The Haitian Revolution and Governor General Toussaint Louverture: A Biography

Author: Keysiah M. Middleton

School/Organization:

John Bartram High School

Year: 2016

Seminar: Biography as History, or, Perhaps, History as Biography

Grade Level: 9-12

Keywords: High School, social studies

School Subject(s): Social Studies, History, Political Science, African American History, American History, Global History

The Haitian Revolution and Governor General Toussaint Louverture: A Biography curriculum unit lays a basic foundation of what happened on the island of Saint Domingue from 1789 to 1804 and some of the characters involved. This supplemental interdisciplinary unit provides a detailed account of the events leading up to the Haitian Revolution. The unit will expose students to not only the Haitian Revolution and Governor General Toussaint Louverture, but also to the unknown and nameless characters, who by their willingness, cooperation and deeds of strength and power helped to make such a historical event possible. The story of the Haitian Revolution and Governor General Toussaint Louverture depicting Africans rising up and breaking their chains to become victorious, provides a historical account that offers an important balance of information for students. The unit also seeks to provide the missing pieces from history and Social Studies textbooks. Students will discuss slavery from a different angle to build critical thinking skills via dialogue and the use of a variety of stimulating primary sources to develop a broader perspective of the process of achievement using the blueprint of the Haitian Revolution and the narrative of Governor General Toussaint Louverture. The unit will engage students to think like a historian, cultivate teamwork and build critical thinking skills through the implementation of structured lesson plans, the use multiple intelligences and primary sources to understand the intricate, and sometimes complicated, workings of the Haitian Revolution, the leadership of Governor General Toussaint Louverture and the agency of the enslaved Africans. Lessons in the unit will encourage the use additional skills such as distinguishing fact from opinion, making inferences and drawing conclusions, identifying a point of view, comparing and contrasting, ascertaining cause and effect, recognizing a problem and creating a resolution, summarizing main ideas and details as well as determining an author’s purpose to name a few. The enhancement of these skills will increase vocabulary development, the ability to identify text structures, literature comprehension, and writing proficiencies.

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Full Unit Text
Rationale

The American Revolution, French Revolution, and Why Not the Haitian Revolution?

“Three revolutions reshaped western political thinking at the end of the eighteenth century,”[1] the American, French and Haitian Revolutions. The French Revolution and the American Revolution are the two revolutions widely known in biographical and historiographical memories, while the Haitian Revolution is situated slightly in the imagination and wonderment of many people. How do we commit certain worldly events and the powerful figures attached to these events to our historical memories and not others of greater or equal magnitude? William Edward Burghardt Dubois was one of the first scholars to acknowledge “that the role which the great Negro Toussaint called L’Ouverture, played in the history of the United States has seldom been fully appreciated.” [2]  The narrative of the Haitian Revolution and Governor General Francois Dominque Toussaint Louverture as well as the founding fathers of Haiti are deliberate omissions from American history. “Neither Toussaint’s astounding career nor the successful struggle for Haitian independence figures very prominently in standard history textbooks.[3] These stories are deliberately omitted because they seem to never find their way into the history textbooks alongside the stories of the American Revolution and French Revolution or that of President George Washington or First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte. This seems odd since each of these revolutions espoused virtually the same revolutionary ideas. A slight variant in difference may be

based on the fact that the Americans were…political reformers and not social revolutionaries. Their objective was to organize and perpetuate the political liberty that their history and successful rebellion had already granted them. For the French reformers in 1789…..the issue was not just one of political organization; they realized that they were engaged from the beginning in a social as well as a political revolution.[4]

The American Revolution occurring from 1765 to 1783, preceded the French Revolution which occurred from 1789 to 1799, by only some years while engaging more than 500 San Dominguan gens de couleurs libres that fought unsuccessfully in the American Revolution at the Second Battle of Savannah in 1779. The Haitian Revolution, which occurred from 1791 to 1804, is a direct result of and occurs simultaneously with the French Revolution. Subsequently, it was both the American Revolution and the French Revolution that actually gave life to the Haitian Revolution. At best, history is a story about power, a story about those who won.[5] The power that rest in the story of the Haitian Revolution is invaluable to twenty-first century youth, in particularly, the psyche, intellectual development, and self-worth of students of color all around the world.

