Poursuivre en justice pour s’affranchir : une forme de résistance ? L’exemple de l’esclave Furcy”(Taking legal action to achieve freedom: a form of resistance? The example of the slave Furcy)

An article written by the historian Sue Peabody (University Washington State) published in the magazine Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française, Volume 71, number 1-2, summer–automn 2017, p. 35–57

The decision taken by a slave to claim his freedom through the courts is indeed an act of resistance against slavery, while not necessarily representing an abolitionist act. Seen through the lens of micro history, the article differentiates the way in which a slave considered his personal condition to be unjust and the arguments put forward by his lawyers with the aim of achieving his liberation. The individual struggle of the slave Furcy did not make an important contribution to the French antislavery movement of the 19th century. On the contrary, the ruling issued by the French royal court, stating that Furcy was to be declared free in application of the principle of ‘free soil’, appears to have stabilised the colonial slavery society up to the 1848 Revolution.

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