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Causes of the Haitian Revolution revealed in primary sources and its challenges on a fragile structure of an imperialist nation

Author: Kathleen Radebaugh


Henry C. Lea Elementary

Year: 2015

Seminar: Roots of the American Empire

Grade Level: 7

Keywords: Creole, Haiti, Haitian Revolution, imperialist, Politics

School Subject(s): English, Language Arts, Literature, Social Studies

The Haitian Revolution was a turning point in France’s imperialistic reign in the late part of the eighteenth century. In addition, it was also a historical moment for the United States who had imperialistic desires, but was a young nation who couldn’t develop an empire while simultaneously developing a democracy. In this unit, seventh grade students in ELA who will evaluate the causes of the Haitian Revolution through the use of primary and secondary sources. Students will analyze journal entries and letters written by slaves, free Creole residents, French aristocrats, and abolitionists who describe different political and social unarrest on the island of Saint Domingue. Students will trace their argument for the predominate causes through the use of debate and analytical essays. This unit is developed in correlation with Social Studies standards and content and can be co-taught with the seventh grade Social Studies teacher. Most importantly, this unit offers an opportunity for students and teachers to discuss the roles and responsibilities of a nation and an empire and whether or not the United States wanted to pursue an imperialistic nation for economic and naval gains.

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Full Unit Text
Content Objectives


France was an imperialist power.  France far surpassed England and Spain with their profitable colonies in the Caribbean.  In the 18th century, France had reign over a colony called St. Domingue, which is currently known today as Haiti.  This reign was an economic success for the country and its allies in trade, like the United States.  Ever since Christopher Columbus landed in the Americas in the 1490s, trade was revolutionized through the access of these Caribbean ports.  At this point, the United States was not an imperialist nation, but American merchants had a profitable trade with St. Domingue. The root analysis of this unit is the causes of the Haitian Revolution and how the revolution may have shifted America’s viewpoint on slavery, slave labor, and how America could be a dominate imperialistic nation.  Throughout this unit, students will analyze primary and secondary sources about the Haitian Revolution and key historical figures.

St. Domingue exported sugar and coffee.  African slaves who were forcibly brought to the Caribbean across the Atlantic Ocean (trans-Atlantic slave trade) worked the plantations and sugar mills.  Millions of enslaved Africans were forced into labor during the 18th century.  According to Roots of the Modern American Empire, by William Appleman Williams, St. Domingue produced “40 percent of Europe’s sugar and 60 percent of its coffee.”[i]  The amount of money France was earning due to the trade and horrific slave labor was enormous.  This profit clouded all morals, because slaves were seen as expendable and torture and terror were common everyday practices.  In addition, these plantations and industries were technologically advanced.  If slaves were running away or poisoning their masters, production did not take a serious hit.  Profits kept flowing and more slaves could easily be brought to the Caribbean.

In this unit, students will have to distinguish between the major causes of the Haitian Revolution in three subcategories: the working and living conditions for slaves on sugar and coffee plantations, the political and racial upheavals of free colored[ii] men versus white colonists, and the French Revolution.  Students will close read various primary and secondary sources about these three causes.  Many of the primary sources will come from David Geggus’ The Haitian Revolution: A Documented History.  Teachers will have to use their discretion with some of the primary sources, because they are graphic.  There are several complicated causes argued by many historians, but Geggus’ book provides several documents from different people who were slaves, political leaders, colonists, and visitors of Saint Domingue in the 1780s and 1790s.  Students will be able to evaluate and judge the impact of these historical events that lead to the Haitian Revolution.

This unit is intended for a seventh grade English or Social Studies class.  This unit contains cross-curricular standards and objectives for English and Social Studies.  An English teacher can work closely with the grade equivalent Social Studies teacher to divide the lessons.  The Social Studies teacher can teach content and specifics while the English teacher can teach literary analysis and writing strategies.  For the students’ writing portfolios, they will have to write an informative essay about one of three causes outlined within the unit.  Students will learn how to cite primary and secondary sources within their essay.  It is essential that teachers review with their classes how to avoid plagiarism.