Students of color, without fail, are fed an assortment of negative images and narratives of specific portions of history that are meant to represent who they are as human beings. This directly negatively impacts their mental intellect, social behaviors, personal attire and public appearance. At present, history tends to reveal story after story of American slavery. More recently, youth are being exposed to television shows such as the Underground, The Book of Negroes, a remake of Alex Haley’s Roots, and a different spin on The Birth of a Nation, to name a few, that all tell some version of struggle and slavery. Despite African Americans being manumitted from capture, forced bondage and free labor a little over 153 years (and if you are from Texas, 151 years), with the exception of the PBS documentary, “Egalite For All: Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian Revolution, there are no twenty-first century mainstream shows, films or plays portraying the great achievement of the Haitian Revolution and the Africans involved. Just like the Holocaust, the story of American slavery must never be forgotten. At the same time, there must be some sort of balance of tragedy and struggle with triumph and victory. The story of the Haitian Revolution and the Governor General depicting Africans rising up and breaking their chains to become victorious, provides a historical account that offers this important balance for students.

Why the Narrative of the Haitian Revolution is So Important

The aim for this curriculum unit, The Haitian Revolution and Governor General Toussaint Louverture: A Biography, is to provide an accurately detailed account of the events leading up to the revolution. Many students do not understand the importance of keeping certain narratives of history alive. During moments of classroom dialogue and discussion, students have expressed their utter contempt at being taught the topic of slavery. Common complaints range from “I am so tired of being taught slavery,” “my people were not slaves, so why do I need to learn this stuff,” “why do we always start with slavery when we learn about black people” or the most popular complaint of all, “slavery happened 500 years ago, so why is this still being taught?” While these students may have valid complaints, their dismay challenges how the subject of slavery in America has been conveyed to them through the various sources of communication mediums and print media. This historical imbalance of the telling of history is resulting in many students being ashamed of their history, who they are, and a show of little or no interest in keeping this history alive.

One more issue facing many of our students of color is their view of their own self-worth. Some of them display and verbalize a sense of hopelessness, not having a voice in dominant matters, a feeling of exclusion, and neglect. This, too, is an immediate result of that negative narrative of who they are that is constantly being played to them from the media, public, their school, and, possibly, personal environments. Filling in this lacuna of history that our textbooks so carefully misses is one way to supplement the narrative. The goal not being to change the history, but to add to the story already told to create that balance. The story of the Haitian Revolution and the Governor General is a blueprint that educators can apply in the classroom to offer students a perspective of both the struggle and the success. This can guide students to see that they are pregnant with possibilities and not simply filled with hopelessness and despair. Thus, the goal is to have students discuss slavery, but from a different angle to build critical thinking skills via dialogue and the use of a variety of thought-provoking primary sources that they may develop a broader perspective of the process of achievement based on the narrative of the Haitian Revolution and the biography of Governor General Toussaint Louverture.

The revolt that resulted in the Haitian Revolution started as a series of small revolutions on the island of Saint-Domingue with its aftermath extending to her mother country, France and throughout the Americas. The Revolution was spurred, first, by the American Revolution and then, the French Revolution. Ideas of independence and freedom may have been planted as early as 1779 when Saint-Domingue sent over more than five hundred gens de couleurs libres to assist Union soldiers in the Second Battle of Savannah (also the Seige of Savannah) where they unsuccessfully fought British troops. These same ideas may have been solidified during the French Revolution in 1789 when Frances’ national motto of “Liberte, egalite, fraternite” could be heard among all throughout France as well as her colonial empire. The various racial and socioeconomic groups that inhabited late eighteenth and early nineteenth century Saint-Domingue created a terrible sense of hatred, jealousy, and envy and complicated the causes and intentions of each group involved in the Big Revolution. The island was home to a myriad of residents. By 1789, royal officials report the white population at 30,800.[6] This group, which technically, can be said to have made up the first two tiers of the residents, was made up of the grands blancs and the petits blancs.

