The movement toward the emancipation of the slaves.
SOCIAL ISSUES WITH THE REVOLUTION IN ST. DOMINGUE
In 1789, the population of St. Domingue consisted of about 35,000 whites; 25,000 and 45,000 slaves. There were rigid legal distinctions between these groups based on colour and there was a mutual distrust and hatred which was far deeper than in any French Islands. The whites were not a united group. At the top were the very rich planters, far superior in status to the planters of Martinique and Guadeloupe. Grouped with them socially were the leading civil and military officers .They was known altogether as the grand Blancs. These Grand Blancs attempted to keep political power in their hands and in so doing caused major deterioration in their relationship with other classes in St. Domingue. The merchants and the professional men were cut out socially from the Grand Blancs. In St. Domingue , the Grand Blancs despised the merchants. They all hoped for social equity with Grand Blancs but did not want this extended with the mulattoes. The third class of whites was the Petit Blancs. They were the poor whites, overseers, artisans and small shopkeepers. The often had relationships through marriage with the mulattoes. The whites born in France despised the creole whites (whites born in the West Indies) The mulattoes or free coloured were known as Affranchis in St. Domingue. They were unique among the mulatto population as they were small in number and some were very rich. Some were even educated in France and chose to live there. The Code Noir had allowed the mulattoes the rights of free men, but the restrictive laws which came later, especially those that were passed in 1766 took away many of these rights and freedoms. In 1789, one-third of all the fertile land in St. Dominique belonged to the mulattoes, which were in many cases large estates. Property put them on the side of the whites when it came to the freedom of slaves. On the other hand, their legal and...
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