Critically examine the factors which impeded the development of a Haitian state after 1804
The American Revolution of 1776 proclaimed that all men have “inalienable rights,” but the revolutionaries did not draw what seems to us the logical conclusion from this statement: that slavery and racial discrimination cannot be justified. It took the Civil War of 1861-65 to bring about emancipation. Just when the American constitution was going into effect in 1789, a revolution broke out in France. Like the American revolutionaries, the French immediately proclaimed that “men are born and remain free and equal in rights.” But did this apply to the slaves in France’s overseas colonies? The question was an important one. Even though France’s colonies looked small on the map, the three Caribbean colonies of Saint Domingue (today’s Republic of Haiti), Guadeloupe and Martinique contained almost as many slaves as the thirteen much larger American states (about 700,000). Saint Domingue was the richest European colony in the world. It was the main source of the sugar and coffee that had become indispensable to “civilized” life in Europe. Black slaves heavily outnumbered both the whites and the free coloreds, however: there were 465,000 of them in Saint Domingue by 1789. But in 1804 The Haitian Revolution represents the most thorough case study of revolutionary change anywhere in the history of the modern world. In ten years of sustained internal and international warfare, a colony populated predominantly by plantation slaves overthrew both its colonial status and its economic system and established a new political state of entirely free individuals—with some ex-slaves constituting the new political authority.
In the book from Dessalines to Duvalier by David Nicholls There is an odd curiosity to Nicholls' approach to Haiti. In the early history the revolution of 1791-1804 and the early years of Haitian independence until about 1848, Nicholls analyzes the events of Haitian...
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