It was the enslaved Africans who actually “coined the term petit blancs – little whites – to refer to those who did not own land, contrasting them to the grand blancs (big whites), also called Blancs blancs, or “White whites,” whose ownership of property made them true whites. The vocabulary of the slaves was eventually adopted by everyone on the island, and in turn helped to ‘aggravate the tensions between whites.’[7]

The grands blancs tended to be the very wealthy plantation owners and planters who had been born in France. They basically comprised the absentee planter population that returned to live off their plantation profits in France leaving a plantation manager and/or accountant to handle their affairs on the island. The petits blancs were the whites who were primarily born in Saint-Domingue (referred to as Creoles) who tended to be the plantation managers, artisans, professionals, and shopkeepers. The gens de couleur libres made up the third tier of Saint-Domingue’s population. This group were the free people of color not only of mixed-race ancestry, but also those of pure African descent. This group is referred to by several terms sometimes making it difficult to distinguish who is who. They are also referred to as affranchis (freemen), ancien libres (those freed prior to the Revolution) and nouveau libres (those newly freed by the Revolution). The mixed-race population were not only incredibly wealthy, but also more educated having being sent to Paris to study by their rich fathers. As descendants of these wealthy Frenchmen, the gens de couleur libres were heirs to plantations and enslaved Africans. Popkin tells us that “by the last decades of the eighteenth century, Saint-Domingue had become home to the largest and most influential free population of color in the Caribbean islands. The 28,000 members of this group were scattered throughout the colony.”[8] The fourth and final tier of the island’s residents was made up of those individuals who had been greatly ignored, taken advantage of, degraded, and mistreated by both the free people of color and the whites: the captured and enslaved Africans. “By 1789, the population of African slaves was estimated at 500,000 or more. The slaves of Saint Domingue outnumbered the white master class by at least twelve to one, and they outnumbered the combined white and colored population by at least seven to one.”[9]

Adding to this backdrop was the economic value of Saint Domingue’s system of slavocracy based on its profitable system of plantocracy. “Two centuries ago…..Haiti, then known as Saint Domingue, was a sugar powerhouse that stood at the center of world trading networks. The eastern portion of Hispaniola, had become the Americas’ strongest export economy: It produced more sugar and coffee than anywhere else, as well as cotton, cacao, and indigo. Thanks to the labor of their slaves, Saint Domingue’s whites could legitimately boast that the colony was the motor of France’s economy and the most valuable of the country’s provinces.”[10] While intermingling and coexisting on the island, each of these groups hated the other so passionately that it would destroy the economic, social, political, and cultural stratification system that once made Saint-Domingue “The Jewel of the Antilles.”[11]

Tensions Leading to Civil Unrest in Saint Domingue

Historians have debated the many reasons for both the causes of and each group’s reasons for becoming involved in the Haitian Revolution. Although, history has proven that revolutions typically are ignited with a show of arms, it may be possible, based on the dynamics of the multifaceted characteristic of the island, for all of the causes and reasons to have occurred simultaneously. The whites, both the grands blancs and the petits blancs’ small revolution of arguing against the metropole’s trading policies and practices and their seeking political autonomy as a colony from the motherland is what many historians credit as the initial spark that lit the flames that caused the big Revolution. They claim that what started as a small rebellion actually began with their “desire for self-government and free trade among its self-confident but indebted planter class.”[12] Race is what unified the grands blancs and petits blancs. However, that is where the alliance among the two groups ended. “The tiny white community was united by racial solidarity but also divided to an unusual degree along class lines.”[13] The petits blancs who were “at the bottom of the white social order” and made up the “large population of urban laborers, soldiers, seamen, small traders, draymen, craftsmen, idlers, and criminals”[14] despised the more successful grands blancs. Furthermore, the landless and propertyless petits blancs were highly disrespected and looked down upon by the grands blancs.

