How Did Toussaint Rise To Power In Saint Domingue

How Toussaint Louverture Rose from Slavery to Lead the Haitian Revolution

In what ways did Toussaint L’ouverture, who was born into bondage in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti) and enslaved for more than half of his life, rise to prominence as the leader of the most successful slave revolt in history and play a role in the abolition of European colonialism in the Western Hemisphere? When Saint-Domingue reached its zenith in the late 18th century, it was the richest colony in the Americas. A massive enslaved work force powered the nation’s sugar, coffee, indigo, and cotton plantations, which generated a lot of money.

Among the island’s cruelly oppressed majority, revolution began to simmer in 1791, influenced, in part, by the egalitarian ideas that had driven France’s previous revolution.


His expertise of African and Creole medicinal procedures eventually prompted him to serve in the war effort as a medical professional.

General Toussaint led his armies to triumph over the planter class—as well as thousands of invading French troops—in the American Revolutionary War.

Using his diplomatic skill to effectively play off the aggressions of Europe’s most powerful nations (France, Spain, and England), he was able to successfully rebuff the aggressions of Europe’s most powerful nations (France, Spain, and England).

In that capacity, he sought to settle severe internal discontent and to rebuild the island’s war-damaged economy, among other things.

Despite the fact that Toussaint died in a French jail a year before Saint-Domingue gained full independence (and renamed itself Haiti) in 1804, his numerous efforts laid the groundwork for the establishment of the world’s second sovereign nation after America—and the world’s first sovereign Black state.

More information may be found at: The Louisiana Purchase Was Motivated by a Slave Rebellion

He Played Empire Against Empire

Francois Dominique Toussaint’s full name is Francois Dominique Toussaint. During the victorious uprising against French rule in Saint-Domingue, Haiti, L’ouverture played a role in the movement. Getty Images/Bettina Archive/Getty Images France found itself in a precarious position in 1792. It had only lately declared itself a republic, provoking the wrath of European kings in the process. More importantly, Saint-continuous Domingue’s slave insurrection had put France’s richest and most powerful colonial outpost in the Americas in danger of falling under the authority of its arch-enemies, England and Spain.

  • Rebel commanders, including Toussaint, rejected the offer, opting instead to engage in combat with the 6,000-strong French fleet that had been dispatched as well.
  • As a result, when it was convenient for him, he joined forces with France’s adversaries.
  • He refused to engage in negotiations with French officials until 1794, when France legally abolished slavery in all of her overseas colonies.
  • British soldiers were forced to retreat after losing more than 15,000 men and ten million pounds as a result of his army’s victory in 1798.
  • Toussaint entered into a secret arrangement with the British army that allowed the army to reduce their naval embargo on imported supplies, which was later shown to be a lie.
  • In just two years, exports from the United States to the colony increased by more than 260 percent, reaching $7.1 million.

The alliance with the Americans also provided naval protection for commerce boats bound for Saint-Domingue, which served as a significant deterrent against British aggressions during the Napoleonic Wars. READ MORE:7 Historically Significant Slave Revolts

He Played to Multiple Bases

1875 painting by George De Baptiste of François Dominique Toussaint Louverture (François Dominique Toussaint Louverture). Getty Images/Universal History Archive/Universal Images Group/Universal Images Group Toussaint had to use his tremendous political abilities to reconcile the opposing interests of Saint-racial, Domingue’s social, religious, and cultural groups in order to revive a local economy that had been ravaged by strife. Toussaint considered the resources of the merchant and planter classes to be essential to the reconstruction of Saint-Domingue, and in the name of republican fraternity, he instituted generous restitution policies, even going so far as to punish former slaveholders who attempted to exact retribution against former slaveholders.

  • Under his leadership, Saint-Domingue embarked on a comprehensive municipal renovation and public-works program that resulted in the construction of roads, the widening of canals, and the improvement of public sanitation.
  • Nonetheless, for the most of his governorship, he fought tirelessly to protect their interests and guarantee that they were now compensated for their effort.
  • Following Toussaint’s leadership and in large part as a result of the efforts of the black masses, the island’s agricultural agriculture was restored to levels that were up to two-thirds higher than they had been before to the 1791 uprisings, according to the biographer of Toussaint, C.L.R.
  • MORE INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: More than 100 enslaved people were freed during this 1841 rebellion at sea.

