The French Revolution: The Haitian Revolution Essay

The French Revolution greatly inspired feelings of rebellion among the Haitian people, which sparked the Haitian Revolution. The Haitian revolution was brought upon by the obvious oppression towards the people of Haiti but the French Revolution caused the beginnings of the inevitable uprisings by the complete disregard of the African’s natural rights that were stated in the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen.

As well as inequality between social classes and Napoleon Bonaparte’s dishonored promise to the people of Haiti. The ideas of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen were that the ignorance or neglect of the natural rights of man are the particular cause of public adversities(the author believes that constitutionalism both empowers and limits the authority of government as well as provides a framework to establish and maintain law and order within society).

This includes liberty,which is the circumstance in which a person is free from oppressive control brought upon by authority or political, social, or religious views, equality among the society and between the government or monarchy, property, and security, all of which are meant to be natural God given rights entitled to every free man(the article provides a general understanding of the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen which includes the ideas, the causes and the effects). While the most basic principle of the declaration is that “All men are born and remain free and equal in rights.

Specifically the rights of liberty, private property, and the inviolability of the person. All citizens are equal before the law and are to have the right to participate in legislation or indirectly. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen was inspired by the ideals of the Enlightenment and many Enlightenment thinkers were abolitionists who advocated for the rights of African slaves(Bristow considers that the Enlightenment to be a key factor in the Haitian revolution and he analyzes the ideals of the Enlightenment’s connections to the Haitian Revolution).

The Revolutionary ideas were were welcomed and desired by the slaves, but they were refused by the current colonial government. The Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen were exclusive to all slaves including the slaves of Haiti which angered the people of Haiti more than ever. By this time feelings of insurrection began to appear and revolts started when French planters refused to grant them citizenship as declared by the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen(Here the author analyzes the feelings of inspiration from the free Haitians by the declaration).

Not only were the slaves denied of these rights but so were free Haitians and Africans. The free people of colour on the island began the revolts and rebellion when the French colonists refused them of their rights as declared by the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen(here the author states that the believe that the Haitian Revlutiones progress would have been slower if it were not for the help of the free coloureds).

When Napoleon Bonaparte promised to aid the Haitians and grant them freedom as well as the rights of the declaration, the Haitian people and their leader, Toussaint Louverture(the author includes historical evidence. The author’s work suggests that Toussaint was obliviously intelligent which led him to agree with Napoleon), were quick to agree. Toussaint who originally was loyal to the Spanish reversed his judgement and agreed to Napoleon’s terms.

The British had gained control of Haiti and Napoleon’s success in wars and battles throughout Europe provided him the confidence to conquer Haiti. With the aid of the Haitian population, Napoleon’s army quickly defeated the British. Toussaint then wrote a new constitution for Haiti which decreed that he remained loyal to France but gave himself the title governor-general of Haiti. Napoleon believed that Haiti would provide a positive effect on France’s economy and thought it to be too valuable to lose.

For those reasons, Napoleon decided to reconquer Haiti and to reinstate slavery. In 1801, Napoleon ordered his brother-in-law, Victor Emmanuel Leclerc, to invade Haiti with 25,000 men aboard seventy warships to restore the old slave regime(here the author mentions the Haitian Revolution would not have occurred were it not for Napoleon’s betrayal). In 1803 Napoleon and Toussaint agreed to terms of peace and Napoleon also agreed to recognize Haitian independence, while Toussaint agreed to retire from military command and his public life.

Months later Napoleon invited Toussaint to a negotiation meeting that included a safe agreement. Upon his arrival the French betrayed the safe agreement and they arrested Toussaint. At Napoleon’s order, Toussaint was placed in a jail, who then died later by starvation and disease. Once the old slave regime was restored, there were many aspects of Haitian life that were similar to life in France for the poor during King Louis XIV and Louis XVI’s reign.

The largest plantations on the island were owned by French absentee landlords living in France(here the author describes the lifestyles of a slave in Haiti, clearly identifying their perspective). Much like Louis XIV, the plantation owners detached themselves from the problems of the Haitian people and continued to ignore the on going revolts that were beginning. Another problem absentee landlords ignored was the issue between the poor French living in Haiti(here the author introduces the nest key point in the causes of the haitian Revolution and states their thesis.

While the grandblanc’s(translated to large white’s referring to rich Frenchmen) held all the power over the slaves in Haiti, the petit-blancs(small whites referring to poor Frenchmen) had no power over anything. They felt oppressed due to the fact that they were unable to own their own slaves. Tension between the petitblancs and the grand-blanc increased as the grand-blanc’s vied for control and autonomy. while the petit-blancs seeked to secure their position in the colour-based class system(the author describes the problems between the two groups but does not explain the colour-based class system).

Through all of this, the Haitian people saw a society who were unfairly treated by the government and had large social gaps, much like themselves, overthrow positions of authority. The Colonists, bus with their problems were unable to suppress the rebellion that they were essentially forcing upon themselves. Their detestable treatment of the Haitians quickened the progress of the cause of the eradication of slavery in Haiti(Leonard clearly suggests that if the French colonists were to cease all actions of rebellion, the revolution would have been delayed).

Haiti needed an inspiration or a viable administrative model to follow(Boxill also includes the influence of the Americas on Haiti and the Haitian revolution as well as key information on events during the time of the revolution that relates to the revolution). The American Revolution were not qualified due to the fact that they kept slavery intact and theirs is deemed to be more of a political revolution rather than a social or economic one. The French Revolution not only propelled Europe into years of war, but also influenced slave uprisings in Haiti.

Caused by the evident despotism brought upon by European colonists, the Haitian revolution inevitably occurred but the French Revolution only quickened the process. Inspired by French Revolutionary ideology through the Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen, Napoleon’s unfaithfulness, and the clear inequality between society, as well as being angered by the generations of exploitation of European planters, the initial slave revolt was unsuccessful, but the slaves and free coloureds determined to obtain their freedom continued with battles and fights, that eventually led to the Haitian Revolution.