To further deepen division among this small populace of whites, was the petits blancs’ demand for representation in the Colonial Assembly and the right to vote in the colony.  The grands blancs argued against both of their request. The Pompons Blancs (White Topknots) who tended to be the grands blancs and Pompons Rouges (Red Topknots) who were comprised of the petits blancs constantly disagreed “over their responsibility toward or allegiance to Paris” as well as “over who would control the new provincial government.”[15] “A pompon blanc faction looked to the king as its best protection against the excesses of the metropolitan revolutionaries, while a rival pompon rouge group adopted revolutionary rhetoric and denounced the remaining royal officials in the island.”[16] Intensifying the animosities among the varied groups of the island was also the petits blancs incessant envy of the affluence and education of the mixed-race community and their tremendous hatred for the enslaved Africans who quietly observed this environment of political chaos.

Adding to the political chaos on the island was the grands blancs’ argument for a greater share in the economic component of the French Empire. The grands blancs and major merchants desired freedom from the Exclusif, France’s mercantilist regime that created a trade monopoly to keep profits made from the sale of Africans and plantation cash crop profits from the colonies within the French Empire. The Exclusif required that all of the slave-produced plantation commodities in her French colonies be shipped to France in French vessels to be sold by French merchants. In return, the Exclusif would supply the colony with stolen Africans from the French ports they had established along the coast of West and Central Africa. [17] This created a problem with trade between the Exclusif and the planter and mercantile class of Saint-Domingue because they were required to trade only with French ships. “The men who had accumulated so much wealth chafed at being ruled by military governors and civil intendants appointed by ministries on the other side of the Atlantic.”[18] They disputed that, as a result of this, they were never paid the fair market value for their slave-produced plantation commodities and that the Republic failed to adequately supply them with what they actually needed on the island. They argued for years with the French Republic for the opportunity to trade freely with the booming foreign market.[19]

However, even with these rising tensions among the island’s white population and the French Republic abroad, what the two groups did come together on was the disenfranchisement of the mixed-race inhabitants on the issues of equality and citizenship as well as the treatment and complete control over the enslaved Africans. The colonists resented the metropole’s interference with political and economic affairs on the island, so King Louis XIV’s 1685 edict detailing the Code Noir, the island’s outline on how to manage the enslaved Africans and the gens de couleur libres, was disregarded. Again “in 1790, what became known as the ‘decree of March 8’ actually did extend the vote to free colored men, but in sufficiently ambiguous terms that the white government in Saint Domingue felt comfortable ignoring it.”[20] Despite these clearly written laws, the whites of Saint-Domingue had violated the Code and the decree time and time again. It is highly probable that this was the spark that lit the flames that led to French citizenship first and independence second for all those of African descent on all French colonies.

The free people of color, hearing the language of the French Revolution, challenged the Republic’s claim of “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite” by sending representatives to the National Assembly in France to demand from the colonists equal treatment for all gens de couleur. “Though most were not opposed to slavery, their attack on racism opened the way for the slave revolt that became the Haitian Revolution.”[21] When their attempts were unsuccessful, Vincent Oge, a gens de couleur libres, “one of the wealthiest men of color in Saint-Domingue, dealing in sugar, coffee, and real estate with French and colonial merchants alike,”[22] returned to the island from France, gathered over 300 other homme de couleur in an armed uprising in Dondon, a parish of the Northern Province and demanded equal treatment from the colonist. In October of 1790, Oge would become a martyr for the Big Revolution that was to come. He was returned to Saint-Domingue by the Spanish whom he escaped to for refuge where he was later tortured, and killed by the white Saint-Domingue colonists. The heinous death of Oge prompted an immediate reaction from the National Assembly administrators who finally passed the decree of May 15, 1791 granting equal rights to gens de couleurs who had two free parents, were twenty-five years of age and, owned property. This infuriated the white Saint-Dominguans, petit and grand blancs alike.

