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Hatian Revolution - Essay Example

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Slavery of whatever category has inhuman acts. The French colony remains historically renowned for slavery. Until in 1791, the rate of slavery had gone up tremendously. …
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Hatian Revolution
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Download file to see previous pages The army had fought great wars against the armies of Britain, Spain and France, defeating them all in a span of thirteen years. Like the American independence war and the French revolution several decades earlier, Haiti revolution had its basis on the principal of self-rule and termination of cruelty from white masters. The American war of independence was against subjugation by colonialists, with proponents claiming that no country was superior to the other. The principal concern was lack of representation in governments while the Americans were paying taxes to their German and Britain colonists, a practice that amounted to subjugation of their rights. The French revolution on the other hand was an extension of the self-rule principle from nation state relations to the domestic spheres. Their basic tenet was that all citizens in a state were superior to the state itself and that no man was superior to the other. Whereas these two revolutions form the basis for freedom fights, they both centred on rights and freedoms of white men only and did not extent to non-whites or to women. Ironically, the Haiti revolution was against slavery and misrule by French and American among other white countries including Spain and Britain. With large farmlands and other economic activities in their colonies, white rulers mistreated local residents and black slaves whom they forced to work under very demeaning conditions (Sara 45). Once a free independent nation, the urge to avenge against the French colonialists drove the new government under the rule of Dessalines to order a total elimination of all white French settlers on the island under the pretext that they posed security risk to the young nation. This venture spared Americans and other foreigners, but led to extermination of thousands of white Frenchmen, women and children. The extend of Dessalines’s ire towards former French settlers surfaced in his “liberty or death” proclamation where he described white Frenchmen as insatiate blood suckers who had fattened themselves with the hard toils of Haitians. Dessalines destroyed a considerable size of the island’s population in unleashing revenge on the remaining white French settlers. Population estimates indicate that a third to half of the population had died or fled the island over the thirteen years of war while over a hundred thousand were permanently disabled (Sara 33). The revolution period also saw sugarcane plantations, mills, and irrigation works destroyed, burned out or abandoned. The large standing army also kept productive men out of the fields. Dessalines declaration that no Haitian soldier could work on the fields left the fields short of close to forty thousand productive workers. Further, after thirteen years of fighting, the habit of hard work had diminished among the Haitian population. Women who had previously worked as slaves on the field continued to fill that role after independence, contributing essentially the bulk of Haiti’s productivity, since they constituted over two thirds of the population (Leyburn 77). They however too abandoned this form of manual labour, taking up small scale trading instead. Without devoted and willing labourers on the fields, Haiti’s productivity took a serious dip down the drain. It is estimated that between 1789 and 1801 sugarcane production declined by 80%, while coffee production declined to 30% compared to production before the revolution begun. With this kind of decline in major economic production sectors, the viability of the nation and its economic future were in great peril. Realising the need to improve the island’ ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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