He Cultivated His Legend

Around 1800, François Dominique Toussaint Louverture (1743-1803) painted a portrait of himself. Fine Art Photographs/Heritage Photographs/Getty Images The secret to Toussaint’s enduring influence rested in another quality shared by history’s greatest heroes: the creation of a persona that was almost superhuman in its scope. As James explains, Toussaint envisioned himself in the position of avenging angel portrayed by Enlightenment thinker Abbé Raynal: as a hero who comes up to abolish the bonds of human slavery.

His legend expanded as time went on.

Following the French invasion of Saint-Domingue in 1802, a secretary in the expedition characterized Toussaint as “like a tiger,” visible where he wasn’t supposed to be and invisible where he was supposed to be.

The Caribbean was ruled by George Washington and Napoleon Bonaparte.

When it comes to insistence that any declaration of “inalienable liberties” rings hollow when restricted by notions of race or creed, he was a one-of-a-kind leader who helped charter a revolution that was extraordinary in its insistence that any declaration of “inalienable liberties” rings hollow when restricted by notions of race or creed.

His death would prevent him from witnessing the ultimate independence of his nation.

As a radical deputy, Toussaint would survive the French attack and declare Haitian independence in 1804, but it was Toussaint’s vision and leadership that lay the foundation for that incredible triumph.

Toussaint L’Ouverture

A leader of the Haitian independence struggle during the French Revolution, Toussaint L’Ouverture was born in the town of Toussaint.

Who Was François Toussaint L’Ouverture?

François Toussaint L’Ouverture was a former Haitian slave who rose to prominence as the leader of the only victorious slave uprising in the history of the world. He battled valiantly to eradicate slavery and win Haiti’s independence from European powers France and Spain. He died in the process. Then, in 1795, he formed an army of former slaves and deserters from the French and Spanish troops. He taught his men in guerrilla warfare, and the island of Hispaniola was freed from the grip of slavery.

Early Life

François Toussaint was born on May 20, 1743, although his early life is not fully recorded. He may have been born to Gaou Guinou, the younger son of the monarch of Allada, a West African nation, as his paternal grandfather. His family was sold into slavery and exiled to the Caribbean as a result of their actions. Toussaint was lucky enough to be owned by enlightened owners who encouraged him to pursue a formal education and learn to read and write. He studied the classics as well as the political thinkers of the Enlightenment, who had a significant impact on him.

Toussaint was intelligent and hardworking, and he became an expert in medicinal herbs and horsemanship as a result.

Several sources claim that he was granted his freedom in 1776, the same year that the United States of America declared their independence from Great Britain.

Placide, Isaac, and Saint-Jean were the names of the couple’s three children.

Abolishing Slavery

On August 22, 1791, slaves in the French colony of Saint-Domingue, located on the western half of the island of Hispaniola, rose up in revolt. Slaves, emboldened by the French Revolution and enraged by decades of oppression, began slaying white people without fear of retribution. François Toussaint was initially apprehensive about the project. With a family, a little plot of land, and a plantation to operate for his previous master, he was over fifty years old and married with a child. However, the revolt began to spread, and it ultimately made its way to the area where Toussaint was residing.

  • A number of other influences on Toussaint’s thinking included his Catholic faith, which denounced slavery, as well as Enlightenment intellectuals John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who spoke on the equality of all men.
  • Afterwards, he made certain that his former master’s family was aboard a ship destined for the United States.
  • Toussaint had mastered African and Creole herbal-medicine skills during his time as a slave in the Caribbean.
  • Toussaint immediately gained a reputation, and he was granted charge over 600 freed slaves who were formerly owned by white people.
  • Jean-Jacques Dessalines, an escaped slave, joined Toussaint’s army and swiftly rose through the ranks to become a trusted and capable officer.
  • The British administration feared that the slave uprising might expand to their neighboring colony of Jamaica, which was a source of anxiety.
  • Fearing defeat, the French National Convention took action to protect its colonial power and to ensure the allegiance of the black people in the country’s interior.

All black people living in the Empire were awarded freedom and citizenship in France in 1794. The British forces, on the other hand, were adamant on wreaking havoc on France’s precarious grasp on Saint-Domingue.

Haitian Revolution

The decision by France to emancipate the slaves caused Toussaint to turn against Spain and join forces with the French against their former allies in North America. His initial task was to launch an attack on the Spanish-controlled capital of Santa Domingo, which was located on the island’s eastern coast. He was now engaged in combat with his former black comrades, who were still loyal to the Spanish government. Toussaint’s men were successful in capturing the city of Santa Domingo under his command.

