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Making Race in the CourtroomThe Legal Construction of Three Races in Early New Orleans$
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Kenneth R. Aslakson

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780814724316

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814724316.001.0001

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The Gulf and Its City

The Gulf and Its City

(p.17) 1 The Gulf and Its City
Making Race in the Courtroom

Kenneth R. Aslakson

NYU Press

This chapter provides the socioeconomic framework of New Orleans in the Age of Revolution, and locates the city's free people of color within this framework. The city was characterized by the rising new industries, busy markets, crowded streets, and newly built suburbs. Unlike comparable cities such as New York, Boston, and Philadelphia—where the developing industrial and commercial economies were based on free labor—New Orleans was rapidly emerging as a slave society. As such, the city became tied to the Caribbean slave societies through the Gulf of Mexico. Within this socioeconomic framework, the free people of color made a living primarily in the manufacturing, commercial, and service sectors.

Keywords:   Age of Revolution, socioeconomic framework, New Orleans, Caribbean slave societies, Mexican Gulf, free people of color

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