Impact of Enlightenment on the Haitian Revolution 1791-1804

2387 Words10 Pages
The Haitian revolution, lasting from 1791 to 1804 was a slave rebellion in the French colony of Saint-Domingue, which culminated in the first independent nation in the Caribbean, the second democracy in the western hemisphere, and the first black republic in the world. It is believed that both free blacks and slaves on the Island were inspired by the enlightenment ideas of human rights and dignity. CHAPTER SUMMARY Just like the French, North American or Caribbean and Latin American upheavals, the Haitian revolution was no exception from the ideologies that emanated from the age of enlightenment in the 17th century. Throughout this period, a majority of revolutions were connected with new ideas that transformed thinking and everyday lives of the people all over the world and disrupted the status quo. The Enlightenment ideas of equality for men, human rights and dignity are said to have inspired the Haitian revolutionaries. One slave in particular, Toussaint L’Ouverture a freed slave and slave owner is said to have been strongly influenced by Enlightenment ideas and modeled his new nation on French ideals of freedom and citizenship. Speaking of French ideals, before the revolution, France was ruled by an absolute monarchy, but the new ideas originating from the Enlightenment era included ideas about freedom, the common people’s right to govern, equality, and other democratic ideals such as religious tolerance and freedom of speech. The unrest among the classes was caused by these new ideas of government and their potential to improve society and the everyday lives of the people by eradicating poverty, unemployment, and hunger that was present in France before the Revolution. In 1789, the French people took matters into their own hands, ultimately ousting the king and launching a republic three years later. A defining moment event in modern European history, the
Open Document