GH2/Napp Do Now: Revolt on the Island of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti), 1791

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Toussaint L’Ouverture GH2/Napp
Do Now:

Revolt on the Island of Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti), 1791
. . . The seeds of independence were first sown among free black soldiers sent by the white French governors to fight against the British in the American War of Independence, where they were exposed to anti-colonial ideas. Later, the French Revolution’s notions of liberty, equality, and brotherhood inspired an independence movement among the minority white settlers and a highly fragmented socioeconomic mix of free blacks. When the white population defied an order from France to enfranchise [give rights to] free blacks, it triggered a violent revolt that involved changing alliances among free blacks and the large slave population. After promulgating [announcing] a constitution in 1801 and overcoming a military force sent by Napoleon (First

Consul, 1799–1804; Emperor, 1804–1814/1815), Haiti successfully declared its independence. Its success, along with that of the American War of Independence, inspired a number of anticolonial struggles throughout Latin America. . . .

Source: New York Public Library, Russia Engages the World, online exhibition (adapted)

Based on this document, identify one situation that led to Haiti’s declaration of independence from France.


  1. Early Life

  1. Born in Saint-Domingue (present-day Haiti)

  2. Born into slavery on a plantation

  1. Understood the suffering of slaves

  2. Understood that the French gained wealth from slavery

  1. Allowed to learn to read and write

  2. At 33, gained his freedom

  3. Inspired by the ideas of the Enlightenment and the American and French Revolutions

  1. A Slave Revolt in Haiti

  1. Slaves revolted against their colonial masters in 1791

  2. Slaves were successful until Napoleon came to power

  1. Napoleon sent an army to retake island

  2. Toussaint was captured and exiled to a prison where he died

  1. Toussaint’s successor, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, continued the fight

  1. Many French soldiers died from Yellow Fever

  2. By 1804, Saint-Dominque gained its freedom

  1. The new nation was named Haiti


  1. State four important facts about Toussaint L’Ouverture’s early life?

  1. Why did the Enlightenment and the American and French Revolutions inspire Toussaint L’Ouverture?

  1. What happened during the slave revolt in Haiti?

  1. What happened to Toussaint L’Ouverture when Napoleon came to power in France?

  1. Who was Jean-Jacques Dessalines?

  1. What happened in 1804?

A brief description:
ook at these paintings created by African-American artist Jacob Lawrence (1918-2000). Study the paintings and their titles. Write a brief description for each work based on what you have learned about the Haitian leader and the Haitian revolution.

To Preserve Freedom

A brief description:


A Primary Source adapted from
In this document, Toussaint warns the Directory (the executive committee which ran the government between the Reign of Terror and Napoleon Bonaparte's coup in 1799) against any attempt to reimpose slavery.
Do they think that men who have been able to enjoy the blessing of liberty will calmly see it snatched (taken) away? They supported their chains only so long as they did not know any condition of life more happy than that of slavery. But to-day when they have left it, if they had a thousand lives they would sacrifice them all rather than be forced into slavery again. But no, the same hand which has broken our chains will not enslave us anew. France will not revoke her principles, she will not withdraw from us the greatest of her benefits. She will protect us against all our enemies; she will not permit her sublime morality to be perverted, those principles which do her most honour to be destroyed, her most beautiful achievement to be degraded, and her Decree of 16 Pluviôse which so honors humanity to be revoked. But if, to re-establish slavery in San Domingo, this was done, then I declare to you it would be to attempt the impossible: we have known how to face dangers to obtain our liberty, we shall know how to brave death to maintain it.”
Questions from the Primary Source:

  1. According to Toussaint, what will men who have enjoyed liberty never have taken away? __________________________________________________________________

  2. According to Toussaint, why will they never have it taken away? __________________________________________________________________

  3. According to Toussaint, why must France not enslave the Haitians again? __________________________________________________________________

  4. According to Toussaint, what must France do? __________________________________________________________________

  5. According to Toussaint, if France fails to protect them, what will the people of Haiti do? __________________________________________________________________

  6. According to Toussaint, why will they brave death? __________________________________________________________________

  7. Do you agree or disagree with Toussaint’s warning to the French? Explain your answer. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

I was born a slave, but nature gave me a soul of a free man….”

~ Toussaint L’Ouverture
Revolutions Quiz

  1. Maximilien Robespierre and the Jacobins are best known for

(1) instituting the Reign of Terror

(2) protecting freedom of religion

(3) supporting the reign of King Louis XVI

(4) sending French troops to fight in the

American Revolution

  1. Oliver Cromwell led the Puritan Revolution in England in response to the

(1) passage of the Bill of Rights

(2) autocratic rule of the king

(3) implementation of mercantilism

(4) defeat of the Spanish Armada

Toussaint L’Ouverture

Bernardo O’Higgins

José de San Martín

These individuals had their greatest impact on the

(1) unification of Italy

(2) independence movements in Latin America

(3) Zionist movement

(4) Catholic Counter Reformation


A. Toussaint L’Ouverture declares Haiti


B. Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen is written in France.

C. The thirteen colonies gain independence from Great Britain.

D. Simón Bolívar frees Colombia from Spanish rule.
What is the correct chronological order for these events?

(1) A B D C (3) A D C B

(2) C B A D (4) D C B A

  1. The French Revolution is most important for having changed subjects to citizens.”

This statement emphasizes the shift from

(1) religious traditions to secular values

(2) divine right rule to people’s participation in government

(3) rural lifestyles to urban lifestyles

(4) private property ownership to government ownership
Angry Mob Destroys Bastille” “Napoleon Seizes Power”

Which country’s revolution is referred to in these headlines?

(1) Spain (2) France

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