Anna Julia Cooper’s Analysis of the Haitian Revolution

Clr James Journal 23 (1-2):83-104 (2017)

Abstract
Anna Julia Cooper has gained wider recognition in philosophy, thanks to the work of black feminist scholars, generating increased interest in Cooper’s ideas on race, gender, education, and social problems in the United States. However, the global scope of Cooper’s political theory has not yet received sufficient attention. Cooper’s 1925 dissertation is an analysis of slavery and the Haitian revolution, which demonstrates the fundamental contradictions within French enlightenment discourses of liberty. Cooper shows how European discourses of liberty were hampered by the realities of enslavement, predating arguments that would become more widely known in later works, such as C.L.R. James’s The Black Jacobins and Eric Williams’s Columbus to Castro. As Cooper demonstrates how ideologies of racial inequality undermined the stated ideals of the French revolution, she argues from a natural law position to not only maintain that slavery is “a supreme crime against humanity,” in her words, but also that “it is natural and just that it contains its punishment within itself.”
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  Major Philosophers  Social and Political Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 2167-4256
DOI 10.5840/clrjames201712445
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