The actual, physical Stamp Act, the piece of British legislation that really pissed off a bunch of soon-to-be Americans in 1765 and precipitated the American Revolution, will be on display here in the U.S. for the very first time, and lucky for us, it will be right near by, at the New-York Historical Society (NYHS).
It will be on display as part of a new exhibit opening at NYHS about the revolutionary period in the late 1700s marked by the American and French revolutions, and the far-too-often-forgotten Haitian Revolution. Bet you didn't know the slaves of Saint Domingue, as Haiti was once called, led the world's only successful slave rebellion and declared a republic for themselves in 1804.
As you can imagine, this turn of events left the U.S. in quite a pickle: In 1804, Americans were not yet willing to extend the revolutionary ideals of equality they had just established for themselves to their black slaves, and quite frankly, Haiti's ability to do so scared the pants off of them. It wasn't really a high point in American diplomatic history, and so the Haitian Revolution maybe has gotten dusted under the rug a bit in the history books. So this new exhibit is a welcome reprieve from that omission, putting the events in Haiti in their rightful place in the global narrative of that revolutionary period.
[Brooklyn Before Now studied the Haitian Revolution in grad school and believe Brooklyn Before Now when it tells you it is a truly fascinating event in world history and worth learning a thing or two about.]
"Revolution! The Atlantic World Reborn" opens this Friday, Nov. 11, as the first exhibit in NYHS's newly renovated building at 170 Central Park West. It will be on display until April 15, 2012, when it will travel to venues in the UK and France.
Riot-inciting Stamp Act on Show in U.S [BBC]
Revolution: The Atlantic World Reborn [NYHS]