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Pacts With The Devil.pdf

Faust's Pact with the devil surely presents the most baffling of all the problems raised by Goethe's poem. We are here at the very heart of the myth which the action of the drama illustrates. Goethe has used the wager between God and Mephistopheles and the pact between Faust and the Devil to symbolize the issues which are at stake in Faust's career on earth. In the background we see God waiting patiently for the moment when His trust in Faust will be vindicated. On this vital theme of wager and pact, if anywhere, we have a right to expect unequivocal clarity: on the terms of the pact, on the positions taken by the contracting parties, and on the outcome of the conflict between them. Yet, if we are to believe the critics and commentators, Goethe has hung a veil of confusion over this whole area, so that we are prevented from catching even a glimpse of his intentions. For the last fifty years critical opinion has been sharply divided on the fundamental question as to which of the two protagonists emerges victorious.1 Some hold with Faust; others either side with Mephistopheles or believe that the duel ends in a draw, and that Faust is saved only by an act of grace, which is bestowed on him as by a deus ex machina.

Pacts With The Devil.pdf

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Each chapter begins with an introduction to familiarize readers with critical issues and to contextualize the primary sources against broader developments of the period. Questions for discussion and reflection, twelve black-and-white illustrations, and a short bibliography are included.

23. The Problem of Idols24. The Betrayal and Trial of Jesus25. The Susceptibility of Women to the Devil26. The Death of the Old Religion27. The Problem of Magic28. Survival of the Old Religion29. Alexander Encounters Gog and Magog 30. Dealing with Unorthodox Views31. Policing Practice32. The Possibility of Demonic Night Flight?33. A Sorceress and Her Demons

"This multifaceted collection of primary sources on the devil and demons provides students with the single most fascinating entry into the medieval world that I have seen. With clear introductions, questions for readers, a helpful bibliography, and captivating illustrations, this volume is a rich and accessible resource for research and teaching."

January 12, 2011 marks the grim one-year anniversary of the Haitian earthquake. In the past year, as Haitians have tried to rebuild from that disaster, they have suffered a cholera epidemic and flooding from Hurricane Tomas. Thousands remain homeless, buildings in ruins, and violence widespread. The political process offers little hope for relief. Haiti's recent, much-watched Presidential elections, like so many in its past, have been marred with accusations of fraud and corruption. Haiti is now arguably the most desperate nation in the Western hemisphere and among the most desperate places anywhere in the world. This month, historian Leslie Alexander puts Haiti's recent crises in a longer perspective and reminds us that historically the United States has often hindered, rather than helped, Haiti deal with its many challenges.

One year ago, on January 12, 2010, a devastating earthquake struck the island nation of Haiti. The following day, as tens of thousands of the dead and dying lay beneath the rubble and remains of their homes and communities, American televangelist Pat Robertson stated that the earthquake occurred because Haiti and its people are cursed. The curse, he claimed, was the result of a "pact" that the Haitian people made with the Devil centuries ago to gain their freedom from the French.

New York Times columnist David Brooks argued that Haiti's poverty can largely be explained by voodoo's influence, which he described as a "progress-resistant cultural influence." Likewise, Wall Street Journal contributor Lawrence Harrison issued an even more devastating critique of voodoo, in which he maintained that Vodun is a religion "without ethical content" that has undermined Haiti's social, cultural and economic viability.

The problem with global news reporting on Haiti, however, is that none of these problems and challenges has been put into any real or accurate historical perspective. Our understanding of how and why Haiti is in such dire straits remains extremely limited and marred by profound misunderstandings.

One can point to a long list of human harm to Haiti. But to understand Haiti's so-often tragic political and economic journey it is particularly crucial to highlight two historical processes: the crippling diplomatic and economic legacy of the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804) and also the importance of Haiti's relationship with the United States, which swung from overt opposition for much of the nineteenth century to imperialist intervention through much of the twentieth.

By 1789, the colony had attained a height of prosperity not surpassed in the history of European colonies. It contained 8,000 plantations and provided France with 40% of its profit from trade on an annual basis. More importantly, it produced a staggering amount of cash crops: more than one-half of the sugar and coffee consumed in Europe and the Americas, as well as significant amounts of cotton and indigo, were exported from Saint Domingue in the 18th century.

Race relations were unusually complex in Saint Domingue. The enslaved population was the largest in the Caribbean, about 500,000, which was nearly twice that of Jamaica, the Caribbean colony with the second largest number of slaves.

Vodun is essentially a blending of African spiritual beliefs with Catholicism. Significantly, it was this use of African spirituality that prompted Pat Robertson to describe the Haitian Revolution as "a pact with the Devil," since the Haitian Revolution began immediately after one of Boukman's spiritual ceremonies.

Enslaved Africans, armed with machetes, began beating drums, chanting, and marching from plantation to plantation, killing, looting, and burning the cane fields. Beginning with 12,000 followers, Boukman's revolt quickly blossomed into the largest, bloodiest slave uprising in history. By the end of September, over a thousand plantations had been burned, and hundreds of Whites had been killed. The gens de couleur soon joined the rebels, and violence continued to spread.

After months of fighting and bloodshed, it became clear that the revolt had become impossible to control. In December of 1791, fresh troops sent from France clashed with insurgents, then led by François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture who had successfully created an organized army of over 20,000. In 1793, Louverture gained control of the government and declared an end to slavery.

Thomas Jefferson, for example, believed that Haiti should be under French control, and openly encouraged Napoleon to re-conquer the island. After Haiti declared its independence in 1804, Jefferson was deeply troubled and suspended all diplomatic and commercial relations with the former colony.

Undoubtedly, Southern politicians' and slaveholders' desires drove U.S. policy toward Haiti. In the wake of various slave revolts in the United States, Southerners worried that recognizing Haiti would be a tacit endorsement of slave rebellion and therefore ferociously opposed the idea of establishing formal diplomatic relations with the Black republic.

France agreed to recognize Haiti as a sovereign nation, but demanded that Haiti pay compensation and reparations in exchange. The Haitians, with their diplomatic and economic backs against the wall, agreed to pay the French.

By 1915, Haiti still "owed" France $121 million francs, and much of their resources went to paying off its debt. For instance, 51% of Haiti's revenues from coffee went to service the exterior debt, 47% went to pay internal debts associated with building the nation's infrastructure, with only 2% available for all other expenses.

And paying the French did not always help Haiti diplomatically with other countries. The United States, for example, continued its policy of non-acceptance of the fledgling republic despite French recognition of Haiti.

Ultimately, however, Germany's presence in Haiti had an even more profound impact on Haiti's destiny. In 1914, following the outbreak of World War I, the U.S. government became increasingly concerned about Germany's preoccupation with its Caribbean interests. Although the United States officially stayed neutral during much of the First World War, it remained determined to counteract Germany's potential power in the Americas.

Although the United States finally withdrew troops from Haiti in 1934, the U.S. government still maintained fiscal control over the country until 1947, when Haiti finally paid off its loan to the United States. In order to do so, however, Haiti was forced to deplete its gold reserves, leaving the country bereft. Perhaps more importantly, the removal of the U.S. military did not result in the removal of U.S. influence in Haiti.


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