The classroom is a setting for students to question and debate our nation’s past.  My students want change.  They want to change and improve the environment around them. They want better textbooks, lunches, and uniforms.  My students are advocates, and they want to learn about how other people in our history inspired change.  Henry C. Lea Elementary’s vision statement is “The Lea School community is dedicated to building a creative space where critical citizens are inspired and empowered to change the world.”  This means students need to learn about our nation’s past and the conflicts that arouse during the foundational stages of becoming a democracy.  Essential questions throughout the unit will reflect on slavery, violence, treason, economics, and ethics.  My students watch national news and they read current event articles, and they compare the actions of historical figures in today’s time period to those 200 years ago.  Sometimes, the actions of many historical figures today match the actions of generals, soldiers, and political leaders centuries ago.  Our students need to decipher between the primary causes of social unarrest and the effects of the decisions made by political leaders that cause social unarrest.

In the late eighteenth century, America was Saint Domingue’s biggest client.[iii] United States declared their independence 20 years prior to the French Revolution and the United Sates was struggling with their own economic and social problems with slave labor and plantation owners who wanted their own trade markets.  The United States heavily relied on Saint Domingue’s exports, but political leaders in the United States feared that paranoia of slave revolts would halt trade and cause revolts on southern plantations.  Jefferson response to the Haitian revolution was not celebratory or supportive.  Jefferson refused to recognize Haitian independence[iv], a policy to which U.S. Federalists also acquiesced and Haitians would have to wait until 1862 for the United States to recognize Haiti’s status as a sovereign, independent nation.  Jefferson supported slave labor and he needed votes from southern plantation owners.

Students have to critique leaders.  They have to be able to judge and evaluate the actions of the Founding Fathers and why they made certain decisions for their political party and for the people of the United States.  Students will compare and contrast the actions of political and social leaders in Saint Domingue and France between 1789-1791 to show that there are many parallels to the political and social climate of the United States.  Jefferson wanted slavery, he wanted the chaos of the French Revolution to stop infiltrating into the United States, and he wanted to win the election.  He feared the Haitian Revolution, because he didn’t want the slaves within the United States to rebel.  Some students will infer that so many political powers disagreed with Jefferson and therefore, the country was weak and prone to rebellion.

Lastly, the racial and political discrimination amongst free colored colonists and white colonists in Saint Domingue mirrors the racial divide in the United States currently.  I need to discuss with my students more topics surrounding race and politics.  We need to know why many people are experiencing the same racial prejudice 200 years later.  We need to develop decorum within our classroom that allows for intelligent and factual debate centered on issues of race and political access.  It is not enough for my students to watch the news, read the newspaper, or identify the central idea of a primary and secondary source if we cannot fully describe its impact humanitarian need.  There are several moments throughout the course of this unit that students will have to analyze the needs of a human and what does a human need from his or her neighbor, community, and government.

Historical Background

In 1625, France established a trade station on Saint Christopher’s Island.  It was the first Caribbean settlement.  Twenty years after Spain abandoned Saint Domingue, France colonized the island.  Saint Domingue was two peninsulas; the west province contains the capital city of Port-au-Prince.  Tobacco and cotton did not survive the climate.  After a year and a half of rotating crops, sugar cane thrived.  It was a very different crop to tobacco and cotton, because it required precise harvesting and factory-like tools.  France learned how to harvest and manufacture sugar can from the Portuguese and the Dutch.[v]

By the 1700s, sugar plantation owners were investing in top of the line machinery and facilities to manufacture and produce the best and addicting sugar.  Their plantations were innovative and efficient.  Plantation owners developed advance irrigation system and powered windmills.  Dry land wasn’t a problem, because every inch of land that could be cultivated was watered and fertilized.  By the eighteenth century, slaves made up approximately 90 percent of the population on both islands.[vi]  This means indentured servants were being replaced by slave labor, which allowed plantation owners to earn greater profits.  Surviving records show that Saint Domingue imported 685,000 Africans between 1700-1791.[vii]  Human life was indispensable.  Slaves died of torture, malnutrition, sickness, and being overworked.  It was the harshest and most cruel environment for slave labor due to the intense precision needed to harvest sugar cane.

