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Title: The development of slave laws in Louisiana 1724-1834
Author: Clarke, M. A.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2004
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This dissertation analyses the development of slave laws in Louisiana from 1724 to 1834 and focuses on the factors that influenced the development of slave laws under French and Spanish colonial rule, and United States jurisdiction. This period represents the promulgation of the first slave code for French Louisiana during the frontier period when slavery was in its nascent stages, up to when Louisiana had already become one of the leaders in the consolidation of slavery in the South, at the very time abolitionists were adopting a more aggressive anti-slavery approach. Louisiana experienced important economic and social changes towards the end of the Spanish colonial period. These changes were in part responsible for the rebirth of slavery in the South. Socio-economic changes are used to illustrate that, while laws retain much of their heritage and foundation, they also respond to, and develop in accordance with other changes in the society. Louisiana’s civil law tradition, as opposed to English common law, has traditionally been used to characterise Louisiana’s slavery as benign and humane. My study seeks to refute this notion and concludes that any harshness in slave laws after 1803 was related more to the socio-economic development of territory, than to United States rule, and extension English common law. Chapter one examines the promulgation of the first slave law for the Louisiana territory and examines the changes that took place in French slave laws through a comparative analysis of the 1685 French Caribbean slave code with the 1724 Louisiana code noir. In a brief review, the general role of the catholic church in the development of slave laws in early French colonial Louisiana is examined. The second chapter examines the evolution of slave laws under Spanish colonial rule and the socio-economic conditions that brought about these changes. Chapter three traces the development of the law under the United States administration from 1803 to 1834 and examines the changes that took place from the time of the French and throughout Spanish rule. Protective laws and their role in Louisiana slave society are examined under the three regimes. This study deals specifically with the laws themselves as promulgated, and not with their practical administration.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available