  • Toussiant was able to confine the remaining British forces, rendering them ineffectual, and they were able to withdraw from the island at the same time.
  • The former slaves, whom he’d helped liberate, admired and revered him, as did the several French authorities who, despite the fact that they nominally still governed Saint-Domingue.
  • Abolitionists claimed that the mulatto population, which was not enslaved, had owned slaves prior to 1791.
  • Toussaint was successful in defeating the mulatto army in 1799, thanks to the assistance of Dessalines.
  • Now that Toussaint had gained control of the whole island, he was known as the “de facto king of Hispaniola.” He drafted a constitution that reaffirmed the eradication of slavery and appointed himself Governor-General for Life, granting him practically unfettered authority over the provinces.
  • As part of these commercial arrangements, Toussaint received supplies from the British and the Americans, who in exchange for sugar and the pledge not to attack Jamaica or the American South, provided his armies with weapons and supplies.
  • He enforced military discipline on the workforce while at the same time instituting changes that enhanced the working conditions of the labor.
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Deal with Napoleon Bonaparte

In the middle of the French Revolutionary government’s disarray, Napoleon Bonaparte seized control of the country in 1799 and declared himself Emperor of France. He promulgated a new constitution in which he announced that every French colonies would be governed by a separate set of rules. Toussaint and others were concerned that this would herald the reintroduction of slavery. He was cautious not to announce complete independence and pretended to be a Frenchman in order to persuade Napoleon that he was still loyal.

Furthermore, Napoleon stopped Toussaint from entering Santo Domingo, the eastern half of the island, where he had French officials, who were attempting to restore order following the departure of the Spanish.

His soldiers attacked Santo Domingo in January 1801, and they were able to seize possession with minimal difficulty.

As a result of Toussaint’s defiance, Napoleon dispatched his brother-in-law, General Charles Emanuel Leclerc, with 20,000 French troops to retake control of the country in 1802.

These troops were hand-picked for their campaigning expertise in Europe, and they would prove to be a strong force in the fight against Toussaint.

Significance and Accomplishments

Despite the fact that he did not survive to witness the consequences of his acts, Toussaint’s activities put in motion a chain of global events that altered the topography of the western hemisphere and signaled the beginning of the end for European colonial dominance in the Americas. Napoleon Bonaparte, dissatisfied with an insurrection he couldn’t put down in Hispaniola, chose not to expand his empire into North America and ceded the Louisiana region to the United States in 1803. Throughout the nineteenth century, this prepared the way for the growth of the western frontier.


Despite the fact that Toussaint was able to put up a vigorous fight for several months, his coalition finally came crashing down. The majority of Europeans and mulattos who lived on the island supported the French. Even Toussaint’s most trusted generals, Henri Christophe and Dessalines, eventually defected to Leclerc. By June of 1802, the end was approaching. Under the guise of holding a peace conference, French General Jean-Baptiste Brunet wrote to Toussaint, asking him to stay at his quarters.

On April 7, 1803, he succumbed to illness and malnutrition after being subjected to prolonged interrogation.

Dessalines’ alliance of blacks and mulattos was effective in compelling the French to surrender and leave the island after a series of victories.

Hispaniola became the world’s first black sovereign country when it gained independence from Spain in 1821.

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Toussaint Louverture: The First Successful Slave Revolt Leader

Haitian Revolution leader François-Dominique Toussaint Louverture, often known as Toussaint L’Ouverture or Toussaint Bréda, is regarded as the first successful slave uprising since Spartacus’ revolt against the Roman Republic.

Little is known for certain about Toussaint Louverture’s early life, as there are contradictory accounts and evidence about this period. The earliest records of his life are his recorded remarks and the reminiscences of his second legitimate son Isaac Louverture. Most histories identify Toussaint’s father as Gaou Guinou, a younger son of the King of Allada (also spelled Arrada), a West African historical kingdom located in modern-day Benin, who had been captured in war and sold into slavery. His mother Pauline was Gaou Guinou’s second wife. The couple had several children, of whom Toussaint was the eldest son.

All indications are that Toussaint was born on the plantation of Bréda in Haut de Cap, Saint-Domingue. The property was held by the Comte de Noé and afterwards administered by Bayon de Libertat. Although his exact date of birth is unknown, his given name implies that he was born on All Saints Day. He was presumably around 50 years old when the Revolutionary War began in 1791, and several sources have given him a birth year ranging between 1739 and 1746. Toussaint is supposed to have had a good education from his godfather Pierre Baptiste, however historians have argued as to the extent to which Toussaint’s intelligence was enhanced as a result of his education.

