Freeing the Mind: Breaking the Chains of Ideological Enslavement
Academic societies offered opportunities to counter proslavery beliefs during the Haitian Revolution. In the Old Regime, the institution of slavery permeated colonial society and influenced ideology, and was upheld by learned societies. However, after 1791, these institutions began to counter proslavery beliefs with abolitionist arguments. Learned societies were important means of disseminating knowledge to all levels of colonial society. During the Haitian Revolution, philanthropists founded a racially integrated Free Society of Sciences, Arts, and Humanities to showcase the intellectual achievements of men of all colors. The effect of emancipation and the philanthropic efforts to maintain it were irreversible, and the influence of learned societies is visible in Haitian history during and after the revolution.