Due to the enormous population of slaves compared to their white plantation owners and residents, violence against the slaves was a control tactics.  Slaves were whipped, raped, and tortured by plantation masters and sometimes by other slaves to maintain discipline and power over the slave labors.  Many female slaves bore children from their masters.  Some of those children were set free or worked the plantation as well.  Women and men shared the heaviest burden.  On a sugar plantation, gender did not determine the type of work given to a slave.

Working and living conditions for slaves on sugar and coffee plantations

Justin Girod de Chantrans observed the working conditions of slaves in the northern hemisphere of Saint Domingue.[viii]  There were 20 sugar plantations where he lived.  He could hear “the crack of whips striking both animals and slaves” in the background of the noise of the cane mills.  “On a large, well managed sugar plantation, the work never stops.”  By dawn, slaves are in the sugar cane fields until ten to eleven o’clock that night.  According to Girod, they have breakfast and lunch; the only two breaks within each day.  “Some believe you can squeeze four out of the work of slave and only give him half in return.”  This means the plantation owners see the lives of slaves as dispensable and meaningless.

Girod also wrote about the killing and torture of many slaves by the masters of the different plantations.  France had a decree that forbade the killing of slaves, however, there wasn’t judicial oversight or protections on the colony.  Many slave owners killed slaves without punishment or being sent to trail.  “The manager watched the workgrang without pity, and several slave drivers arms with long whips, missed among the workers, dealt out harsh blows from time to time even to those who were obliged by weariness to slow down-mean and women, young and old, without distinction.”  These oppressive and horrific working conditions did not prevent plantation workers to form communities amongst and preserved many elements of African culture.  Slaves were able to communicate and share information they learned from trading their personal surplus crops with educated Creoles especially about the French Revolution or the freeing of slaves by King Louis before Bastille’s fall.

Colonies are often made up of a complicated mix of social classes.  Saint Domingue is a perfect archetype.  It is the mixture and tensions of these social classes that played a major role in the slave revolts and the Haitian Revolution.  There were white plantation owners and their slaves.  There were mixed race children that were free and enslaved.  There were free people of color who had money and power because they were educated and valued.  There were French immigrants and island born whites.  There were poor white workers who hated the French monarchy and were jealous of the planters and merchants.  Every social class was different and had needs.  The slave revolution happened very quickly, because the slaves had help from other disgruntled social classes.  There were several political battles among whites and free colored men in Saint Domingue years prior to the first slave uprising in the north in August of 1791.[ix]

Letter des deputes de Saint Domingue a leurs commenttants

Julien Raimond was a free-colored activists who intercepted a letter written by Saint Domingue deputies about their fears and concerns regarding the new laws granted by the National Assembly on August 11, 1789.[x]  These laws abolished serfdom, forbidding bondage or servitude to land.  This letter was intended for their constituents in the colony and not for public view.  This letter shows the racial prejudice these deputies felt towards free colored people and slaves in Saint Domingue, when all along their were campaigning for unity and abolition.  “Let us not awaken the enemy, but do not be taken by surprise.”  This means the deputies were afraid that this new law would spark conversation and rebellion amongst the slaves in Saint Domingue.  This was also the law that was one of the major turning points in France’s history and a contributing factor to the French Revolution.

These deputies campaigned on views in favor of abolition and equality, but this letter is filled with paranoia and discriminatory views about freedom of slaves and the advancement of colored people in Saint Domingue.  “ARREST SUSPICIOUS PERSON.  SEIZE WRITINGS IN WHICH EVEN THE WORD FREEDOM APPEARS.”  This letter was clear indication for the free colored men and women and slaves that they were powerful and threatening.  In October of 1790, Vincent Oge leads brief free colored rebellion in the northern province of Saint Domingue, but was later executed a couple months later.  August of 1791, insurrections of slaves in the north and free coloreds in the west spiraled into other major slave rebellions and battles amongst white radicals and free coloreds.

