Research Paper on Haitian Revolution

Paper Type:  Research paper
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1864 Words
Date:  2022-11-30


This work is a detailed chronicle of the great Haitian Revolution of 1791-1803. Concurrent with the French revolution, it spawns the wind of change in the nationalistic, self-determination ideologies emancipation, and liberal movements of the Third World. The events are central to San Domingo, a West Indian Territory colonized by the French. Ubiquitous is the tales of untold misery and subjugation of the people under the brutality of the French rule. Worse still, is the elaborate structure set up to promote servitude, and forced labor? The protagonist is a semi-illiterate slave, Toussaint Loverture the charismatic, mobilizer and organizer of the struggle for independence. This colonial nation is a cash-cow and an economic breakthrough to her mother, the French monarchy. A key mover of the economy in the sense of transactions involving slaves and labor provided (James, 1963).

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The momentous turnaround is extraordinaire. First, unique since it is the only successfully staged rebellion by slaves. Against all the odds, slaves resoundingly triumph over a contingent of 60,000 soldiers, equipped with sophisticated weaponry and drawn across the Spanish, British, and French military expertise. This gives rise to the present day Haiti, a state for the Negroes. The feat of the first independent Caribbean nation. The piece is composed of the most riveting plot that opens at the prologue, the exploration of Christopher Columbus into Haiti. The situation occasions the annexation of the San Domingo and colonization characterized by slavery, forced labor, cruel evictions, and repressive ills like murder, rape, and disease warfare. The region was torn in between the French, Britain, and Spaniard colonizers. African slave trade across the Atlantic sets a new paradigm since it acted as new source of labor for farms and plantations set a new era of chaos deteriorating human dignity as human beings could now be traded in an exchange process. Also, they are subjected to deplorable conditions en route and denigrated to poor human conditions (James, 1963). The rebellions by slaves present a struggle and a liberalism approach, begin charting the path of egalitarian societies.

The bourgeoisie, the slave owners, commercially exploit the slave's labor for their selfish ends; this drags on unabated. The situation paints a picture of disillusionment of a people and obliteration from the entitlements of human life, who are separated from their communities and banished in diaspora There exist a stable, elaborate government process with the French Crown wielding power and authority. Power here is manipulated to advance the status quo much to the detriment of the inferior race and low social classes. All these misgivings and injustices foment an affirmative action, a reprisal by the inferiors to their woes, the revolution. Masses are ready to take in a bullet for their freedom. Their oppressors are a vermin that must be exterminated. Cases of mutiny and blatant insubordination are the order of the day. Chants of slogans of freedom are a commonplace. These actions wreak havoc and see anarchy in the territory. The more the Whites remain condescending and inclined to the hegemony, the more hardliner leaning the slaves became.

On the other hand, the civilian in Paris has had enough. The French government is now pitted between the hammer and the anvil. Do they protect their interests in the colony or contain the situation back home? These twist of circumstances must have charged Toussaint to begin the revolution. The shifts in social and economic status between the Mulattoes, a cropped up racial breed and the White slave owners in the pursuit for dominance of and control of resources. In a protracted struggle for power, Toussaint usurps power and purges the colonizers, opportunistic of the disputes between France and Britain. In a dramatic twist of events, the bourgeoisie is hell-bent on continuing with the existent state of affairs, creates even a suspicion complex (James, 1963).

In a bruising war of independence, the Haitian Revolution conquered the French, Spaniards, and Britain combined forces. The main character behind this chain of tremendous achievements is Toussaint Loverture. The writer, from a third person point of view, complies the achievements and uphill struggle to show the capability of the Black race. On the same juncture, this text provides more realistic and applicable arguments. One may question, is Toussaint a product of the revolution or the reverse is correct?

Regarding the information, has it all of the History been documented, without prejudice and distortion of information to intentionally give it a slant? Sources for this work are drawn from letters, authoritative archival reports from the British, French, and San Domingo. The preconceived bias here is informed by the realization that the author aimed to write fiction. Initially, the book was a play and not a historical essay. This is further exemplified by how the author explored the use of tragedy in plot advancement. The main character is a victim of defects associated with Aristotle. A story-line that takes the form of a tragedy but blended with historical sources and documents, yet delivered via the narrative process. A comparison analysis is to the use of literary devices vis-a-vis the accuracy of facts in History as it ignites another discussion.

