The Black Jacobins, first published in , changed the way colonial history was written. Its author, C L R James, would later recall his. A classic and impassioned account of the first revolution in the Third World. This powerful, intensely dramatic book is the definitive account of. The Black Jacobins has ratings and reviews. by Amy Wilentz The Big Truck That Went By by Jonathan M. Katz The Black Jacobins by C.L.R. James.

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Crisis and Opportunity Part 2A.

The Black Jacobins – Wikipedia

But if, to re-establish slavery in San Domingue, this was done, then I declare to you it would be to attempt the impossible: James makes the Haitian Revolution come alive.

He is the perfect man for the job, because he has benefited from his position in slave society more than most slaves. I am not impressed by morose discipline for the sake of discipline. His splendid powers do not rise but decline. In a word, he is compelled to represent not his party or his class, but the class for whose domination the movement is then ripe…whoever is put into this awkward position is irrevocably lost.

She benefits from a good Jamaican education, her and her father’s light-skinned benefits in the U. In ignorance, I had thought of the title of the book as an analogy, where the Haitian revolutionaries were akin to the Jacobins in France.

James,ppxvi, The weaknesses in the book come from self-defeating politics of discipline for the sake of discipline, and the heart-rending compromises that Toussaint L’Overture makes with people who see him and the republic he created as nothing more than slaves to be punished for their insubordination.


The emerging capitalist classes amassed fantastic fortunes and power that brought them into conflict with the feudal regimes, triggering the great bourgeois revolutions of the eighteenth century. Racial Distinctions Undeniably, yet not blindly Marxist, James follows an interesting path through the book. They rose up to demand price controls on bread and other essentials, final abolition of all feudal strictures, and the end of the monarchy.

The ideals of the Enlightenment, of liberty, equality and fraternity, became a material force to be reckoned with in Saint Domingue, embodied in the black rebel slave army built and led to victory after victory by Toussaint. It is not strange that the Negroes revolted.

The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution

Cover of the 1st edition. James is an extremely important thinker, writer, and historian.

If you ever want to explore the sorrows that are the reality of today’s Haiti, you should start with this book. Toussaint Breda, a literate freed slave and overseer on the Breda Plantation, read this passage over and over again, dreaming of freedom for his slave brethren. Indeed, as the Jamaican historian—and one of the leading authorities on James himself—Robert A Hill has suggested: It is a frenzy which wins all heads and grows every day.


James,pp 74, Comments feed for this blxck. Even with a military plan of total war, he would not announce any goal of independence.


The Black Jacobins

His grasp of politics led him to make all preparations, but he could not admit to ja,es and to his people that it was easier to find decency, gratitude, justice and humanity in a cage of starving tigers than in the councils of imperialism. Let it change you! This might have seemed practical at the time, but does not make for exciting reading, and is certainly not good revolutionary policy.

James was born January 4,in Trinidad. The utter brutality and injustice of slave ownership, and the barbaric treatment of uames is scandalous. It has become a touch stone for thinking about the blqck struggle. Yet his critical stress on black agency and the dramatic transformation in consciousness and confidence jamfs the Haitian masses was combined with a masterful grasp of the totality of social relations within which they acted.

Or if a kinder master were leaving town, some of the slaves and the property cattle would be poisoned, so that the master would have to stay to sort out the mess.

Before very few Europeans questioned the slave trade, let alone agitated for its end. By the time of the outbreak of the French Revolution inthe 30, or so whites lived amidst someenslaved blacks.