The Impacts of the Haitian Revolution on Slavery in North and South America
The Haitian Revolution was a veritable revolution in the history of the world, dated back in the early 19th century. The revolution emerged out of conflicts of the revolutionary age and out of the tension that was building in the society of the wealthy French colony, established by the slave labor. The French revolution of the 1789 was also a key contributor to the rise of the Haitian Revolution. In tandem to this, the Haitian revolution was the first successful rebellion by slaves after 300 years of African Slavery in the Caribbean and America (Geggus & Fiering, 2009). This was facilitated by the revolution in colonial Saint Domingue, which in turn, amounted to the spread of fear and shock waves throughout America, European metro poles, and the rest of the world on the grave issues that pertained to slavery and the slave trade (Geggus & Fiering, 2009). Technically, the international effects of Haitian revolution were cataclysmic, highly depicted by the loss of French empires’ most essential and crucial colony, the pearl of the West Indies, and the drastic transition on the slave trade (Geggus & Fiering, 2009). Conventionally, the impacts of the revolution on slavery in North and South America were characterized by a plethora of facets, which were indirect, paradoxical and highly indispensable, and they marked the long process of American nation making vis a vis Haiti.
The core impact of the revolution was the spread of fear that affected the entire western hemisphere. Throughout the North and South American region, the ruling elites feared the spread of ideas about freedom among their slaves, and they dreaded the nature of violence that characterized the Haitian movement (Popkin, 2012). The slave owners believed that if the slaves in America did rise, they would be slaughtered, and optimistically, they generated fear that the slaves could gain the ability to persuade or force the white Americans to abolish the practice. Similarly, the whites lived in the dire of being poisoned by their slave servants, or more commonly, of seeing their livestock decimated by deliberate sabotage (Popkin, 2010). Consequently the fear changed the slavery and the slave trade, due to the anticipation of a collective revolt by the slaves, imitating the Haitian revolution. The importation of slave reduced, ascribed to the fact that, it posed as a threat to national and social preservation, and the leading argument was that the greater number of slaves introduced in the area, the prone that the place would be to rebellion (Popkin, 2010). The harsh treatment also reduced, and some of the slaves obtained freedom and some time to rest, to reduce the possible outcome of an outrageous revolution, similar to the Haitian revolution.
Despite the opening, of the sugar market for planters of Brazil and some parts of America, enhanced by the revolution, the slaves were strengthened, and they were determined to gain their freedom. The African slaves in Brazil were highly inspired by rebels in Haiti, and it made the slave movements change, accompanied by a lot of resistance (Geggus & Fiering, 2009). The slaves turned from being humble workers to rebellious people, and the relationship between the slaves and their masters changed a vast deal (White, 2010). The resistance was also enhanced by the migration of some slaves from Haiti. The slaves were believed to be tainted by their experience during the Haitian revolution, and they were likely to bring insurrection in the United State (White, 2010). Further, the arrival of new slaves, unaccustomed to their status and disaffected, could excite discontent among resident bondsmen and encourage them to rebel, thence creating an exorbitant slave resistance (White, 2010). On the contrary, some of the slaves, who were impatient with the slow pace and half-hearted nature of reform in America, migrated to Haiti for resettlement, hence reduction on the number of slaves working in farms and plantations (White, 2010).
The revolution also initiated a number of changes in America. One of the significant changes includes the change of attitude. The Haitian revolution at the turn of the century deeply shaped the American attitudes reckoning issues appertaining to slavery, thus the revolution brought to America both an intellectual and demographic influence that profoundly concerned the slaveholders. White (2010) also affirms that the American reliance on the cultural novelty of the slaves to reinforce distinctions between other colonies and the United States, also changed attributed to the revolution. The revolution also aided in forging the crucial moment in America national building. The Americans resorted in preventing a disastrous fate similar to that of Haiti from occurring in America. They opted for a benign version of slavery, which was exceptionally friendly (White, 2010). However, the African Americans invoked the Haitian revolution to fight the status quo, resulting to the abolition of the slave trade, and the rise of new ideologies, notably war against racism.
Besides, the Haitian revolution spark lit the egression of civil war in America. Both black and white antislavery activists became bolder in their defense in light with the black slavery, their republic and history, one of the thorniest aspects that justified the violence of the Haitian revolution (White, 2010). In conjunction to this, the Haitian revolution ushered a political climate favorable to antislavery legislation in the United States, and this assisted in discouraging the importation of slave through the Trans Atlantic slave trade (Rodriguez, 2007). Some laws were enacted, to abolish the slave trade, following the impacts of the revolution on the political and economic system of America. The laws included the anti slavery trade law enacted between 1794 and 1800, and the passage of federal law outlawing the Trans Atlantic save trade on 1807 (Rodriguez, 2007). Moreover, the revolution provided ideals that were anti slavery, and this posed as a great threat to the slave owing nations, and it demanded an overthrow of slavery and the support of ant colonial struggles (Rodriguez, 2007). Hence, this led to reduction of the slave trade in America.
In the contrary, the revolution also had a different effect in North and South American mainland. The hard times in the Caribbean sent staple prices skyrocketing on the international market. Sugar boomed in the north Brazil and south Louisiana, especially after the fall of slavery in St Domingue. This encouraged the importation of a large number of slaves to work in the plantation, hence making it difficult to abolish the slave trade (Popkin, 2012). Moreover, the colonies were determined to improve their economy despite the changes that were taking place in Haiti. The Americans also viewed themselves as noble people with different political system compared to the French and this made them hold unto slavery trade, prolonging the transition process (White, 2010).
Concisely, in the realm of human consciousness, the Haitian revolution was the single most indispensable event in bringing about that epoch making a shift of the aged revolution. It contributed a lot in transforming both North and South America. It aided in abolishing slave trade, and in turn promoting freedom and equality through the generation of fear among the slave owners, strengthening the slaves, and changing of attitude. In line with this, the outgrowth of civil war and its effects also helped in killing the slave industry, and in the creation of a suitable and stable economic and political system. It also brought about facets of equality and freedom, lowering the levels of racial prejudice in America.
Geggus, P. D. & Fiering, N. (Eds.). (2009). The world of the Haitian Revolution. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
Popkin, D. J. (2010). You Are All Free: The Haitian Revolution and the Abolition of Slavery. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press.
Popkin, D. J. (2012). A Concise History of the Haitian Revolution. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing.
Rodriguez, P. J. (2007). Encyclopedia of Slave Resistance and Rebellion, Volume 1. West Port, CT: Greenwood Press.
White, A. (2010). Encountering Revolution: Haiti and the Making of the Early Republic. Baltimore: The John Hopkins University Press.