University of Colorado Boulder
There is something Romantic about revolution. Between throwing off the constraints of tyrannical institutions and reimagining more equitable collective life, modern conceptions of liberty in the West echo the political convictions of the Romantic era. While revolutions in America, France, and yes, Haiti/Saint-Domingue provide sites for exploring revolutionary action, the accretion of small, daily acts of resistance throughout the West Indian slave colonies reveal something more pervasive, insurgent, and durable about the revolutionary spirit. Such acts provide the main focus of D. A. Dunkley’s examination of freedom in Agency of the Enslaved: Jamaica and the Culture of Freedom in the Atlantic World.
In 1823, one hundred and forty imprisoned Jamaicans submitted a petition rejecting their criminal status. Their alleged crime? Failing to prove that they were free. By the time the list of “Persons Committed to...more