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Main Causes for Outbreak of Haitian Revolution

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The outbreak of the Haitian Revolution is too complex that to appoint a biggest impact is only restrictive. The first part of the “Haitian revolution” essay explores Voduo’s impact, followed by the consideration of the French Revolution and the extent of the impact of European ideas derivative from figures like Rousseau. Lastly followed by the consideration of alternative influences, such as the role of Kongo.

Indeed, colonial lawyer Moreau de Saint-Méry’s 1780s account of Haitian Vodou ceremonies, ritual practices to establish strategies of resistance to the ailing life in slave societies within a community, expresses its immense potential in posing a danger to colonists, ‘Nothing is more dangerous than this Vodou cult.’ Moreau’s derogatory colonist perspective of slave syncretism, ‘perhaps to allay the fears this mysterious Vodou cult causes… a show is made,’ conveys that even prior to the 1791 revolution outbreak, Voduo was already perceived as a, ‘potentially terrible weapon.’ Furthermore, Moreau alludes to the ceremonies to have malicious intent as a result of their ‘secrecy’ whilst it’s alternatively the colonists’ ignorance of the cult, reflecting the extent of their antithetical relationship with the enslaved people, as their knowledge is unreliably sourced by, ‘whites found spying,’ and their outsider interpretations of the enslaved peoples’ ‘sect’s secret practices’ rumoured to be, ‘not for amusement and pleasure but rather a school where weak minds give themselves over to a domination that in a thousand ways could prove to be fatal.’ To conclude, as the colonisers are ignoramus of Voduo it bred fear, providing the already consolidated community to produce intimidation, thus making an evident powerful influence in the outbreak of the Haitian revolution.

Undeniably, the French Revolution impacted the outbreak of the revolution. Although sharing the similarity of both revolutions being made up of several, ‘the separate struggles of groups – whites, free coloureds and slaves in Haiti produced a social and political complexity’ that France lacked, allowing them to succeed in a brief aristocratic revolt against the monarchy driven by peasant and popular insurrections, releasing a chance for a bourgeois revolution. This advantage resulted in the evolution of the Haitian Revolution coinciding with the constant interplay of the metropolitan revolution. It’s evident of the impact of Rousseau’s political theory, ‘The Social Contract,’ inspiration in Haiti through its influence on the political reform of the Declaration of Rights in 1789. His stimulus, ‘Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains,’ enabled the freemen of colour in Saint-Domingue inclusion in the political process as taxpaying men of property, in addition to ‘The Friends of the Blacks’ abolitionist society in Paris adopting their cause. Thus, the impact on the Haitian revolution was a new forum for free men of colour and established allies. Before the Revolution, racial equality provided rights to become a doctorslawyers, after 1789 granted access to political power essential for the outbreak of the Haitian revolution.

Kongo’s influence on the outbreak of the Haitian revolution is demonstrated by its population of imported slaves into Saint-Domingue within the decennium, in consequence of their civil wars, ‘Congos’ comprised of ‘60 percent of the slaves in North Province, where the revolution began, and about the same percentage in the south.’ They became so prevalent, ‘Congo,’ became a generic term for the slave insurgents rank and file. Further evidence of Kongolese influence can be seen in Haiti’s revolutionary ideology and Kongo’s political ideology of royalism’s influence, the motivation behind Kongo civil wars, which many of those imported had served in, and their attempts to create a positive movement to ameliorate society by amending the constitutional issues, determine who was King and the subsequent supremacies of the title. The Haitian revolutionaries were, ‘inveterate royalists,’ as a product of their African background, using Kongolese figure Macaya, late seventeenth century revolutionary leader’s royalism as an example, ‘I am the subject of three kings: of the King of Congo, master of all the blacks; of the King of France who represents my father; of the King of Spain who represents my mother.” A conclusion can be drawn that the actions of the Haitian followers carrying royalist banners, referring to themselves gens du roi, and even demanding the restoration of the monarchy reflect their African background with, ‘as many as two-thirds of the slaves in Saint-Domingue (Haiti) on the eve of the revolution had been born, raised, and socialized in Africa.’ Therefore, the ideological orientation of the abundance of the slaves is crucial to note as, even if the majority of leaders were creoles including no immediate African background, they’d still be required to build a rapport with the followers by resonating with their ideology, a motivator on the outbreak of the revolution.

To recapitulate, it’s imperative to note the revolution was partly an aftershock of 1789 inspiration from French Revolution, the result of autonomous revolt of enslaved African peoples moved by their own principles of solidarity and resistance, the role of the Kongolese population and a multitude of further impacts.

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Main Causes for Outbreak of Haitian Revolution. (2023, February 11). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 26, 2023, from
“Main Causes for Outbreak of Haitian Revolution.” GradesFixer, 11 Feb. 2023,
Main Causes for Outbreak of Haitian Revolution. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 Mar. 2023].
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