The Haitian Revolution

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The Haitian Revolution was the result of a long struggle on the part of the slaves in the French colony of St. Domingue, but was also propelled by the free Mulattoes who had long faced the trials of being denoted as semi-citizens. This revolt was not unique, as there were several rebellions of its kind against the institution of plantation slavery in the Caribbean, but the Haitian Revolution the most successful. This had a great deal to do with the influence of the French Revolution, as it helped to inspire events in Haiti. The Haitian Revolution would go on to serve as a model for those affected by slavery throughout the world.

There were three distinct classes in St. Domingue. First, there were the Whites, who were in control. Then there were the free Mulattoes, who straddled a very tenuous position in Haitian society. While they enjoyed a degree of freedom, they were repressed by the conservative White power structure that recognized them only as being people of color. Next came the slaves who, in Haiti suffered under some of the harshest treatment found in the Caribbean. Slaves in Haiti were legally considered to be property of the public and with little choice, yielded obedience. The master provided for the barest necessities of life for his slave "while he secures himself from injury or insult by an appeal to the laws." (Source 1, p. 406) The conditions in Haiti at this time were ripe for a Revolution and the only thing lacking was the proper action, which would soon come in the form of the French Revolution and a man named Toussaint, who after a brief delay, sprang to action and led one of the most successful insurgencies in history.

The Mulattoes in Haiti faced a precarious situation in Haiti, even though they did possess their freedom, in a limited sense. Upon reaching manhood, Mulattoes were required to enlist for a mandatory three-year term in the military establishment known as the marechaussée. Its...
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