Toussaint L’Ouverture Global History and Geography II name

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Toussaint L’Ouverture

Global History and Geography II Name: _______________________

E. Napp Date: _______________________

The French Revolution affected France as well as its colonies. In the French colony of Saint-Dominque (present-day Haiti), slaves revolted against colonial oppression. The American and French Revolutions gave hope to conquered and subjugated people in the Americas that change was possible. The ideals of liberty and equality inspired individuals, especially Toussaint L’Ouverture. Toussaint L’Ouverture had been born a slave but his master allowed him to be educated. Over time, Toussaint rose to a position of respect within the slave community, especially because he wanted to improve the lives of slaves.
Knowing the brutality of the slave system, particularly on the sugar plantations in the Caribbean, L’Ouverture understood that slave labor made it possible for French colonists to live in wealth and luxury. Of course, he also understood the cost of that wealthy and luxury. Slaves were abused, exhausted, and mistreated in order to increase colonial profits. In 1791, Toussaint led an uprising of slaves against the colonists and was successful until Napoleon sent an army to retake the island in 1802. Toussaint resisted, was captured, and was put in prison where he died in 1803. His successor, Jean-Jacques Dessalines, continued to fight the French but many French soldiers came down with Yellow Fever and died. By 1804, Saint-Dominque gained its independence from France and was renamed Haiti.


  1. How did the French Revolution affect people in the Americas? _________________________________________________________________

  2. Who was Toussaint L’Ouverture? _________________________________________________________________

  3. How did slave labor benefit the French? _________________________________________________________________

  4. How did Haiti gain its independence? _________________________________________________________________

  5. Who was Jean-Jacques Dessalines? _________________________________________________________________

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
From…Complete the following passage using the Word Bank below:

In 1789 the began, and , then King, was executed. He was replaced with a new republican government based on the principals of

, and . However, this didn’t apply to everyone. In 1789 France had an Empire which included in

the . These colonies had owned by white Frenchmen but worked by enslaved Africans.

was born in 1744 on the French colony of on a sugar plantation called . He had heard about the French Revolution and its principals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. In 1791 he took part in a revolt with other enslaved Africans, angry that they had not been freed by the new French government.
The French declared the of slavery, in order to stop the revolt. Toussaint hoped that the Africans would have their own government, but the British and Spanish, seeing that the French were losing control, tried to take St. Domingue for themselves. Toussaint led an army and defeated them. Toussaint now had control of the island, but the new French leader, , wanted to recapture St. Domingue and bring back slavery. In 1801 he sent an army, but again Toussaint led the former slaves against them and forced the French to make a .
But the French went back on their word and captured Toussaint. They took him to France, where he died in prison in 1803. His successor, , eventually defeated the French. St Domingue was renamed , and became the first black republic on 1st January 1804.

Word Bank:

Toussaint L’Ouverture






French Revolution

Louis XVI







Abolition - bringing something to an end

Bréda - a plantation on St Domingue

Colonies - countries governed by the rulers of another country

Compromise - agreement where each side gives in a little – a middle way


French Revolution - in 1789 the French people threw out their old government and executed their ruler King Louis XVI. The new government was a republic (a state ruled by a government elected by the people). They promised the people Liberty, Equality and Fraternity

Napoleon - dictator who came to power after the French Revolution

Plantations - large estates where crops, such as sugar or cotton are grown

St Domingue - an island in the Caribbean. Today it is called Haiti

Toussaint L’Ouverture

In overthrowing me, you have done no more than cut down the trunk of the tree of the black liberty in St-Domingue-it will spring back from the roots, for they are numerous and deep.” ~ Toussaint L’Ouverture

Explain the meaning of Toussaint’s quote (remember Napoleon sent an army to retake the island in 1802): ________________________________________________________________________

Sugar and Slavery: Molasses to Rum to Slaves (Jean M. West)

“…approximately 25,000 Africans were enslaved and transported across the Atlantic Ocean. Up to two-thirds of these slaves were bound for sugar cane plantations in the Caribbean, Mexico, and Brazil to produce "White Gold." Over the course of the 380 years of the Atlantic slave trade, millions of Africans were enslaved to satisfy the world's sweet tooth. A sugar by-product, molasses, was distilled into rum and sent to Africa to purchase more slaves--this is the infamous Triangle Trade in the history books. Sugar's most bitter legacy is that the labor of slaves fueled the enslavement of even more Africans…

Sugar planting, harvesting, and processing is tiring, hot, dangerous work and requires a large number of workers whose work habits must be intensely coordinated and controlled…Native Americans were enslaved to work on the earliest sugar plantations, especially in Brazil. Those who could, escaped from the fields, but many more died due to European diseases, such as smallpox and scarlet fever, and the harsh working conditions on the sugar plantations. A Catholic priest named Bartolomé de las Casas asked King Ferdinand of Spain to protect the Taino Indians of the Caribbean by importing African slaves instead. So, around 1505, enslaved Africans were first brought to the New World. For the next three and a half centuries, slaves of African origin provided most of the labor for the sugar industry in the Americas…
Sugar planting was back-breaking work. Lines of slaves, men, women and children, moved across the fields, row by row, hand-planting thousands of seed-cane stems. Between 5,000 and 8,000 pieces had to be planted to produce one acre of sugar cane. Workdays in the fields typically lasted from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a noon-time break of perhaps two hours…Harvesting cane was as backbreaking work as planting cane, and cuts from the sharp tools were common.”


  1. Explain the author’s statement: “Sugar’s most bitter legacy is that the labor of slaves fueled the enslavement of even more Africans.” __________________________________________________________________

  2. Describe the impact of sugar cultivation on Native Americans and on Africans. __________________________________________________________________

  3. Who was Bartolome de las Casas and what was his recommendation? __________________________________________________________________

  4. Why was sugar planting back-breaking work? __________________________________________________________________

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