Cul De Sac: Patrimony, Capitalism, And Slavery In French Saint-domingue by Paul CheneyCul De Sac: Patrimony, Capitalism, And Slavery In French Saint-domingue by Paul Cheney

Cul De Sac: Patrimony, Capitalism, And Slavery In French Saint-domingue

byPaul Cheney

Hardcover | February 27, 2017

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In the eighteenth century, the Cul de Sac plain in Saint-Domingue, now Haiti, was a vast open-air workhouse of sugar plantations. This microhistory of one plantation owned by the Ferron de la Ferronnayses, a family of Breton nobles, draws on remarkable archival finds to show that despite the wealth such plantations produced, they operated in a context of social, political, and environmental fragility that left them weak and crisis prone.

Focusing on correspondence between the Ferronnayses and their plantation managers, Cul de Sac proposes that the Caribbean plantation system, with its reliance on factory-like production processes and highly integrated markets, was a particularly modern expression of eighteenth-century capitalism. But it rested on a foundation of economic and political traditionalism that stymied growth and adaptation. The result was a system heading toward collapse as planters, facing a series of larger crises in the French empire, vainly attempted to rein in the inherent violence and instability of the slave society they had built. In recovering the lost world of the French Antillean plantation, Cul de Sac ultimately reveals how the capitalism of the plantation complex persisted not as a dynamic source of progress, but from the inertia of a degenerate system headed down an economic and ideological dead end.
Paul Cheney is associate professor of history at the University of Chicago. He is the author of Revolutionary Commerce: Globalization and the French Monarchy.
Title:Cul De Sac: Patrimony, Capitalism, And Slavery In French Saint-domingueFormat:HardcoverDimensions:264 pages, 9 × 6 × 1 inPublished:February 27, 2017Publisher:University Of Chicago PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:022607935X

ISBN - 13:9780226079356

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Table of Contents

Introduction. The Colonial Cul de Sac

1. Province and Colony
2. Production and Investment
3. Humanity and Interest
4. War and Profit
5. Husband and Wife
6. Revolution and Cultivation
7. Evacuation and Indemnity

Sources and Abbreviations

Editorial Reviews

"Providing great historical detail, Cheney discusses how international conflicts; the struggles among metropolitan elites, Creole elites, and the French crown; and the ethical tensions between humaneness and business interests in the treatment of slaves contributed to the fragility and ultimate unsustainability of plantation capitalism. . . the text is well-written and organized, and the details help illustrate and reflect the complex layers of plantation capitalism in colonial France."