It has been suggested that Abbé Raynal, who wrote against slavery, may have had an influence: When Toussaint issued his proclamation on August 29, 1793, it may have been the first time he used the moniker “Louverture” in public.

It’s possible that he received some schooling from Jesuit missionaries as well.

Some legal papers signed by Toussaint between 1778 and 1781, however, indicate the probability that he was unable to write at the time of the signing.

Despite the fact that he was unable to write, a few surviving documents in his own hand prove that he was capable of doing so, however his spelling in the French language was “strictly phonetic.” A commander of the slave uprising in the French colony of Saint-Domingue in 1791, Toussaint Louverture began his military career as a Jacobin.

  1. At first, Toussaint was aligned with the Spaniards of nearby Santo Domingo, but once the French abolished slavery, he switched allegiance to the French.
  2. His efforts to strengthen the economy and security of Saint-Domingue continued throughout his time in office.
  3. He also negotiated trade contracts with both Britain and the United States and maintained a big and well-organized army.
  4. In 1802, he was compelled to resign by Napoleon Bonaparte’s armies, which had been dispatched to restore French control in the former province at the time.
  5. He was succeeded by Jean-Jacques Dessalines as the leader of the Haitian Revolution, which culminated in the declaration of independence on January 1, 1804.

The French had lost two-thirds of the men who had been dispatched to the island in an attempt to quash the revolt; the majority of them who perished were victims of yellow fever.


Influenced John Brown to invade Harpers Ferry. John Brown and his band captured citizens, and for a small time the federal armory and arsenal. Brown’s goal was that the local slave population would join the raid. But things did not go as planned. He was eventually captured and put on trial, and was hung on December 2nd 1859. Brown and his band of brothers shows the devotion to the violent tactics of the Haition Revolution. During the 19th century African Americans used Toussaint Louverture as an example of how to reach freedom.

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Toussaint Louverture’s military genius and political acumen transformed an entire society of slaves into the first successful slave uprising that led to the independent state of Haiti.

The success of the Haitian Revolution shook the institution of slavery throughout the New World.

Toussaint L’Ouverture (1743-1803) •

Haitian Revolutionary leader Toussaint L’Ouverture was born into slavery and rose to prominence as a leader of the world’s only successful slave insurrection in contemporary history, known as theHaitian Revolution. Known as L’Ouverture when he was born into slavery on May 20, 1743, in the French colony of Saint Dominque, he was the oldest son of Gaou Guinon, an African prince who was abducted by slave merchants and sold into servitude. Young L’Overture, at a time when modifications to the French Code Noir (Black Code) sanctioned the brutal treatment of slaves as property, instead drew affection from people in positions of authority.

  • Bayon de Libertad, the manager of the Breda plantation on where L’Ouverture was born, was impressed by L’Ouverture and granted him unrestricted access to his personal library as a result of his efforts.
  • L’Ouverture had, more crucially, won his freedom from de Libertad, even while he continued to supervise the home staff of his former employer and to serve as his coachman.
  • L’Ouverture’s 48-year-old wife and children were safe in the Spanish-controlled eastern half of the island (Santo Domingo), and Bayon de Libertad and his wife were safe aboard a ship bound for the United States when the events of August 22, 1791, known as the “Night of Fire,” occurred.
  • In spite of the fact that he was free, L’Ouverture joined the slave uprising and immediately established himself as a good soldier, then as the military secretary to one of the insurgent commanders, Georges Biassou.

The French National Convention, threatened by the ambitions of Spain and Britain to gain control of the island, took action in 1794 to retain its colonial power by assuring the allegiance of the black people; France guaranteed citizenship rights and freedom to all blacks living inside the empire.

L’Ouverture, operating under the self-assumed title of General-in-Chief of the Army, commanded the French in the removal of the British from the island and the subsequent capture of the Spanish-controlled half of the island.

He established a constitution in which he reaffirmed the 1794 abolition of slavery and designated himself governor for “the remainder of his magnificent life,” which he defined as “the rest of his glorious existence.” Napoleon Bonaparte was enraged at L’Ouverture’s activities, which culminated in his execution.

L’Ouverture died of pneumonia on April 7, 1803, while imprisoned at Fort de Joux in France.

