POSTPONED - Slavery and abolition: a Napoleonic blind spot?

Etching illustrating a ship disembarking to left, two galley slaves stand and one sits next to a barrel to right

In light of the ongoing public health situation, we have taken the decision to postpone this event. As soon as a new date has been arranged it will accessible on our events page.

The words used by Napoleon in the decree he issued on his return from Elba were carefully chosen. The French slave trade was to be abolished.  There would be no more slaving expeditions, whether from French ports or from France’s colonies; and any ship’s captain caught infringing the law would have his ship and its cargo confiscated.  Napoleon hoped to send a signal to his supporters and to a wider audience across Europe, that he was a liberal, a son of the revolution who would champion human rights and bring about the end of slavery. But did he mean it? Had he really been converted to the abolitionist cause? He had championed reforms to justice and administration, to the church, the army the professions. Did he have a blind spot when it came to slavery?

Professor Alan Forrest is one of the world's leading authorities on the French Revolution and the Age of Napoleon, author of many books  including Napoleon's Men: The Soldiers of the Revolution and Empire (2002); with Philip G. Dwyer, Napoleon and his empire: Europe, 1804-1814 (2007); with Karen Hagemann and Jane Rendall , Soldiers, Citizens and Civilians: Experiences and Perceptions of the Revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars 1790–1820 (2009); with Matthias Middell, The Routledge Companion to the French Revolution in World History (2015). He is currently one of the editors of the upcoming 3-volume The Cambridge History of the Napoleonic Wars. In this session he will talk about his latest book The Death of the French Atlantic: Trade, War, and Slavery in the Age of Revolution soon to be published by Oxford University Press.

Speaker: Professor Alan Forrest (University of York)
Discussant: Dr Graciela Iglesias-Rogers (University of Winchester)
Chair: Dr Xavier Guégan (University of Winchester)

This talk is hosted by the University's Modern History Research Centre.

No booking required. For further information, please contact the MHRC leading convenor, Dr Graciela Iglesias-Rogers

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