Factors Responsible for the Outbreak of the Haitian Revolution

Topics: Slavery, Haitian Revolution, Haiti Pages: 6 (2127 words) Published: November 18, 2010
Resistance is commonly known as a fight or the opposition of the system of slavery, whereas, revolt is the refusal to obey or confirm to a certain order. One of the main resistance and revolt that occurred in the Caribbean was the Haitian Revolution. This School Based Assessment (SBA) is aimed at identifying the main causes and effects of the Haitian Revolution. Another aim off this school Based Assessment is to seek to find out why most slave protest and rebellions failed to destroy the system of slavery.

Factors that were responsible for the outbreak of the Haitian revolution

Class division was a major factor, which contributed to the outbreak of the Haitian Revolution. In St Domingue, there was segregation among the different races. This was based on status, race or ethnicity. There were three major classes: the whites, the Mulattoes and the blacks. In addition, the whites comprised of smaller groups within its group. The Grand Blancs or rich planters were the wealthiest set of whites, followed by the merchants and professional men. The Petit Blancs were the poorest set of whites and consisted of shopkeepers, small estate owners and overseers. Furthermore, the other two major classes were: The Mulattoes also known as the coloureds, and the blacks or enslaved were the workers or labourers on the plantations. These classes were constantly fighting and arguing with each other, thus, this became a factor, which was responsible for the Haitian Revolution.

The division among the different classes bred, not only class division, but racial hatred. The different classes resented each other because of their status in the colony. The whites were not a united group. The rich planters and the seigneurs’ had economic power and sporadic leadership in the colony. Nevertheless, they wanted to govern the colony on their own. They wanted independence and political atonomy from France. However, they did not want this power to be granted to the other classes, for example: the Petit Blancs and Mulattoes. Moreover, the Petit Blancs had a lower economic status to that of the Grand Blancs and they too, wanted some form of power. All the same, they did not want this power to be extended to the mulattoes. The free coloureds, had economic power, because most of their fathers were slave masters. As a result, they wanted both political and social power. In essence, there were a number of things; they were not allowed to do. They were not permitted to carry firearms and they had to wear different clothes from the whites. Consequently, the free coloureds along with the Petit Blancs disliked and held grudges against the higher class. They were not given equality but highly discriminated against because of their colour or economic status. In addition to this, at the bottom of the economic and social pyramid were the blacks, who just wanted their freedom. The blacks despised the Grand Blancs and the higher classes because they were deprived of their freedom. The French Revolution of 1789 helped sparked off the revolution in Haiti and influence its course. St Domingue was a French colony, as a result, whatever was taking place in France was sure to affect Haiti. As in Haiti, there was the division of the classes present

in France. Social and economic divisions were prevalent among the nobles, clergy and professionals. The nobles were the individuals with the highest rank in society. They comprised of the nobles families and leaders of powerful and wealthy churches. The noble class had many privileges; they paid no taxes and often gave little to the state. As a result, the other classes resented them, since they had to pay all the taxes, while they rendered a great deal of service to the state In addition, when France’s governmental body went bankrupt, the middle class and the peasants attended a meeting known as the ‘Estate General’, which was formulated in order to solve France’s financial problems. The middle...
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