Independence for Saint Dominque came one year later, in 1804, under the leadership of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, one of L’Ouverture’s generals, who changed the country’s name to Haiti in order to distinguish it from the former French colony.

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Cite this article in APA format:

McNally, D., et al (2018, January 18). Toussaint L’Ouverture is a saint who was born in the year of the opening (1743-1803).

Source of the author’s information:

The following books are recommended: Laurent Dubois’ “Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution” (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2004); Martin Ros’ “Night of Fire: The Black Napoleon and the Battle for Haiti” (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press, 2004). (New York:Sarpedon, 1994).

Toussaint Louverture: Biography, Facts & Quotes – Video & Lesson Transcript

In his early years, Toussaint Louverture was a slave who worked for Count de Breda, a kind owner who was also a sugar producer. Louverture was also relatively educated—at least when compared to the majority of other slaves—thanks to the encouragement given to him by both de Breda and his parents to learn to read and write. He was also given religious training, and he eventually converted to Catholicism. Louverture was set free by De Breda sometime around 1777. Following that, Louverture married, had children, and eventually became a landowner and a slave owner.

Indeed, once Louverture achieved his independence, he would aid in the spread of liberty throughout the whole island of Saint-Domingue and the Caribbean.

Louverture as a Revolutionary

The French Revolution erupted in 1789, and the revolutionary spirit quickly spread to Saint-Domingue, which was swept up in the turmoil. In 1791, slaves were swept up in the revolutionary spirit and began rising against their owners, killing many of them in what would become the world’s first genuinely successful slave insurrection, known as the Haitian Revolution, which took place in the country of Haiti. He first had little interest in the revolution and even assisted de Breda, his old master, in his escape.

His sympathies, on the other hand, were with the slaves, and he finally chose to assist the revolt.

He joined the conflict and trained the slaves who were rebelling guerilla warfare techniques.

In the mid-1790s, the French persuaded Louverture that they would ban slavery, and the French even promoted Louverture to the rank of major general in the process.

The Haitian Revolution 1796-1801

August 1796: The formation of primary electoral assemblies in Saint-Domingue with the purpose of electing colonial delegates to the French legislative assembly. The conclusion, which was made possible by Louverture, resulted in Laveaux and Sonthonax being appointed as representatives to the French National Assembly. On October 17, 1796, power disputes erupt in the face of Louverture’s increasing influence. Sonthonax installs Louverture as Commander-in-Chief of the army in order to secure his position and enhance his links with the French.

  1. He intends to leave the colony in eighteen months, when his current duty comes to an end.
  2. Although Sonthonax had expressed a desire to leave the colony in the first place, he is now being forced to depart.
  3. As long as there are civil commissioners in the colony, they defer to Louverture, emphasizing that he is the most powerful figure in Saint-history.
  4. Louverture’s army captures the western half of British-occupied Saint-Domingue during the fall of 1797 and the winter of 1798.
  5. During the month of March 1798, the British surrendered their struggle for Saint-Domingue and entered into peace negotiations with Louverture.
  6. Following the return of Sonthonax, France sent another official agent to Saint-Domingue in April 1798.

His responsibilities include promulgating laws passed by the French legislative body, “entrenching respect for French national authority,” preventing blacks from abusing their freedom, and strictly enforcing French law against the immigrants who arrived in the colony for the first time in 1771, among other things.

  1. Even though he is ultimately unsuccessful, Hédouville is able to compel Louverture’s resignation from the Directory by criticizing him in France and arranging for three European generals to replace him in the position.
  2. Slaves see Hédouville’s acts as an attempt to bring slavery back into existence, sparking a fresh wave of uprising.
  3. October 1798: British soldiers withdraw Saint-Domingue as part of an agreement not to interfere with French trade with the colonial territories of the French Republic.
  4. At the same time, the merchant bourgeoisie campaigns to get the slave trade reinstated.
  5. On the 23rd of October, Hédouville makes a blunder and attempts to have Mose arrested.
  6. Dessalines and his forces are ordered by Louverture to march towards Le Cap in order to apprehend Hédouville.
  7. Louverture is also consolidating and reorganizing his army in the North at the same time.

He declares himself Consul-for-Life, restores the status quo of white authority that existed before to the Revolution, and focuses his attention on France’s colonies.

This power battle, which is loaded with problems of race and class, ultimately serves the economic goals of the Americans and the British, who wish to maximize their commerce to the disadvantage of the French and the French-speaking world.