The social and political unrest that occurred between various social classes set the precedent for the slave revolt in the northern province of Saint Domingue.  It also mirrored the same political and social unarrest that was happening in France.  France’s government was collapsing due to debt and unpopular views.  People wanted to follow a new ideology and abandon monarchs.  People were hungry and poor, and lost trust in King Louis XVI.  France was not able to harvest enough food to support its economy and the country fell into a depression.  The foundation was crumbling and all colonies were vulnerable to social and political turmoil.  A new revolutionary political movement, the National Assembly, published a statement that Saint Domingue was not part of France and was a “self-ruling province.”  Simplistically, France administration abandoned Saint Domingue.  Wealthy men of color and Parisian free people of color were able to stand up to white plantation owners and demand freeing the slaves.

Letters by Francois Barbe-Marbois, Chief Administrator to France from Saint Domingue

Francois Barbe Marbois was an influential political figure in France and in the United States.  In 1779, Marbois was made secretary of the French legation to the United States and later moved to Saint Domingue as a high ranking official working for the French government.  He is the man famously known for selling Thomas Jefferson the Louisiana Purchase.[xi]  While in Saint Domingue, Marbois wrote many letters to the French government about the impact the French Revolution had on the slaves.  In addition, masters thought more violence and torture would negate rebellion, when it fueled it even more.  “Yet everything that is done and written in the kingdom about freeing the slaves becomes more known in the colony in spite of the precautions we have taken.”[xii]  Marbois admits that the slave revolts are in response to the fall of the French government and the tortuous working conditions.  He pleads in the letters for some help or presence in stopping the slave revolts and wants more control and sanctions brought to the masters and owners of the sugar and coffee plantations.

Marbois addresses one major rumor that a decree by the Spanish government allows fugitive slaves from Saint Domingue to seek refuge in Santo Domingo, the eastern end of Hispaniola.  This is a major problem for France, because slaves who run away to Santo Domingo can become soldiers in a colonial war to reclaim this land for Spain.  Lastly, “there is so much contact between free people and slaves that it is impossible they don’t know about the efforts being made on their behalf.”  This is the most essential line from the letter, because it brutal portrays the racism and hysteria this man has against African Americans.  It depicts how rooted this belief of slavery and empire being harmonious.  It is almost inconceivable to think that this man really thought it was better for a slave to remain a slave than for a revolution to occur.  In his point of view, Marbois needed to maintain routine and order.  It is his responsibility as a white political official to put the country before the man.  If the sugar and coffee plantations are destroyed due to emancipation, and a colonial war erupts between France and Spain, none of it justifies the freeing of man, woman, or child.  “No officials in the kingdom find themselves in such a critical position as we do.  We are acting the presence of 450,000 slaves we are perhaps only waiting for the first sign of division among the whites to throw themselves into the most terrible uprising.”  This is the most important primary source you will read with your students in the unit.  It is important that students have time to really decipher and analyze what Marbois means and how he cannot comprehend the need and purpose for this revolution.  Some students might have a really strong reaction to Marbois letter.  The teacher should encourage them to discuss their reactions amongst a literature circle or a whole classroom debate.  This portrayal of “you versus them” is an essential theme is several pieces of literature and current event articles.



English-Language Arts: Informational Text Literacy in Social Studies
Key Ideas and Details Key Ideas and Details
1 Citing Textual Evidence Citing Textual Evidence
1 Analyzing What Text Says Explicitly Supporting Analysis of Primary and Secondary Sources
1 Making Inferences
2 Central Idea Central Idea
2 Summarizing Summarizing
3 Analyzing How a Key Individual, Event, or Idea is Introduced, Illustrated, and Elaborated Identifying the Key Steps in a Description of a Process Related to History/Social Studies


Students will be able to cite textual evidence in order to trace the development of the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Students will be able to infer about the conditions of the slave labor in order to analyze central idea.

