Causes of the Haitian Revolution

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CAUSES OF THE HAITIAN REVOLUTION

Impact of the French Revolution. The same intellectual base as the French Revolution, that is,  the cry "libertie egalitie fraternitie" which means that all men had the right to be free and equal, did not exactly qualify which kind of person should be free, so all men (even slaves) were considered brothers. This thought pervaded the free coloureds and freed slave society and seemed to offer genuine equality and freedom for all on the island.

The coloureds wanted the same rights and priviledges as those of the grands blancs and petits blancs and there was always the inevitable fear that they would, one day, side with the slaves and revolt.

There was tension between the various social classes; The grands blancs and petetis blancs and the petits blancs and free coloureds. Because of this, the vigilant attention given to the slaves wavered as the higher classes continued to cause disputes amongst themselves. This gave the slaves a chance to plan out revolts without fear of being caught.

The turmoil of the French Revolution also provided a major distraction for the whites.

The coloureds in St. Domingue started to build up armies in desperation and gave arms to their slaves. The whites did the same. This was a very dangerous step because it was more than likely that the slaves would not fight for their masters.

Most of the slaves were originally born in Africa, therefore they were not born in slavery and they remembered what it was like to be free.

The colony itself was a very large and mountainous area, where deep valleys provided suitable hiding places for slaves who resisted by running away. There were also Maroon Gangs on the island.

The slaves were subjected to harsh treatment and conditions on the plantations.

The white, plantation owners wanted to rule themselves and the rest of the government. The mulattoes wanted to be equal to the whites and the slaves wanted freedom.
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