Analysis of the Haitian and American Revolution Jessica Bomar

American Revolution and the Haitian Revolution: Symptoms Appear

Economic Problems preceding the American Revolution - Following the Seven Years War (1754 to 1763), the British had more land, but also resulted in the British national debt expanding from £75 million to £133 million. As a result the British imposed taxations on the now expanded colonies in North America, starting first with the Currency Act of 1764, which eliminated colonies from printing currency, which could not stimulate business activity. The Stamp Act of 1765 would be the first imposition to have major colonial retaliation.

Economic Problems preceding the Haitian Revolution - No major economic issues preceding the Haitian Revolution. The economy of the colony of Saint-Domingue fueled by intensive production of 40% of Europe's sugar and 60% of its coffee. Brutal conditions of labor led to spread of diseases like yellow fever and smallpox, which may have contributed to a possible economic toll, though no major economic toll is recounted.

Ineffective Leadership preceding the American Revolution - The Sugar Act of 1764 passed administrative tribunals with only a judge, leaving American colonists without a trial by jury. Trade with other countries was strictly forbidden, and The Sugar Act also permitted search and seizure of cargoes that could be suspected of being carrying contraband for illegal trade. The British prime minister was also determined to assert dominance over the colonies’ representative assemblies. The Quartering Act allowed British soldiers to be housed in private estates. These violations of right to privacy and trial by jury are quintessential of ineffective leadership as the blatant disregard of basic rights led to the eventual downfall of the British imperialism over its colonies.

Ineffective Leadership preceding the Haitian Revolution - The French king Louis XIV enacted the Code Noire in 1685 to attempt to control the cruelty the blacks and mulattoes could endure in Saint-Domingue, which the white upper class (Gran Blancs) largely ignored. Slave exploitation without compromise to respect basic human rights of the subjugated lower class slave population, which comprised 90% of the population by the 19th century, led to the inevitable downfall of the Gran Blanc ruling minority.

Angry Citizens preceding the American Revolution : The asserted power of the British following the Stamp Act of 1765 stamped every tangible legal document and stamp throughout the colonies, making the tax even more burdensome. The concept of “authority by popular will” arose first amongst artisans and farmers then later colonial assemblies. In December of 1765 delegates declared “no taxes have been constitutionally imposed on them”. Leaders like Samuel Adams and Patrick Henry began to encourage mob resistance and boycott of British goods, starting first with the Non-Importation Agreement in 1765. When Parliament refused to respect American rights through this boycott, nationalist sentiment (first popularized during the Enlightenment) arose amongst the colonies. The Committee of Correspondence mobilized this sentiment. Militia training also began in September of 1774 with the independent Company of Voluntiers. The formation of the First Continental Congress sought a representative in American parliament.

Angry Citizens preceding the Haitian Revolution - While wealthy freed people of color had a higher social standing than lower class whites (Petit Blancs), discrimination against their race was still prevalent. Petit Blancs were envious of the wealthy privileges of the accomplished Gens de Coleur Libres. Additionally, Gran Blancs were firmly opposed to improving the working conditions to slaves. All of this social tension amidst classes would culminate to an eventual breaking point.

Fever Rises:

Anger of the Citizens increases during the American Revolution - While the British did appease the colonists in some ways by, for example, repealing the Stamp Act, other taxations came in replacement such as the Townsend Act, which taxed tea and other household goods. Petitions against the King and his ministers arose. In 1768, after numerous riots and protests, Parliament sent troops to the colonies protected by the Quartering Act.

Anger of the Citizens increases during the Haitian Revolution - Petit Blancs wanted people of color to be more directly discriminated and lowered below their race. Petit Blancs additionally wanted interest rates lowered so as to pay off their debts. They misconstrued their class-crippling debt with oppression because they could not be slaveowners. This led to conspiring in this class as well of colonial independence for whites. Also during this time slaves were succeeding in escaping their slavemasters

Breaking Point of American Revolution - The Boston Massacre of 1770 saw first deaths of Americans and British troops under this conflict, often regarded as the first major conflict setting the precedent of the first battles of the American Revolution (the battle of Concord and Lexington).