Students will be able to infer and trace the development of the sugar cane plantations and machinery in order to analyze central idea.

Students will be able to cite textual evidence in order to analyze the cause and effects of the Haitian Revolution.

Students will be able to identify and describe social and political turmoil of the different social classes on Saint Domingue in order to analyze primary sources.

Students will be able to support analysis of the French Revolution and its impact of the slave revolts in order to develop a central idea.

Students will be able to analyze how a key individual, event, or idea is introduced, illustrated, and elaborated in order to write a five paragraph analytical essay.

Teaching Strategies

Material for this unit will vary between primary and secondary documents in Greggus’ The Haitian Revolution, Glencoe online sources for vocabulary, and Holt McDougal World History textbook for Grades 6-8. The hardest part will be to find course materials and readings of informational secondary texts for students on reading level. Most of the content we read in Professor Steve Hahn’s seminar, Roots of the American Empire, is written on a collegiate level. The challenge will be to find authentic and informative sources for students to analyze and evaluate.  There are several exceptional primary sources in Greggus’ book, but teachers have to use discretion due to graphic content.

As an English teacher for Middle Years ELA, I follow the Children’s Literacy Initiative Framework that was adopted by the School District of Philadelphia for teaching reading and writing in a middle school classroom.  This Literacy Framework is part of my formal observation by my principal that she completes twice a year and is based on the Danielson Framework for Effective Teaching Strategies.  This is my third year using this model for instruction and assessment in my classroom.

Shared Reading:  Whole Group Instruction

The teacher reads out loud and models close reading based on the objective and standard.  Sometimes, the students have the text in front of them and sometimes they do not, it depends on the length of the text.  Teachers model for students repeatedly through this shared reading approach.  I will model repeatedly a shared reading of primary and secondary sources.  I think it is important that we read Marbois’ letter[i] as a whole group and then students can choose certain sections for their analysis once they are in cooperative pairs.

Collaborative Reading: Whole Group Instruction

The teacher and students read out loud excerpts of the text and share their close reading interpretation and analysis about the text to the whole class.  Students are highlighting, making notes on the side, and can foster a debate.  The teacher is a facilitator and calls on students to read and share their interpretation.  Teacher might also ask clarifying questions and reiterates the objective and purpose of the lesson.  This is essential for vocabulary development and identifying context clues.  They are many domain specific words throughout historical documents that students will need to define for a deeper clarification of the meaning or tone of the text.  Teacher can preview text with students and pinpoint five to six key domain specific vocabulary words to define before reading the text.

Cooperative Pairs and Guided Reading: Small Group Instruction

Teachers assign students a cooperative pair based on reading level and skill ability.  For example, a teacher will pair a student with similar reading levels and comprehension abilities to work with each other on a text.  While students are working with their partners, a teacher can have a guided reading section with four to five students.  Again, this guided reading group is a combination of two cooperative pairs that need additional support with the main idea, vocabulary, or summarization.  A teacher presents a different mini lesson for each guided reading group based on the need.

Literature Circles and Socratic Method:

Four to five students gather in a circle and are assigned roles.  Roles can vary depending on the classroom environment but common roles include summarizer, discussion director, illustrator, and connector.  The summarizer reports out to the whole class the essential components of what they discussed depending on the objective and standard.  The discussion director keeps the group on tasks and will raise clarifying questions.  The illustrator will draw, model, or create an image based on the literature circle’s conversation and work.  The connector is a student who will reference another primary or secondary source that matches an essential theme or character.

Independent Assessment and Independent Reading: Individual Instruction

Once a week, students are assessed based on the objective and standard.  During this time, students are reading independently a text at their reading level.  Students respond to the content of the text and answer assessment questions that are developed based on the objective and standard.  Teachers should select texts that reflect the same theme or central idea being studied in the unit, but that is at the discretion of the teacher.

The Children’s Literacy Framework for writing follows the exact same format for writing.  A teacher will use a mentor text for a particular writing style and demonstrate the skill to the whole class first.  There is an emphasis on revising and editing with your cooperative pair and through a writing conference with your teacher.  Students are independently assessed with a final draft.

