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Revolution In Colonies Essay

1989 words - 8 pages

During the French Revolution the colony of St.Domingue now known as Haiti furnished almost two-thirds of France’s trade. Motivated by not only slave labor but fertile soil they produced several things such as sugar, coffee, and cotton on their main land France. By 1789 this colony along with Jamaica became not only the richest European colony but the main supplier of the world’s sugar and coffee which made it one of the most flourishing slave colonies in all of the Caribbean. The French Revolution of 1789 gave light to the Haitian Revolution of 1791. This revolution would soon lead to the emancipation of slavery and Haiti becoming the first republic to be ruled by African ancestry. The ...view middle of the document...

The domestic slaves were those who were cooks or servants on the plantation manor and around town while the field hands worked ongoing during the day, not being allowed breaks or adequate feeding. The field hands lived the toughest and most discouraging lives because of inadequate feeding with little to no medical care, but mainly because unlike slave owners in the United States, the French did not believe in preserving the life of a slave because animals were treated better than them. The French’s attitude was that they rather simply replace a slave then to keep one that’s no good and can be fixed with proper medical care.

During this time slave trade has began to expand and take over the colony of Saint Domingue– now known as Haiti. They were several issues that plagued the Haitian Revolution: the planters move toward independence, the free persons of color fight for full citizenship and the embargos that the French placed on the slave trade which prohibited the Planters doing trade with any other country other than France [3]. However, the Planters and other Saint Dominguans did not abide by this trade restriction known as ‘Exclusif’. Exclusif was the name given to a foreign trade system by France which required that Saint-Domingue sold 100% of her exports to France alone, and purchased 100% of her imports from France alone[3]. The prices for both exports and imports were set by French merchant and crown, and the prices were extraordinarily favorable to the French and were in no way, shape or form competitive with world trading markets. It was ironically practically the same system in which England had forced on its North American colonies and which finally sparked the movement for independence in the original thirteen colonies.

Many early on followers of the French Revolution were uneasily aware of the role that slavery played in France’s colonies, some of them formed a group called the Société des Amis des Noirs (“Society of the Friends of Blacks”), which discussed plans for gradual abolition of slavery, the ending of the slave trade, and the granting of rights to educated free colored men from the colonies (one of the original reasons that sparked the Haitian Revolution) [1]. They demanded the right to decide how their slaves and freed persons of color should be treated. The slaves were their hard-earned property, they argued, and a fair-minded government could not even consider taking them away. The French National Assembly knew not to discuss the issue of slavery, because they feared that the colonial plantation-owners would threatened to imitate their neighbors to the north and launch a movement for independence, or else to turn their colonies over to the British, France’s traditional enemies. All slave owners also violently denounced the Société des Amis des Noirs, accusing them of stirring up the slaves and the free colored populations in the colonies.

The French revolutionaries invested a lot of money into the colony of...

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