The Big Revolution Begins

While the gens de couleur and colonists continued to be at one another’s throats, a later reaction would come from the enslaved Africans. They met in an isolated area in the woods of the Northern Province, three months later, on the night of August 14, 1791 in a gathering that would later be called the Bois Caiman, a Vodun, ceremony to announce their impending Revolution. The white community had been “oblivious to the fact that discussing the benefits of liberty and equality when surrounded by half a million people of color who outnumbered them”[12] was dangerous because “for the past three years they had witnessed the events, the agitation, the revolutionary and counterrevolutionary ferment that was throwing the colony into disarray,” and had been organizing their own revolt. According to Carolyn E. Fick, the meeting that occurred at

the Morne-Rouge gathering was a thoroughly organized affair and constituted in every sense a revolutionary political assembly, where issues were discussed, points of view and differing strategies presented, where a final agreement was reached, and a call to arms issued. That agreement was then confirmed and solemnized during the ritual ceremony at Bois-Caiman by a blood pact….that committed the participants to utmost secrecy, solidarity, and a vow of revenge.[24]

“The August 1791 uprising was among other things the first engagement in a three-way genocidal race war in which each of Saint Domingue’s three races – the white, the black, and the gens de couleur – would do its absolute worst to exterminate the other two.”[25] With a few minor mishaps along the way, eight days later, on August 22, this Vodun ceremony would set the stage for what would become the Haitian Revolution. The almost thirteen years of fighting occurred in three phases.

The first two years (1789-1791), before the slaves became involved, and the last two years (1802-1803), the War of Independence, form distinct units separated by a long middle section. This middle period (1791-1801) can be similarly subdivided, with the abolition of slavery (1793) and the expulsion of foreign invaders (1798) serving as major turning points.[26]

The revolt is said to have started in the Northern Province in Acul at ten o’clock in the evening where plantations were torched, whites killed or taken hostage, and enslaved Africans seized the opportunity to desert the plantation to join the revolt. This went on throughout the night and into morning where by six o’clock, the rebels headed to Limbe. After sacking Limbe, the rebels went further west attacking Port-Margot. The entire area from Acul to Port-Margot and anything in between had been set on fire. It seems that the signal of the revolt had been fire, for Fick writes that dispatched Governor Blanchelande had reported that “we have successively discovered and continue daily to discover plots that prove that the revolt is combined between the slaves of the city and those of the plains; we have therefore established permanent surveillance to prevent the first sign of fire here in the city which would soon develop into a general conflagration.”[27]

The revolution spread quickly and as the rebels marched on, their numbers began to swell. Anything associated with the labor system of Saint Domingue slavocracy was destroyed. It was not until the rebels had made their way back into the interior, headed south to Plaisance, that they were finally met with some resistance, three days later. In a month, the formerly enslaved Africans had destroyed close to 1,400 plantations that included 172 sugar, 1,185 coffee, and 34 indigo [28].  “Free people of color from the parishes of Oge and Chavannes certainly did join the slave rebels when the northern mountains were overrun, but this they had little option. Elsewhere in the north, men of color fought against the slaves until they learned that the May 15, 1791 decree had been withdrawn” by the National Assembly’s September 24, 1791 decree. This had been a grave error because fighting between the whites and gens de couleur libres had somewhat subsided. This decision would instigate a new wave of fighting among them in the Southern and Western Provinces of the island. Realizing their error and fear of completely losing their most profitable island, the National Assembly reinstated the decree with the April 4, 1792 decree which finally granted full citizenship to the gens de couleur libres in hopes of gaining their support to counterattack the rebels, Spanish and British soldiers. The small revolutions that occurred simultaneously in the Northern, Southern and Western Provinces created the Big Revolution. This “new type of slave revolt”[29] would continue for almost thirteen more years.

