, 1776–1777

Sue Peabody

in ‘There Are No Slaves in France’

Published in print January 1997 | ISBN: 9780195101980
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199854448 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195101980.003.0008
The Police des Noirs, 1776–1777

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Louis XVI issued the third and final major piece of legislation regulating the entry of black subjects to the kingdom of France on August 9, 1777, known as the Police des Noirs. This royal declaration varied considerably from the Edict of October 1716 and the Declaration of December 15, 1738, since this prescribed actions based on skin color alone, rather than the slave status. The Police des Noirs was also registered by the Parlement of Paris. Minister of the Marine Sartine intentionally advocated the use of racial language as a way to avoid the parlement's opposition to legislation with the word slave. The Police des Noirs was prompted by court cases in which slaves sued for their freedom.

Keywords: Louis XVI; Police des Noirs; Edict of October 1716; Declaration of 1738; slaves; Parlement of Paris; freedom; skin color

Chapter.  6147 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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