Prof. Ronald A. Johnson: "Contradictions in Atlantic World Emancipation and Enslavement"

Event date: 
Wednesday 15 September
Professor Ronald A. Johnson

An IASH Work-in-Progress seminar, delivered by Professor Ronald A. Johnson (American Philosophical Society Fellowship 2021; Baylor University):

Contradictions in Atlantic World Emancipation and Enslavement


The last decade has witnessed a burgeoning literature on the history of the Atlantic slave trade and of the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804). My research employs the life of Edward Stevens (1754-1834) as a lens to engage those areas of scholarly interest. Stevens was raised in the Danish West Indies, went to college in New York and Edinburgh, practiced medicine on St. Croix and in Philadelphia, and served as US consul general to Saint-Domingue during the Haitian Revolution. He established an extraordinary diplomatic relationship with the Black revolutionary administration of Toussaint Louverture. As Haiti achieved its independence, Stevens returned to St. Croix and enslaved Black people on his estates (plantations) till his death there three decades later. The paper offers preliminary results of my efforts to analyze the personal complexities around emancipation, equality, and enslavement in the Atlantic world.

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