Victor Schoelcher


Victor Schoelcher

Victor Schoelcher (22 July 1804, Paris - 25 December 1893, Houilles) was a French abolitionist writer in the 1800s and the main spokesman for a group from Paris who worked for the abolition of slavery, and formed an abolition society in 1834. He worked especially hard for the abolition of slavery on the Caribbean islands.

Schoelcher was born in Paris but was sent to visit America from 1829-1830. While in America he visited Mexico, Cuba, and some of the southern states of the U.S. While on this trip Schoelcher learned a lot about slavery and began his career as an abolitionist writer.

He was responsible for the publication of many articles regarding slavery between 1833 and 1847 in which he focused on positive aspects of abolishing slavery. Schoelcher was also intent on social, economic, and political changes being made in the Caribbean colonies. He thought that the production of sugar should continue in the colonies but large central factories should be constructed rather than using slave labor.After Haiti gained independence Schoelcher was the first European abolitionist to visit the country and had a large influence on the abolitionist movements in all of the French Caribbean islands. He became the president of the commission for the abolition of slavery and on April 27 1848 the French government decreed that slavery was abolished in all of its colonies.

Schoelcher was the most well informed Frenchman on the Caribbean colonies and after 1871 developed a group of correspondents between the Caribbean, Great Britain and the United States. He continued to express his political ideas and on December 2 1851 went into exile in Belgium and London until 1870 after disagreeing with Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte's coup d'etat. Schoelcher was elected senator for life in 1875.

Schoelcher published his last writings in 1889. After fighting for and writing for the abolition of slavery and French colonialism in the Caribbean for a large portion of the 1800s Schoelcher died in 1893.

On May 20 1949 Schoelcher's remains were transferred to the Panthéon, where great French men and women are buried.

Bibliography

* Jan Rogozinski - "A Brief History Of The Caribbean" (New York: Plume, 2000)
* James Chastain - "Victor Schoelcher. Encyclopedia of 1848 Revolutions" 2004 James Chastain [http://www.ohiou.edu/~chastain/rz/schoel.htm] .


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