Who is Toussaint Louverture?

There is a widespread discrepancy regarding when Governor General Toussaint Louverture actually entered the Revolution. It is also widely known that the organization of the Revolution was done primarily by, who historians have labeled, the “slave elite” of the enslaved African masses. These individuals were predominately the coachmen, drivers, and house servants. The “slave elite” had greater contact and established closer bonds with the white colonists and were privy to information that the enslaved Africans labouring in the sugar cane or coffee fields may not have had the same access to. Toussaint had been a coachman for Bayon de Libertat on the Breda Plantation during both his time in bondage and when manumitted. He had been praised as a leader among the African masses as well as his slaveholders. “Toussaint was thus permitted to circulate freely and to frequent other plantations.”[30] For this reason, it is highly probable that he was aware of and played a minor role in the Bois Caiman ceremony as well as the beginning stages of the Revolution. He had likely done so under the more dominant leadership of Boukman Dutty, Jeannot Bullet, Jean-Francois, and Georges Biassou. These men were “the early leaders forming the core of this movement.” Toussaint would emerge as a dominant figure in the years to come as the events of the Revolution gradually played out. It is argued that because of his high level of intelligence, skillfulness, charisma, shrewdness, and cunning temperament, he may have been quietly weighing his options to determine if entering the Revolution was a viable option. Or he may have been patiently observing, from the position of a subordinate, the leadership skills of the more dominant leaders to determine when he could enter as a dominant figure himself.

The man the world knows today as the great Toussaint Louverture was born in the Northern Plain of Saint Domingue close to Cap Francais. African oral tradition tells us that he was the grandson of chief, Gaou Guinou, who was born of the Arada nation somewhere in the Gulf of Guinea in West Africa. Not much was expected from Toussaint since he had been born a weak and frail boy and had not been expected to live long. “He owed his early nickname, Fatras-Baton (Throwaway-Stick), to this childhood frailty.”[31] Musical genius, Robert Nesta Marley of Bob Marley and the Wailers admonishes us, even today, “the stone that the builder refused, will always be the head cornerstone.”[32] It would be Fatras-Baton who would become Governor General Toussaint Louverture, the head cornerstone of the Haitian Revolution. Due to his sickly state, Toussaint would be assigned to the care of the Breda Plantation’s livestock. He would become a talented and famous horseman and Bayon de Libertat’s coachman.

Bell also reveals that Toussaint had been educated by his godfather, Pierre Baptiste, a free black man, who himself may had been educated by a Jesuit priest that came to the island as a missionary. Under Godfather Pierre, Toussaint would be schooled in Geometry, French, and Latin. Based on his memoirs, we can surmise that Toussaint read the works of Epictetus, Machiavelli, and Abbe Raynal, possibly learning the art of war and military strategy. Toussaint married Suzanne Simon Baptiste when he was a little over forty years of age. Suzanne already had a newborn son, Placide. She and Toussaint would have two sons, Isaac and Saint-Jean. Toussaint was said to have acquired the skill of veterinary medicine. This is not surprising since his first title among the rebels was “Medicin General.”[33] His father who had learned, back home in West Africa, the technique of using herbs and plants to cure illnesses, had passed down his knowledge of this skill to his son. This would become a very useful skill of Toussaint’s while working as a subordinate in the rebel military camps. “He made immediate use of his knowledge of herbs and medicines by taking over the tending of the wounded and the sick.”[34]

