The abolitions of slavery in the French Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue in 1793 and in revolutionary France in 1794 were the first dramatic blows against an institution that had shaped the Atlantic world for three centuries and affected the lives of millions of people. Based on extensive archival research, You Are All Free provides the first complete account of the dramatic events that led to these epochal decrees, and also to the destruction of Cap Francais, the richest city in the French Caribbean, and to the first refugee crisis in the United States. Taking issue with earlier accounts that claim that Saint-Domingue's slaves freed themselves, or that French revolutionaries abolished slavery as part of a general campaign for universal human rights, the book shows that abolition was the result of complex and often paradoxical political struggles on both sides of the Atlantic that have frequently been misunderstood by earlier scholars.
Jeremy D. Popkin, T. Marshall Hahn Jr Professor of History at the University of Kentucky, has written numerous books on the French and Haitian Revolutions and on the subject of autobiographical literature, including Revolutionary News: The Press in France, 1789-1799 (1990), History, Historians and Autobiography (2005), and Facing Racial Revolution: Eyewitness Accounts of the Haitian Revolution (2007). He has been a visiting Professor at the College de France (2009) and Brown University (2005) and held numerous fellowships, including awards from the J. S. Guggenheim Foundation, the National Humanities Center, the Fulbright Program, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute for Advanced Study, and the Newberry Library.
Winner of American Historical Association J. Russell Major Prize 2011 and David Pinkney Prize 2010.