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‘There Are No Slaves in France’The Political Culture of Race and Slavery in the Ancien Régime$
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Sue Peabody

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780195101980

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195101980.001.0001

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The Police des Noirs, 1776–1777

The Police des Noirs, 1776–1777

(p.106) 7 The Police des Noirs, 1776–1777
‘There Are No Slaves in France’

Sue Peabody

Oxford University Press

Louis XVI issued the third and final major piece of legislation regulating the entry of black subjects to the kingdom of France on August 9, 1777, known as the Police des Noirs. This royal declaration varied considerably from the Edict of October 1716 and the Declaration of December 15, 1738, since this prescribed actions based on skin color alone, rather than the slave status. The Police des Noirs was also registered by the Parlement of Paris. Minister of the Marine Sartine intentionally advocated the use of racial language as a way to avoid the parlement's opposition to legislation with the word slave. The Police des Noirs was prompted by court cases in which slaves sued for their freedom.

Keywords:   Louis XVI, Police des Noirs, Edict of October 1716, Declaration of 1738, slaves, Parlement of Paris, freedom, skin color

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