Haitian Revolution

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In the late 1700s, Revolutionary movements in the Caribbean lead to the only successful slave revolt in history. Slaves overtook the settlers and established the independent Republic of Haiti. The movements were inspired by the Enlightenment ideals. Isaac Newton’s vision of the universe suggested that human behavior being institutionalized could lead to insights about human as well as the natural world. European and Euro-American philosophers began discovering natural laws that governed human society just as Newton’s laws would regulate the universe. Many philosophers went about Newton’s vision in different ways. Some sought natural laws of politics and others sought laws of economics. These works was a movement known as the Enlightenment. One philosopher “Francois-Marie Arouet” campaigned individual freedom more than others and attacked any institution sponsoring intolerant or oppressive policies. As white settlers stood at the top of society, most slaves toiled in the fields under real bad conditions while many others ran away into mountains to escape the bad treatment. Saint-Domingue soon had many large communities of escaped slaves. Colonial governors sent about five hundred free blacks to fight in the American War of Independence which prepared the way for a violent political and social revolution in Saint-Domingue. When free blacks returned to Saint-Dominigue, they had intentions of reforming society, but the white settlers had different ideas. White settlers sought the right to govern themselves, but opposed proposals to grant political and legal equality to free blacks as decreed by the National Assembly of France in its “Declaration of the Rights of man.” In May 1971, a Civil war had broken out between the white settlers and free blacks. A vodou Priest named Boukman organized a slave revolt in August 1791. Some twelve thousand slaves began killing white settlers, burning their homes, and destroying their plantations. The number grew to almost one...
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