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Africa Diaspora - Research Paper Example

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The Haitian revolution was considered the most successful of all anti-slavery revolutions and occurred between the years of 1791 to 1804 in the French colony of Saint-Domingue,the colony which was an important producer of sugar …
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Africa Diaspora
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Download file to see previous pages Although the slaves significantly outnumbered their masters, they found it difficult to find their own voice outside their communities. The slaves suffered particularly harsh treatments if there were any attempts to gain emancipation or to run away (Bulliet, Crossley, Headrick, Hirsch& Johnson, 584). In the 1750’s, Mackandal – a voodoo priest with a charismatic personality was able to gather slaves into organized movements and networks throughout the plantations (Blackburn). He was also able to organize the maroon bands or runaway slaves. Even after his death in 1978, the movement continued to fight for the cause of the slaves. Concerned by this and by the disparity in the populations of the different groups, the European officials passed a number of laws that were not only discriminatory and oppressive of slaves but also of freed persons of color (Blackburn). These individuals were denied opportunities, were limited in the number of administrative positions that they would be offered and were ostracized socially. Such laws motivated the freed slaves and others to join the protests. The French revolution led to the declaration of the Rights of Man in 1789, which declared all men to be equal (Blackburn). This was believed to be a vindication of their rights by the free colored population of Saint-Domingue. One such person was Vincent Oge who had recently returned from France. He believed that he and others like him had the right to vote in Saint-Domingue; and he perused this cause till he was captured in 1971 and brutally killed (Blackburn). This incident caused an uprising that was led by another voodoo priest Dutty Boukman. This uprising that started on 21st August 1791 led to the violent and disruptive revolt of slaves all over the province. In an attempt to curb the revolt, equal rights were granted to freedmen in 1792, but the war between France and England bought the rebels the support of the Spanish and the English (Bulliet et al., 584). The French realized that they could not fight on so many fronts, and so in 1794, the Assembly of the First Republic declared all slaves in the French colonies as free men. L'Ouverture was a former slave who rose to the rank of commander in the army and worded tirelessly for the emancipation of slaves (Dubois, 171). These freed slaves were then encouraged to join the French army, thus serving as an incentive for the French to ensure emancipation of all slaves. These troops succeeded in defeating the Spanish and British invaders and gained command of the island where L'Ouverture declared himself a ruler and declared Saint-Domingue a sovereign black state in 1801 (Dubois, 177). This angered Napoleon Bonaparte who had L'Ouverture captured. L'Ouverture later died in prison in France. Napoleon sent Leclerc and Viscount of Rochambeau to take control of Saint-Domingue, where they tried to reestablish slavery without success (Dubois, 180). This fueled the revolt that continued to weaken France till it was defeated in 1803. Jean-Jacques Dessalines who was then leading the rebel forces in Saint-Domingue declared the state free on 1st January 1804 and renamed it as ‘Haiti” (Dubois, 303). The success of this revolution caused questions about slavery to be raised across the United States where slavery was still practiced. A number of freed men and slaves were inspired by the efforts of the rebels in Haiti and these voices caused political enquiry into the issues of slaves (Popkin, 298). American soil also saw refugees - both white and those of color - from Haiti ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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