Breaking Point of Haitian Revolution - The revolt is semi - officiated when slaves began to hear rumor that the King of France freed slaves, as well as being invigorated by the events of the French Revolution and the colonial autonomy granted by the General Assembly of Paris. Disputes over the interpretation of legislation calling for all proprietors to be citizens contributed to a three-sided war between the Gran Blanc, the Petit Blanc, and the people of color.

Government Collapse of American Revolution - The existing government imposed by prime minister Grenville was replaced following his leave of office.

Government Collapse of Haitian Revolution - Petit Blancs seize the city of Port-au-Prince and so the French government send troops to Saint-Domingue. The French National Assembly grant citizenship to people of color in the colony, and so the Petit Blanc heighten conflict with the slave population and gens de coleur libres. The slave population seizes control of Saint-Domingue on August 21, 1791. The population was coalesced militaristically by Toussaint l'Ouverture, a former slave, and managed to keep the British and the French forces from attempting conquer over the colony in 1793. By 1801 l'Ouverture abolishes slavery, being the first colony at this point in history to do so.

Moderate Government of American Revolution - Lord North, the new British prime minister rescinded all Townsend Acts except tea. Regulators replaced the royal officials but opposition strongest in the Carolinas led to warlike conflict. (not the same as a moderate government implemented by the revolt)

Moderate Government of Haitian Revolution - On January 1, 1804, l'Ouverture officially declares Haiti independent of the French with the support of the National Convention ratifying the abolition of slavery on February 4, 1794. l'Ouverture abolished needless taxes, reorganized the government of Haiti, and established the Constituent Assembly which declared the abolition of slavery in its Constitution. However, the maintenance of the plantation system was vital to the economic stability of the French Caribbean, which caused unpopularity amongst Haiti's black citizens. l'Ouverture's compatriot Rigaud refused to give up control of the Southern state of the island, resulting in civil war. After 13 months of battle, l'Ouverture wins. When Napoleon arrives in 1803, the population are somewhat complacent because they did not want to keep plantation system of sugar, and only then opposed Napoleon's forces such as General Leclerc when slavery was sought to be re-established.

Terror Sweeps:

Fall of Moderate Government in American Revolution - Lord North’s new form government as well as the new taxations through the Tea Act were responded with refusal to purchase British tea or tea from the East India Tea Company, leading to the Boston Tea Party, in which, all supplies of British tea were dumped into the Boston Tea Party. Parliament responded by passing the Coercive Acts in which the port of Boston was closed and the First Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Rights and Grievances denied Parliament’s rights to tax quickly.

Fall of Moderate Government in the Haitian Revolution - Technicalities of Haiti's departure from French imperialism eventually lead to Napoleon Bonaparte, following his coup in France in 1799, to attempt to reinstate slavery in Haiti. l'Ouverture is then imprisoned by Napoleon where he dies. When Napoleon arrives in 1803, the population are somewhat complacent because they did not want to keep plantation system of sugar, and only then opposed Napoleon's forces such as General Leclerc when slavery was sought to be re-established, leading to the fall of l'Ouverture's rule.

Government Collapse in the American Revolution - Government doesn’t really collapse, just conflict breaks out.

Government Collapse in the Haitian Revolution -Insurrection/guerrilla war driven by the drive of the former slaves to keep slavery abolished, as well as the interaction of diseases with Leclerc and his forces (mainly yellow fever), lead to the eventual victory of the Haitians.

Radical Violence in the American Revolution - General Thomas Gage sends out for the arrests of radicals Samuel Adams and John Hancock at Concord, and by the reach of Lexington the militiamen in the first battle of the war. The militiamen successfully send the British back (radicals aren’t perpetuating violence, just responding to threats).

Radical Violence in the Haitian Revolution - The remaining white population are massacred in the 1804 Haiti massacre, with little exception for children or women; those of which were forced into marriage or raped. :/ (1804 Haitian Massacre)

Radical Elimination of Opposition in the American Revolution - Committees of Safety begin to take power over from the regular government. Loyalists were often persecuted, resulting in death threats and confiscation of property.

Radical Elimination of Opposition in the Haitian Revolution - Jean Jacques Dessalines leads the Haitians to success against Napoleonic French in 1803, but the remaining white population are decreed by Dessalines to be put to death under suspicion of conspiracy. :/

Loss of Revolutionary Ideas in the American Revolution - Intellectual ideas of the revolution were not lost, in fact, reinforced the further along in the war. Ex. Thomas Paine and Thomas Jefferson continued to write on the obstacles the United States would face when independence was accomplished, particularly in A Summary View of the Rights of British America (1774)

Loss of Revolutionary Ideas in the Haitian Revolution - Assertion in abolition of slavery is reaffirmed following the challenges to power and Saint-Domingue is renamed Haiti.

