Haitian Revolution

Kara, Noah,Hanaan

The Haitian Revolution took place from 1791-1804 and it was a fight for equality for all people and freedom from France. Haiti was a French sugar colony of slaves, free blacks, and whites.

Citizen participation

The Haiti population was made of 500,000 slaves, 30,000 whites, and a group of free blacks almost equal to the number of whites. France passed a law stating that every person born to free parents free as well. The white people did not want to obey this law and the free blacks wanted everyone to abide by it. They began to fight in the capital about what is or isn't good for their colony, soon to be country. Eventually, the slaves began to revolt against their masters (see picture below). The people of Haiti pledged allegiance to either France or the idea of a new country, their loyalty was so strong that they shaped and laid out the future of their country. They participated in physically fighting against their superior country for what they believed in and it greatly benefitted when Haiti finally gained independence from France.


Enlightenment thinkers really set the tone for ideas such as separation of powers, checks and balances, liberty, equality, democracy, popular sovereignty, human rights, constitutionalism, and nationalism. John Locke inspired the idea of a representative government and that all men are rational, capable but must compromise their beliefs in the interest of forming a government for the people. Baron de Montesquieu elaborated and added to Locke's ideas by forming the ideas of separation of powers and the division of state. Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson both were inspired by enlightenment thought in their contributions in the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution. This lead to huge increase in democracy across the world after the American colonies successfully rebelled against Great Britain.

Toussaint Louverture, a strong military leader and a skillful politician was the key person who is known for shifting political thoughts during the Haitian Revolution. He became to be known as one of the best revolutionaries in the world because he began a revolution to free the colony of French control. Louverture priorities were the ending of slavery in Haiti and leading a successful revolution in which Haiti would gain its independence from France. Toussaint became one of the major leaders in a slave revolt in 1791 where blacks stood up against the French to try and force them to abolish slavery in Haiti. By April 1796, Louverture ruled the colony of Haiti with the approval of its French governor.

        Jean Jacques Dessalines succeeded as leader of the revolution after the capture of Toussaint Louverture. He declared Saint-Domingue the independent country of Haiti in 1804.

Freemen and slaves have been actively involved in civic participation throughout history. Freemen typically have more of a voice than non citizens in civic participation in whatever segment of history it may be. In Rome, slaves had absolutely no voice in the government but the plebeians, or common people, did. The Concilium Plebis was the principal popular assembly of the ancient Roman Republic. It functioned as a legislative assembly, through which the plebeians (commoners) could pass laws, elect magistrates, and try judicial cases. This gave the common people in Rome a voice.

The Haitian revolution was influenced by both the American and French revolutions. In 1789, white Frenchmen felt superior and looked down at French mulattoes (mixed black and white ancestry) and African American slaves. As the numbers of mulattoes and slaves grew, French colonists grew scared and pushed rules and restrictions on them. They were segregated in every way possible. As the French Revolution started in 1789, people demanded equality and freedom for all. Being French, the mulattoes assumed these proclamations would apply to them as well. As a result of being denied the same rights as whites, the mulattoes and slaves grew angry and were determined to win their own freedoms and rights. Thus, begins the start of the Haitian Revolution.

        The American Revolution also influenced the Haitian Revolution. American colonies during the 1700's demanded the independence from Britain herself, her control, and her influence and them. American believed that they deserved the right to be free and have the same rights of all English men. This ideas from the American caused great influences on the Haitians. They themselves were tired and angry with influences and control of France. The American ideas impacted their beliefs and were used as the backbone to the beginning of the Haitian Revolution. 1793, marked the abolition of slavery in the colony Haiti. Within year of revolutionary events slavery was abolished throughout the entire French empire in 1794 and finally to Haitian independence from France in 1804.


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