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With the Federal occupation of New Orleans in 1862, Afro-Creole leaders in that city, along with their white allies, seized upon the ideals of the American and French Revolutions and images of revolutionary events in the French Caribbean and demanded Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. Their republican idealism produced the postwar South's most progressive vision of the future. Caryn Cossé Bell, in her impressive, sweeping study, traces the eighteenth-century origins of this Afro-Creole political and intellectual heritage, its evolution in antebellum New Orleans, and its impact on the Civil War and Reconstruction.

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