At the same time, a huge revolt of armed black laborers in support of Louverture erupts in the northern part of the country.

10,000 soldiers accompany Mose on his march across the South.

Following the adoption of the new constitution, French colonies are to operate under the supervision and guidance of a set of “special laws” that take into consideration the unique characteristics of each region.

But even though it doesn’t directly address the colony’s universal emancipation, the constitution is carefully crafted to convince blacks of the constitution’s unbreakability.

Dessalines defeats Rigaud in the port of Jacmel, with the assistance of American warships, on July 25, 1800.

He provides broad amnesty to everybody who assisted him in his war against Rigaud.

“The unchallenged dominating forces in Saint-Domingue,” he declares, and he and his revolutionary army of ex-slaves proceed to establish what amounts to a military dictatorship on the island.

For the first time, Louverture implements a new set of laws that enforce the conventional plantation system, allowing the colony’s ailing economy to generate exports for France.

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The policies, in the opinion of the laborers, are an attempt to re-institute slavery.

Louverture is appointed as the new governor of Spanish Santo Domingo on January 28, 1801, after the governor of Spanish Santo Domingo abdicates.

Social reforms, the structure and organization of a new administration, the establishment of courts of justice, and the construction of public schools are among Louverture’s accomplishments during his time in office.

It is submitted to France as a constitution that legitimizes the structures that Louverture has already put in place and highlights the bourgeois ideas that were espoused during the French Revolution.

All persons born in the colony were to be “equal, free, and citizens of France,” according to the colony’s constitution.

Voodoo practices are forbidden, and Catholicism becomes the official religion of the colony.

Saint-Domingue continues to identify as a French colony, despite the fact that its constitution virtually usurps the power of the French government.

Despite the fact that the constitution is not a formal declaration of independence, Bonaparte quickly identifies it as a danger and dismisses it out of hand.

Now, planters in Saint-Domingue are growing more dissatisfied with the state of affairs, and they are looking to Bonaparte to depose Louverture and reinstate slavery while also facilitating the colony’s rise to prominence once more.

The 19th of July, 1801 When it comes to independence in Saint-Domingue, President Thomas Jefferson of the United States promises the French that he opposes the move and pledges to back Napoleon’s objective.

Unrest against Louverture’s authority erupts across northern France, with Mose thought to be among those who are taking part.

The insurgents favor democratic land distribution and accuse Louverture of abusing the populace for the advantage of the French state.

He violently crushes the insurrection, resulting in the deaths of 1,000 insurgents.

Louverture’s left-wing support is eroding, which has a significant impact on his overall position. He finds himself entirely cut off from the whites, mulattoes, and blacks who were once his primary sources of support.

Milestones: 1784–1800 – Office of the Historian

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR READERS The website “Milestones in the History of U.S. Foreign Relations” has been decommissioned and will no longer be updated or supported. Please read the entire notification for further information. The Haitian Revolution resulted in the establishment of the second sovereign country in the Americas, following the United States’ declaration of independence in 1783. The United States’ political leaders, many of whom were slaveowners, reacted with ambivalence to the emergence of Haiti as a state borne out of a slave revolt, at times providing aid to put down the revolt and, later in the revolution, providing support to Toussaint L’Ouverture’s forces, as evidenced by the following statements: It would be 1862 before the United States would formally acknowledge Haitian independence, as a result of these swings in policy and internal considerations.

  1. An 1801 printed copy of the Haitian Constitution is in the possession of Toussaint L’Ouverture.
  2. Domingue, a French colony.
  3. Domingue’s slave-based sugar and coffee businesses had been rapidly expanding and proving lucrative, and by the 1760s, the colony had surpassed all other colonies in terms of profits in the Americas.
  4. Prior to and during the United States’ independence, American merchants enjoyed a thriving commercial relationship with St.
  5. The Revolutionary War in France had a significant influence on the colony.
  6. Domingue was divided into Royalist and Revolutionary factions, while the mixed-race populace agitated for civil rights in the Caribbean nation.
  7. Domingue, sensing an opportunity, coordinated and plotted a huge insurrection that began on August 22, 1791, and lasted for many months.


Domingue by the French revolutionary government were able to convince one of the slave revolt’s most prominent leaders, Toussaint L’Ouverture, that the new French government was serious about abolishing slavery that the situation became more complicated.

When it came to the situation in St.