Teacher will have to create many visuals for the students about the Haitian Revolution.  One of the greatest strategies that we will use throughout the course is the art of dialogue and debate. Many of the students need more practice and time to present an argument. Many of our students do not do enough oral presentations to enhance their public speaking craft. This is a very important skill and strategy for a historian. I want my students to have the ability to speak comfortably and intelligently about a specific topic analyzed in class in front of a group of people or take part in a panel.

[i] ibid

Classroom Activities

Everyday, the students will write in their daily journal.  Each daily journal will reflect on the objective and content for that day’s lesson.  The introductory lessons for this unit will discuss the definition of empire.  When students start to read about and analyze the sugar and coffee plantations, they daily journals will reflect on the living and working conditions of the slaves.  Students will argue in their daily journals if the social divisions of Saint Domingue were too complicated for even the French political authorities to interpret.  In addition, students will be encouraged to use domain specific vocabulary from their text in their daily journals to enhance their word bank.

The daily journal is an effective means to assess whether or not the students are reflecting on the course material and making connections to the social and political problems during the eighteenth century.  Students must make connections to today’s social and political problems that stem from this time period.  I think students will be surprised that without the Haitian Revolution and the French Revolution, Jefferson would not have been able to buy the Louisiana Territory.

Each day, students will read excerpts from Roots of the Modern American Empire by Williams and The Haitian Revolution: A Documentary History by David Geggus.  Each excerpt will be matched by a visual: power point created by a teacher, anchor chart that reviews the literary skill of cause and effect or tracing an argument.  When Williams describes the overlap of the French Revolution and the Haitian Revolution, it is extremely complicated.  This is a great example of how a teacher can use this text and break down the author’s argument with use of a graphic organizer or written outline.  These two texts are complicated but offer an excellent analysis into the causes and effects of the Haitian Revolution and its impact on American Imperialism.  In addition, both texts have primary sources.  Students really engage in primary sources, because it is first person narrative and the voice is much more clear than an analytical essay.

The primary sources will lend students to a choice board assessment in a writer’s workshop.  Students can write their own letter in the viewpoint of Thomas Jefferson, Napoleon Bonaparte, Toussaint Louverte, King Louis XVI, or a sugar plantation owner.  Students will have to use domain specific words, cite textual evidence, paraphrase or summarize emotions or actions by the historical figure, and use proper tone and voice.

Writer’s workshops usually take two to three days for students to receive the assignment, brainstorm, write a rough draft, revise with a partner, met with teacher in a guided writing group or an individual writing conference, and have a published piece for writing portfolio.  Teacher must establish norms and procedures for a writing workshop that matches the standard and objective.

An extending activity for students for their writing portfolios is to have them analyze the role of revolution, emancipation, empire, or trade.  Revolution, emancipation, empire, and trade are central themes that are developed within the unit, however, students might be interested in evaluating the evolution or demise of these themes to today.  Is revolution different today compared to the eighteenth century?  Are some people still need or emancipation?  What is an American empire in business, public health, media, or education?  Some of the best writing pieces I receive from students is when they further their research based on a central theme or conflict presented within the unit.  The teacher can use an informative and or expository rubric.

Students are assigned cooperative pairs based on reading level, skill mastery, and writing ability.  Cooperative pairs are given different texts that meet their reading levels. is an excellent free online resource tool for teachers to help them with differentiation.  When searching key terms like “empire,” “slave trade,” “sugar cane,” and “Louisiana territory,” many different passages are available on different lexile levels.  Teachers can select which passages best suit their students and cooperative pair groups.

Students will review with the class and their cooperative pair different maps that show the Atlantic Slave Trade, the proximity of the Caribbean islands to the Americas, and the Louisiana Territory.  One of the best sources for these different maps is the Social Studies textbook.  Holt McDougal World History textbook for Grades 6-8 offers digital copies of various chapters online.  Teachers can print off the digit copy of chapter three entitled, “The Atlantic Slave Trade.”  This chapter has very informative maps and reinforces the central ideas expressed in Williams and Geggu’s books.