There is more than just the story. Here is are the inferences we make in the subtext. Achievements of men in regards to historical milestones. Is this unveiled to optimum? The writer grants the concession that shortcomings of the environment living inhibit these achievements. This is thought-provoking in its way since it's an antithesis of the common maxim: necessity is the mother of invention. It further sparks the literary discourse surrounding heroic achievements and the circumstances or rather, the status quo (James, 1963). Notably, the feelings of being aggrieved by a people accrue together and violently rupture in bloody revolutions. The power in the masses will supplant the resistance counteracted by the hegemony, all in a bid to change the status quo. The masses have been relentless, fail to buckle under pressure. They employ tactics and inventive strategies that keep the struggle on a course like guerrilla warfare.

Also explored is the role of class and economic struggle inside the wider struggle - the revolution. The trajectory of revolutions by looking at the economic and social stratification in society. These two aspects take precedence over the plight of race in the book. James underscores out that the division of society into economic and social lines is the causal agent for racial discrimination. France is in a tug of war with the United States, Britain, and Spain but importantly with its social lines in its citizenry. The proletariat is in squabbles and battle for supremacy with their superior class. The emphasis on class over race. However, the class struggle remains convoluted. The author notes the presence of blacks who settled in the Caribbean as slaves. Then the Whites - bureaucrats and middle-lower income class, mulattoes"people of mixed parentage by intermarriage between the whites, the blacks, the free blacks, and slaves (the lowest on the social ladder). Each class struggles to advance their interests as the case of Mulattoes who support the status quo since they are free people enjoying the right to own land. They were also flexible and could be at the support of French, or slaves if any group could further their interests (James, 1963). The ruling elite is committed to cling onto power and cleave with the order to ensure they remain in power for a time. James quotes about the ruling: The ruling cabal will not transfer power, in any case, will concede a loss with the guise of scheming and regaining the lost power and privilege.

Remarkably, Toussaint Loverture, the prima leader of this revolution, has gotten the privilege of acquiring literacy as opposed to the majority of the slaves. He is motivated by literature he consumes in a book that nurtures his revolutionary ideas. The slaves were also desperate in the treatment and the status the society conferred on them. Access to education, soft landings in job treatment and learning. James is keen to observe that the leaders of the revolution are first raised by the system though conspire against it and start to bring it down. The issue coherently matches with the San Domingo's case scenario. Toussaint Loverture was versed with military training, elementary literacy and arithmetic and some leadership and team management skills, in due course of the slavery meted out on him. These components triggered the clamor for independence (James, 1963).

Concerning the concept of tranquility and serenity, James argues that the collapse of states and the rise of novel ones are prompted by human weaknesses, the divine power, and monarchical authority. The concept of power is illustrated in Black and White all along the text. More incisive, the peaceful state of mind could be unconditioned, unlearned or inborn or drug-induced. A case in point is the stillness the author tries to depict. He says that, at the backdrop of the rattle of gunfire, the tumult of the revolutionary movements, Frances arsenal could not stand the way of the revolutionary course.

Another ever-relevant issue is cultural assimilation. The colonial way of life is seen to have over-rode on the existent indigenous cultures and watered them down. For instance, Toussaint Loverture has adopted the French lifestyle. He has been coached with the French education system, his leadership skills quoted as being a fascist tyrant is a reflection of the European way of the rule to the colony. In his addresses to blacks, he views them as French Citizens His loyalty to the French way of life swiftly culminates in his deception, capture, and imprisonment in Europe leaving the bulk of continuing the revolution to the two generals, Moise, and Dessalines (James, 1963).

Coincidence is employed as a plot device set the phase for the events in the story. By a great deal of chance, events have happened at the same time rather unprecedentedly. The Haitian revolution is staged simultaneously with the French Revolution, showing how these two happenings directly intertwine. The Bastille takeover has been seen to have a direct effect on the slaves, and irk the Haitian revolution.

The Black Jacobins, the main character is Toussaint Loverture, a revolutionary. He is a uniting force in the struggle, the spearhead, and the performer of the stellar role in the execution of the revolution. Upon his seizure, he hands over the mantle to his generals, Dessalines, and Moise who materialize the plot. A character instrumental in drawing inspirations for readers. This has served as a lens for viewing future revolutions. And the application of the social theories of Marxism, activism, politics, colonialism, and post-colonialism. Marxist has come to play in the scenario when James presents colonialism as a tool used to advance social stratification. In his cross-examination of the societys social structure, he credits the colonial enterprise as paving the way for division of society along social lines (James, 1963).


In summary, the revolutionary text remains a book to imbue and arouse pertinent issues to the current way of living. In my opinion, it is engrossing and demands to be read at a seating albeit, I feel the author should have expounded on the dilemmas of the mulattoes" with correspondence to the current situation of coloreds. This is a minority group at c...

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