Jefferson was a great supporter of the French Revolution and the values it represented, but as a Virginia slaveholder who was well-liked by his fellow slaveholders, Jefferson was also concerned about the possibility of slave uprising.

Domingue, Jefferson advocated for limited assistance to suppress the revolt, but he also suggested that slaveowners strive for a compromise similar to the one reached by Jamaican slaveholders with communities of escaped slaves in 1739 to end the conflict.

The Haitian revolution made its way to the coasts of North America in the shape of a refugee crisis.

Domingue at the time.

The evacuees were brought to Norfolk, Virginia, by the French naval forces.

Despite the fact that many had brought their slaves with them, the majority of these refugees were white.

In response to their efforts, as well as the conduct of European radicals who were also resident in the United States, the Alien and Sedition Acts were passed in the United States.

It was the commencement of the Federalist government of President John Adams that marked a shift in foreign policy priorities.

Dominguez, Haiti.

Finally, St.

Because of this, Adams made the decision to assist L’Ouverture in his fight against his British-backed opponents.

Domingue was a French colony even as he conducted an autonomous foreign policy.

Since it turned out, these fears were unjustified, as the newly formed Haitian state was more concerned with ensuring its own existence than with spreading revolution.

Domingue and reimpose slavery were unsuccessful (French defeat led to the Louisiana Purchase.) Jefferson refused to acknowledge Haitian independence, a decision that was supported by the Federalists in the United States.

Haitians had to wait until 1862 for the United States to acknowledge their country’s position as a sovereign, independent nation, despite the fact that France recognized their independence in 1825.

The Haitian Revolution

The Haitian Revolution was the result of a long struggle on the part of the slaves in the French colony of St. Domingue, but was also propelled by the free Mulattoes who had long faced the trials of being denoted as semi-citizens. This revolt was not unique, as there were several rebellions of its kind against the institution of plantation slavery in the Caribbean, but the Haitian Revolution the most successful. This had a great deal to do with the influence of the French Revolution, as it helped to inspire events in Haiti.

  • Domingue.
  • Then there were the free Mulattoes, who straddled a very tenuous position in Haitian society.
  • Next came the slaves who, in Haiti suffered under some of the harshest treatment found in the Caribbean.
  • The master provided for the barest necessities of life for his slave “while he secures himself from injury or insult by an appeal to the laws.” (Source 1, p.
  • Upon reaching manhood, Mulattoes were required to enlist for a mandatory three-year term in the military establishment known as the marechaussée.
  • 406) Upon completion of this term, Mulattoes were then forced to serve in their local militia without compensation.
  • While a scant few of these laws were not enforced, there was enough latitude that “others, who thought proper to gratify private revenge, had only to wait an opportunity after they had given provocations.” (Source 1 – p.

Mulattoes were allowed to own land, but as Coke notes, this was done with the realization that society’s restraints on Mulattoes made it highly unlikely that they could do anything with that land.The French Revolution furnished the Mulattoes and slaves with an opportunity and an inspiration after having witnessed the successful insurrection in France against the government’s long-standing denial of equal representation of the Commons to that of the Nobility and Clergy.

This was such a revolution in the structure of French society that its news spread like wildfire and was exactly the stimulus the slaves and Mulattoes in Haiti needed to inspire their revolt.

Duchilleau, sought to slow down the process of insurgency in an effort to give the French government more time to formulate a policy on slavery in the Caribbean, as well as for the political representation of the colonies in the National Assembly.

Domingue occurred before the most turbulent years of the French Revolution.

Domingue were, and also shows that though some inspiration was needed to spark the slave revolt in St.

Now that the inspiration for the revolt in St.

Although at first he was uncommitted to the revolutionary goal, events in France would soon inspire him to take action.

Having found local leaders of the rebellion to be inept, he formed his own army, inspiring hundreds to join him and displayed an impressive talent for designing and leading militaristic strategies and tactics that would enable him to make the slave insurgency in St.

Lacking a clear and defined political authority, the White colonists were unable to contain adequately the rebellion that they had been forcing upon themselves for years.

The excesses of that contemptible treatment is the very reason why the Haitian Revolution was so successful: the treatment of slaves and Mulattoes in Haiti was so bad that it forced the most violent and ultimately, the most successful slave insurrection in history.

The French Revolution provided the necessary spark for the revolution in Haiti to occur: it was the inspiration the cause of the abolition of slavery in Haiti needed to actualize its goals.

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