Connection between the Haitian Revolution to Todays Violent Social Unrest
The historical record confirms that, given enough time and motivation, people will rise up and slay their oppressors. The process may only require a few days, weeks or months in some cases while it requires years, decades or even centuries in others, but the outcome is always predictable because humans will only tolerate cruel abuse and existential threats for so long before they act, even if this requires violence. This was the case in the late 18th century when Toussaint LOuverture led a successful revolution of almost one-half million slaves in Haiti against their hated French occupiers and overseers who were exploiting the islands population and natural resources for their own unjust enrichment.[footnoteRef:1] The pyrrhic victory that was achieved in the Haitian Revolution held special implications for the United States since this event sent shock waves through the slave-holding states where owners and average citizens alike feared a similar revolution within their own borders. While it required a lengthy and costly Civil War, slavery was ultimately abolished in the United States as well and this outcome can be attributed in part to the events that preceded it half a century before in Haiti. Today, many members of minority groups in the United States are mirroring these resentments to racist laws and policies that place them at a disadvantage compared to the mainstream, which is to say white, population. The purpose of this paper is to provide a description of the Haitian Revolution and its aftermath as well as an analysis of its connection to todays violent social unrest. Following this review, a summary of the research and important findings concerning this historic connection are presented in the papers conclusion. [1: Haitian people (2021). CIA World Factbook. [online] available: https://www.cia.gov/the-world-factbook/countries/haiti/.]
Review and Analysis
It is likely difficult or even impossible for modern Americans to fully appreciate the significance of the Haitian Revolution in terms of its impact on the United States. The effects of this turning point in the history of the Western Hemisphere, though, remain highly salient today. Although precise figures are not available, historians estimate that the overwhelming majority of the Haitian population prior to the revolution was comprised of enslaved blacks who were regarded as so much chattel by their European overlords who ruled over their island colony with an iron fist.
The brutal conditions of Haitian enslavement are well documented. Notwithstanding its small size compared to the United States, archival records indicate that as many as 40,000 African slaves were imported each year in order to maintain the islands valuable sugar cane fields which were labor-intensive but highly profitable for their white owners. For instance, according to one historian, For nearly a decade in the late 18th century, Haiti accounted for more than one-third of the entire Atlantic slave trade. Conditions for these men and women were atrocious; the average life expectancy for a slave on Haiti was 21 years. Abuse was dreadful, and routine.[footnoteRef:2] [2: The slave trade in Haiti (2019). Bitter Sweet Monthly. [online] available: https://bittersweetmonthly.com/haitis-brutal-history
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