Lastly, students have to present an oral presentation about one of the central ideas of the Haitian Revolution.  This oral presentation can be in the form of a speech: informative, persuasive, debate, or storytelling.  Time and length of the presentation can be determined by the teacher.  Students will need to develop a thesis or persuasive statement, cite textual evidence that supports the thesis or persuasive statement, and make text-to-text, text-to-world, and text-to-self connections.  Some students will need to present in front of a panel instead of an entire class.  Oral presentations are necessary for students so they can develop presentation skills and fluency in commanding an audience.


Geggus, D. (2009). The world of the Haitian Revolution. Bloomington: Indiana University Press.

This is the core text for this unit.  Geggus is very concise and clear in his writing.  He often admits that they are contradictory viewpoints regarding the causes of the Haitian Revolution but he outlines each viewpoint with several primary sources from different people in Saint Domingue and France.  The book also contains a timeline of events that is helpful for teachers and students.  The map is not as well developed as the ones you will find in social studies textbooks or online, but it is useful for the reader.

Beginnings of Slave Trade. (2007). Jesus Garcia and Donna M. Ogle. Creating America. (pp. 76-81). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Students will read this selection with their cooperative pairs.  It offers background knowledge about the Atlantic Slave Trade and how it changed production and exportation for the Caribbean islands.  The maps and illustrations are detailed, and if the teacher has the CD for this textbook, he or she can play the virtual tour of the Atlantic Slave Trade.

Louisiana Purchase. (n.d.). Retrieved June 17, 2015, from

Teachers will have to decide whether or not they can further study with their students the effects of the Haitian Revolution.  Many historians argue that without the Haitian Revolution, Jefferson would never have been offered the Louisiana Purchase.  They is an extended time period between the Haitian Revolution and the sale of the Louisiana Purchase which means teachers will have to choose whether or not to explore this topic with their students.

Establishing Independence. (2005). In N. Siddens (Ed.), World Cultures and Geography (pp. 203-214). Evanston: McDougal Littell.

Students will read this selection with their cooperative pairs or as independent reading assignment.  Students should read cross curricular topics within their English classes because it connects central ideas and student can formally student a specific content.

Williams, W. (1969). The roots of the modern American empire; a study of the growth and shaping of social consciousness in a marketplace society. New York: Random House.

[i] Williams, W. (1969) The roots of the American empire.

[ii]Geggus, D. (2014). The Haitian Revolution: A documentary history.

[iii] ibid

[iv] (accessed June 1, 2015)

[v] (accessed August 20, 2015)

[vi] Williams, loc. cited

[vii] ibid

[viii] Justin Girod de Chantrans, Voyage d’un Suisse dans differentes colonies d’Amerique, Paris, 1785, letters V and IV.

[ix] Geggus, loc. cited

[x] Lettre des deputes de Saint Domingue a leurs commenttants, Correspondance de Julien Raimond avec ses feres de Saint Domingue, Paris, 1793, 7-10.

[xi] (accessed August 2, 2015)

[xii] Archives Nationales d’Outre-Mer, Aix-enProvence, C9A, de Peiner and Marbois to La Luzerne


Content Standards

The Common Core Curriculum of the School District of Philadelphia is aligned to the PAS for English Language Arts. These standards include instruction on the following topics: primary and secondary sources, critical thinking, drawing conclusions, citing textual evidence to support an argument, compare and contrast, and determining how an author’s point of view affects the main idea of a text.

CC.8.5.6-8.D.Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.

CC.1.2.7.A: Determine two or more central ideas in a text and analyze their development over the course of the text; provide an objective summary of the text.

CC.1.2.7.B: Cite several pieces of textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences, conclusions, and/or generalizations.


Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.


Introduce a topic clearly, previewing what is to follow; organize ideas, concepts, and information, using strategies such as definition, classification, comparison/contrast, and cause and effect