Liberalism In The Haitian Revolution

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Slavery in Haiti during the late eighteenth, and early nineteenth century was a very contentious issue. The sugar farms in Haiti accounted for much of the French economy, and slaves were necessary to farm sugar at the rate that they did. Haiti alone had 800,000 slaves, which was good for most in the world. Additionally, the sugar plantations had dangerous working conditions, and a high death rate. Toussaint L’Ouverture was born a slave on one of the plantations and given an education, something that most slaves did not get. He then rose among the ranks of his plantation and eventually became a manager of the plantation. Toussaint became soldier in the army, and gained the respect of the slave community. After being a soldier he supported the…show more content…
liberalism is the pursuit of change and progress for the better good, socially and politically. Liberals of the late nineteenth century, often believed in “new” ideals like liberty and equality, as well as the overthrow of the monarchy in place of a more equal government that gave more power to the people. One key principle of liberalism that evolved from the French revolution is the idea that the will of the people should be represented in the government’s actions. Toussaint talks about this general will in the Haitian constitution, “the terms of this constitution are the free, voluntary, and unchanging expression of our hearts and of our constituents’ general will” (The Haitian Constitution) He believed that his people should have a say in what the government did. Although he believed in a general will, Toussaint still believed that Haiti would be best off as an empire. In the Haitian Constitution, it is clearly stated that Jacques Dessalines is the emperor of Haiti. Monarchy directly contradicts many liberal beliefs, as it is a very conservative form of government. Conservatives were against change and progress, and thought that monarchy was the most effective form of government. However, Toussaint thought that his people were capable of making some decision, “ to the task of persuading Kings that their rights are confined to sitting upon a throne, while those of the people are to govern, and attacking all that centuries have bequeathed as holy and worthy of man’s respect-denying, in fact, the value of the past, and declaring themselves the masters of the future.” Toussaint did not believe that the people were completely incapable of having any real thought or belief about how government should be run. The best example of Toussaint going against this belief is in his implementation of the general will directly into the constitution, which is the most
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