Slave Revolt Across Borders

Document Type


Publication Date

November 2013


This article examines examples of slave revolt, legal abolition, and post-emancipation developments in the nineteenth-century Americas. This study’s specific concern is with the transmission and nature of slave revolt and abolition in one area, which inspired slave self-emancipation in other places and related ramifications. The author pursues connections between slaves seeking freedom and colonial states as well as the first black republic’s responses to these expectations. This study explains the intersection between slaves’ original desire for freedom and the impact of external factors. Slave revolt is broadly defined as both collective rebellion and smaller acts of self-emancipation. Borders are delineated as national boundaries on land and at sea as well as between states in federal territories. The article has three aims: (1) to expand the spatial and temporal dimensions of the “common-wind” approach to slave revolt studies beyond Haiti as well as the Age of Revolution; (2) to reveal connections between the Caribbean, Central America, North America, and South America that are usually overlooked because of national and regional historiographies independent of each other; and (3) to contribute to the conceptualization of emancipation in African diaspora scholarship through movement, homelands, and racial solidarity.

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