Colonial Absolutism: Politics in Principle and Practice in Old Regime Saint-Domingue

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Ogle, Gene, John Cabot University (Rome). "Colonial Absolutism: Politics in Principle and Practice in Old Regime Saint-Domingue." The Haitian Revolution: Viewed 200 Years After, an International Scholarly Conference. John Carter Brown Library, Providence, RI. June 18, 2004.


Following are rough notes of Ogle's speech, taken by Stuart Maxwell on June 18, 2004.

The French kings thought of themselves as absolute rulers, and their absolute rule extended to the colonies. How was this possible? The fleur de lis (the symbol of the French monarchy) was everywhere - even burned into the flesh of convicts. Ogle suggests that the slaves rose under the flag of the French king because (some) slaves were used to a similar absolutist rule, and the king's symbol could stand for many different things.

Absolutism in Colonial rule... Bureaucrats fought over the symbols of power. There was a complex hierarchical structure

There was an imperial sphere and a colonial sphere, the former concerned with matters of state and the latter with theatre, culture, etc.