Convalescence Reached:

Stability Following the American Revolution - The Articles of Confederation are established in 1781 dividing the powers amongst a union and the states.

Stability Following the Haitian Revolution - To restabilize the economy of a society previously producing 60% of Europe's coffee and 40% of its sugar, the system of serfdom was adopted by Dessalines, which restructured society into the laborer and the soldier (similar to the master and the slave). While this system was far more lenient, with shortened labor hours and ownership of plantation, slavery was effectively reinstated by the same people that abolished it.

Radical Ideas Go Away Following the American Revolution - John Adams’ radical ideas of maintaining former institutions previously upheld by the British was eventually ignored. The executive, legislative, and judicial branch are eventually established after the state constitutions of New York and Massachusetts. The concept of a federal Congress arose from the inadequacies of the Articles of Confederation being that no power was centralized leading to multiple forms of currency, so a conclusive agreement on governance was being reached.

Radical Ideas Go Away Following the Haitian Revolution - Dessalines and the Haitians defended the genocide of the 5,000 remaining white people (with a few exceptions for doctors, etc.) vehemently. The 1804 Haitian Massacre left racial hostility, as in 1805 white men could not own property.

Strong Leader Following the American Revolution - Stability is assumed when the Constitution was ratified by nine of the thirteen states (excluding Vermont) and Washington assumed presidency in 1789.

Strong Leader Following the Haitian Revolution - Dessalines assumes constitutional dictatorship and adopts the system of serfdom after agriculture and commerce in general struggled to stabilize.

American Revolution according to the Crane Brinton Model - The terror sweeps point of the Crane Brinton Model is more or less applicable to the American Revolution because government collapse does not necessarily take place as conflict leads the war. Additionally, the Articles of Confederation preceding the final Constitution can only loosely be interpreted as a form of moderate government, so the American Revolution does not follow the second and third stages in their entirety. Original revolutionary ideas are reinforced during the war. By and large, the revolution is least symptomatic of stage three terror.

Haitian Revolution according to the Crane Brinton Model - Economic strain, but not necessarily any economic shortage preceded the Haitian Revolution could be recounted . Sequentially, the Haitian Revolution isn't consistent with the Crane Brinton Model as the moderate government (understood to be l'Ouverture), and in the phases of terror sweeps Napoleon intercepts power dominance struggle with the population precedes the symptom of radical violence (1804 massacre). Parallel to the model is dependent on historical interpretation. Revolutionary ideas are lost semi-officially after the convalescence is reached when Dessalines adopts serfdom and the radicals that led the massacre of 1804 would influence racial tensions in Haiti for a significant time, as constitutionally white men were barred of property rights.

American REVOLUTION? While the American Revolution did follow and implement ideologies of the Enlightenment, such as those of John Locke, the ideas themselves upon which the foundation of the country rests/(ed), and create one of the world's first kingless governments, the interaction between people and its government was more or less stagnant and the change mild. The concept of equality based upon religious tolerance and class standing was respected and understood to be the purpose of the nation in its independence from Britain, yet slavery was an exception to "all men created equal" and much of the wealthy minority that were responsible for corruption in how the colonies were represented in Britain were similar to the ruling minority of the wealthiest property owners in the United States. Social and economic "revolution" did not truly take place, but leniencies granted and an ideological foundation of liberty would befit the country's identity for generations (until it eventually lost its meaning).

Haitian REVOLUTION? The Haitian Revolution foresaw a truly revolutionary abolition movement of slavery, an unprecedented victory over European slaveholders. However, consider the circumstances that 90% of the population were people of color or slaves, the revolution could be relatively easily accomplished; the real feat could be argued to be when the Haitian population successfully drove back Napoleonic French forces out of the then Saint Domingue and reclaimed their power. The preexisting ordeal of racial hostility and class struggle was only reversed in power; the massacre of 1804 saw the near genocide of the remaining white population, and the recovering economy replaced slave labor with extenuated serfdom of two social castes.

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Jessica Bomar

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