African American Slave Resistance

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The harsh conditions and cruel treatment imposed by slave masters and perpetuated by the system of slavery was the greatest cause of the revolution. Slave resistance took many forms, for some it was through self-destructive means such as suicide or the act of abortion and even infanticide. Other forms were either aggressive or assertive, such as acts of revolt or marronage. In cases of suicide, “death was seen not only as a liberation from the extreme conditions of slavery, but according to popular African beliefs, as a means of escape permitting the dead to return to their native land”. It is also argued that suicide was also an, “offensive measure that could go beyond purely personal considerations, and in the same blow, aim at the economic…show more content…
During the seventeenth and early eighteenth century, revolts or conspiracies to revolt within the colony were all aimed at, “the massacre and annihilation of white masters”. These were localized events that were immediately terminated by officials, and it was recognized that any collective armed revolt during this period was a limited form of resistance and had a minimal chance of success. An alternative method was marronage, which proved to be, “the most viable and certainly the most consistent” means of resistance. Preceding the Haitian Revolution, was the Makandal conspiracy of 1757, one of the first conspiracies since 1704, the Makandal conspiracy occurred within a unique context unlike previous revolts, having been conceived and organized by those in marronage and then spread among the enslaved on plantations. Marronage enabled relationships with the enslaved on plantations, as well as free blacks, it facilitated a secret network of communication in the colony. The Makandal conspiracy consisted of poisoning white planters, “to overthrow the white regime, whereby the blacks would become the new masters of Saint Domingue”. Unlike other revolts, this was the first attempt at a disciplined, and organized revolt which included the notion of political independence. By 1791, marronage had become a revolutionary force, it had “acquired a distinctively collective characteristic, [which] would converge with the volatile political climate of the time and with the opening of a revolution that would eventually guarantee [the right to be a free person]”. Marronage represented an organized resistance movement that was aimed at the destruction of white supremacy and slavery. The Haitian Revolution was possible because it was a revolution ignited by the enslaved, and free people of colour who were fighting
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