chapter  6
Cultural Interaction Between Europe and the World in the Nineteenth Century
Pages 31

The French Revolution seemed to mark a new epoch in the history of European imperialism, as in so many other areas. The French revolutionaries abolished slavery in French colonies. Although Napoleon reinstituted slavery in 1802, the French ended their participation in the slave trade in 1815. The British, who had outlawed the slave trade in 1807, ended slavery in the British Empire in 1833. Although the French had not followed through on their initial promise, the Declaration of the Rights of Man called for equal rights for all men, independent of nationality. When France occupied Spain, the Spanish colonies of Latin America declared their independence. Many of the leaders of the independence movements there were inspired by Napoleon and the French revolutionaries. Napoleon made no attempt to preserve Spain’s colonies. He even sold off an immense amount of land in North America to the government of the United States in the Louisiana Purchase of 1803. Factoring in the loss of Britain’s North American colonies during the American Revolution, European imperialism appeared to be waning.