Master of Arts (MA)



Document Type



Before January 1811, slave rebellion weighed heavily on the minds of white Louisianans. The colonial and territorial history of Louisiana challenged leaders with a diverse and complex social environment that required calculated decision-making and a fair hand to navigate. Racial and ethnic divisions forced officials to tread carefully in order to build a prosperous territory while maintaining control over the slave population. Many Louisianans used slave labor to produce indigo, cotton, and sugarcane along the rivers of south Louisiana, primarily between Baton Rouge and the mouth of the Mississippi River. For nearly a century, Louisianans avoided slave upheaval but after 1791 the colonial and territorial ties to Saint Domingue, the seat of the first successful slave revolution in world history, heightened the tension. Over the course of the next twenty years Spanish, French, and American leaders worked diligently to prevent slave rebellion in a territory that had slowly become a fertile breeding ground for slave insurrection. Eventually the strain overwhelmed territorial leaders when thousands of exiles from the Haitian Revolution arrived in Louisiana after a brief period in Cuba. Social tension, resulting from the exponential population growth and the increase of a dangerous ideology developed during their experiences with slave insurrection, that the Haitian refugees brought with them. The territory finally succumbed to attempted revolution when Charles Deslondes, a slave on the Manuel André plantation, called upon his fellow bondsmen and bondswomen to kill whites and demand their own freedom.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

William J. Cooper



Included in

History Commons