Fellows Forum - Jefferson's Grandson-in-law and Slavery in Cuba
Join Rahma Jerad, Assistant Professor at the University of Tunis, for Thomas Jefferson's Grandson-in-law and the Defense of Slavery in Cuba.
Cuba represented a place of confrontation between two different ideologies - American expansionists and interest in slavery and British abolitionism. This confrontation was typically embodied in the class between two representatives of these nations: Superintendent for Liberated Africans Richard Robert Madden for Great Britain and Consul Nicolas Philip Trist for the United States. Trist, who happened to be Thomas Jefferson's grandson-in law, was fiercely opposed to Madden on the issue of slavery in Cuba, and of American involvement in the pursuit of illegal transatlantic slave trade in the island. The objective of this project is thus to read Nicholas P. Trist's papers held on microfilm by the Robert H. Smith International Center for Jefferson Studies in order to find out more about Trist's role in the pursuit of this traffic at a time when American ships were clearly involved in it. The aim is to find out whether he received any instructions from the Department of State to close his eyes on the traffic and whether he was in any contact with the Creole elite at a time when it was struggling to escape from Spain's domination and ready to cooperate with any nation that would serve its interest. This project is part of a follow-up investigation more closely focused on Madden and Trist, with the aim of publication in an English-language journal. The book derived from this dissertation will be in French. It is also part of a larger investigation on British antislavery and American expansionism in the Caribbean. The figure of Nicolas P. Trist, with his connections with the Jefferson family, Cuba, and later Mexico, is part of the global ramification of an institution Thomas Jefferson reproved, but did not know how to end.
The talk is free, but space is limited.