Vision et débats autour de la condition servile (écrits d’engagés, d’anciens esclaves et d’abolitionnistes) en Amérique du Nord du milieu à la fin du XVIIIe siècle

Abstract : The main purpose of this paper is to explore the question of servitude and call for the abolition in 18th century North Colonial America from 1730 to 1804 by comparing the written testimony of some victims with that of activists fighting for abolition. The aim is to understand how all these testimonies protest against servitude, whether there are contradictions between the visions of victims and witnesses, and if there are any common points between all the authors despite the differences of status and origins. This paper compares and contrasts testimonies from a number of sources: three autobiographies by African men who were enslaved and freed some years before the end of their lives, various writings by three Europeans who came to America as indentured servants, and two testimonies by different Quakers condemning servitude and fighting all their lives for the abolition of slavery. A simple comparison of these sources reveals obvious differences in points of view depending on the experiences and origins of the authors. All of them describe and criticize servitude. Similarities of experiences can also be observed between various slaves and indentured servants. In reality, they are all victims of New World servitude, and were brought there to serve the colonists by being deprived of all their rights and human dignity. The corpus of analysis contains only personal testimonies. Their accounts may have been exaggerated or distorted for personal reasons, so all the information given in every document has to be read carefully. The originality of this paper lies in the comparison of Black slavery and White indentured servitude in colonial America. Another value is to have used a historical approach “from the bottom up” to do so, by considering the point of view of the victims.
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Master Thesis
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Denis Sousbie. Vision et débats autour de la condition servile (écrits d’engagés, d’anciens esclaves et d’abolitionnistes) en Amérique du Nord du milieu à la fin du XVIIIe siècle. Histoire. 2013. ⟨dumas-01144616⟩

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