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The Justified Haitian Slave Revolt

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The Justified Haitian Slave Revolt
"On January 1, 1804, Haiti declared independence, becoming the second independent nation in the West and the first free black republic in the world" ("History, par 11). This triumph followed the long and violent Haitian slave revolution in which Haiti, specifically the island of Saint Dominique suffered from. After the enlightenment the Rights of Man act provided equality among all Frenchmen, including blacks and mulattos. Fury rose in the plantation owners and they eventually got the act retracted in 1791. In reply, the Haitian slaves originally from Africa revolted. During the rebellion, "the Haitian slaves burned every plantation throughout the fertile regions of Haiti and executed all Frenchmen they could find" (Hooker, par 2). A vast amount of people living in Saint Dominique fled the island in fear of their lives. On the other hand, this revolution freed the African people of Saint Dominique from the inexcusable harsh treatments that they had to tolerate. This revolt has been considered both the best thing that Haiti had ever experienced and also the most disastrous. The Haitian slave revolution was justified because of the harsh working conditions within the plantations, the callous living conditions, and the unbelievable successes.

The working conditions on the plantations within Saint Dominique provided reasoning for the slaves to revolt. During the rebellion, the plantations were the main workplace for the slaves. The sugar and coffee plantations provided France with their "most [rich] overseas possession" .

The development of plantation agriculture profoundly affected the island 's ecology. African slaves toiled ceaselessly to clear forests for sugar fields, and massive erosion ensued, particularly on the steep marginal slopes that had been allocated to slaves for their subsistence crops

("Haiti", par 2)

The "plantations on Haiti [offered] some of the [cruelest] conditions that African-American slaves ever had to suffer" (Hooker, par 1) because the sugar and coffee crops required vast amount labor done by slaves. As a result, the slaves largely outnumbered the French. "They worked from sun up to sun down in the difficult climate of Saint-Domingue" (Corbett, par 20). Consequently, the slaves had a high mortality rate from over working. In fact, these conditions were so atrocious that the African slaves only lasted about ten years on the plantations. The burning of the plantations was, in a way, just a symbol of the end of the slavery on the plantations in Haiti. The long working hours and high death rate that the slaves endured justifies the Haitian Slave Revolution.

The "brutal and dehumanizing" (Thomson, par 3) conditions that the slaves of Haiti experienced were enough to provide reasoning and validity for the mayhem in the revolution. The slave owners feared the slaves because the "slaves outnumbered slaveholders by fifteen to one" (Thomson, par 4). The slave owners took unspeakably cruel and punishing conditions to keep the slaves confined and to deter any thoughts of rebellion. "Malnutrition and starvation also were common because plantation owners failed to plan adequately for food shortages, drought, and natural disasters, and slaves were allowed scarce time to tend their own crops" (source). The slaves were also had "virtually no medical care, [were] not allowed to learn to read or write and in general were treated much worse than the work animals on the plantation" (Corbett, par 20). The slaves in the United States were often threatened to be sold to Saint-Dominique. The American slaves with brutal conditions were very reluctant to work in Saint Dominique because of the much more cruel conditions. The cruel and harsh conditions were mainly caused because "the French slave owners found it much easier to replace slaves by purchasing new ones than in worrying much to preserve the lives of existing slaves" (Corbett, par 20). This animal like treatment that the slaves encountered fuelled the slaves for the revolt. The Haitian Slave Revolt is justified because of the inexcusable treatment they were faced with.

The achievements following the Haitian Slave Revolt were so outstanding that they can justify the rebellion. Prior the revolt, the slaves could be considered the lowest order of society. Within fifteen years following the revolt, the slaves were able to better transform the social, political, and economic life of the colony. Socially, the slaves became "free and independent citizens" (Knight, par 4). They also declared equality between all men regardless of race. The African military success in Haiti was one of the factors that led to the abolition of the slave trade, though domestic commerce in African descendants as property continued in the Americas for several decades to come. Politically, the former slaves created a second American state which was the "first independent non-European state to be carved out of the European universal empires" (Knight, par 4). The slaves also improved their economy by transforming their conventional tropical plantation agriculture, especially in the north, from a structure dominated by large estates into a society of small-scale, marginal self-sufficient producers. They also reoriented away from export dependency toward an internal marketing system supplemented by a minor export sector. Haiti 's improved colony following the Haitian Slave Revolt illustrates the true success of the revolution.

The Haitian Slave Revolt was a major accomplishment for people of Africa-American decent. The Haitian revolution was justified because of the iniquitous workplace, the dehumanizing conditions, and the astonishing outcomes. The result to this revolution still has it mark in present day which shows its true success. This revolution fueled by the "passions of men and women slaves" (Hooker, par 2) has brought equality and power to the modern day African society. Despite, the tragedies and violent actions taken by the slaves, the Haitian Revolt is a well earned accomplishment for not only the slaves but for the nation for creating equality. The Haitian Revolt is considered a remarkable feat and is well justified.

Works Cited:

Corbett, Bob. "The Haitian Revolution of 1791-1803." 19 May 2006 .

"History > French Colonial Rule > Plantations and Slaves." Haiti. Britannica Online. 19 May 2006 .

"History." Haitians. 18 Feb. 2004. Cultural Orientation. 19 May 2006 .

Hooker, Richard. "The Haitian Revolution." The African Diaspora. 1996. 19 May 2006 .

Knight, Franklin W. "The Haitian Revolution." The American Historical Review. Feb. 2000. The American Historical Association. 19 May 2006 .

Thomson, Jim. "The Haitian Revolution and the Forging of America." The History Teacher. Nov. 2000. Breck School. 19 May 2006 .

Cited: Corbett, Bob. "The Haitian Revolution of 1791-1803." 19 May 2006 . "History > French Colonial Rule > Plantations and Slaves." Haiti. Britannica Online. 19 May 2006 . "History." Haitians. 18 Feb. 2004. Cultural Orientation. 19 May 2006 . Hooker, Richard. "The Haitian Revolution." The African Diaspora. 1996. 19 May 2006 . Knight, Franklin W. "The Haitian Revolution." The American Historical Review. Feb. 2000. The American Historical Association. 19 May 2006 . Thomson, Jim. "The Haitian Revolution and the Forging of America." The History Teacher. Nov. 2000. Breck School. 19 May 2006 .

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