The details of how, when, and why Toussaint entered the Haitian Revolution may be debated until the end of time. However, what has been widely circulated are his actions on his former plantation before he entered the rebel military camps. Toussaint had been so dearly trusted by his slaveholder, that he had been frequently left in charge of the Breda Plantation when Bayon de Libertas was off doing business. When the fighting started on the island, Bayon de Libertas who was in Le Cap on business, made his way back home to check on his family only to leave again to get to “the coast to try and get passage on one of the schooners to the United States of America, again leaving his wife and children with Toussaint.” Parkinson details that Toussaint would secure the safety of Madame de Libertas and her two daughters. He had his brother, Paul, escort them to safety in Cap Francais where they would obtain passage to Baltimore, Maryland. He also packed up his own family and had Godfather Pierre take them to San Raphael where they would find asylum near the Spanish border.[35]

It seems this may have been when he decided to enter the rebel military camps, about two months after the Revolution had begun. A letter from Toussaint to rebel leader, Biassou confirms that he was in communication as early as October 15, 1791 regarding a planned attack on Cap Francais. When Toussaint entered the rebel camp, it “had been divided into three commands under Jean Francois, who was ‘Grand Admiral and Commander in Chief’, Biassou, who called himself, ‘Generalissimo of the Conquered Territories’, and Jeannot, who had chosen the title ‘Grand Judge’. Toussaint on his arrival was made ‘Chief Physician to the Army.’[36] By the 12th of December, Toussaint along with the other rebel leaders would make themselves known to the Civil Commissioners in an attempt at negotiations.

The Spanish and the Revolution

While serving as Jean-Francois and Biassou’s underling during the beginning stages of the Revolution, Toussaint had been watching with a close eye, listening with a careful ear and waiting for the very moment to emerge. Between 1791 and 1792, he worked with the rebel leaders and soldiers. Since the fall of 1791, Toussaint had been in the mountains with the revolting slaves…fighting a guerrilla war against the French for nearly two years.”[37] Toussaint had sided with the neighboring Spanish because slavery had continued to exist in Saint Domingue. C.L.R. James writes that,

in June of 1793, when the Spaniards in San Domingo offered the blacks an alliance against the French Government, naturally they accepted. Here were white men offering them guns and ammunition and supplies, recognising them as soldiers, treating them as equals and asking them to shoot other whites. All trooped over to join the Spanish forces and Jean Francois and Biassou were appointed lieutenants-general of the armies of the King of Spain. Toussaint went also, but he made his terms with the Spaniards as an independent leader and not as a subordinate to Biassou.[38]

Toussaint Makes Himself Known

Despite Toussaint’s declaration that he would fight for the French Republic in the name of liberty and equality in his proclamation of August 29, 1793, he would also, reluctantly, align himself to the Spanish to fight with their tropas auxiliares. Toussaint began to doubt the intensions of the Spanish and began making plans to return to the French Republic. The circumstances surrounding his departure from his former allies are detailed by Geggus who explains that by “taking only the most serious of the secondary works, we find that Toussaint’s decisive break with Spain has been associated with four different events, given four different locales, and assigned four different dates”[39] which when combined, places his departure in the spring, somewhere between April and June of 1794.

This is seen as the turning point of the Revolution because it is believed to have coincided with Sonthonax’s issuance of the August 29, 1793 emancipation proclamation, which he tried to use as a military war measure to bring soldiers to his side. “From early April Toussaint was seeking alliance with France.”[40] He had become disillusioned with Biassou, who had been stealing his military supplies and selling women and children into slavery to the Spanish and Jean-Francois, who constantly sought to undermine him as well as the Spaniards, who he realized were not going to abolish slavery in Santo Domingo. General Louverture would write to interim Governor General Etienne Laveaux on May 18, 1794 explaining his error in choosing to side with the Spanish under the false pretense of their “offer of freedom, land, and privileges for slave soldiers and their families,”[41] indirectly asking him for his allegiance, and detailing the military resources at his disposal. Laveaux would respond in kind two months later.

“The timing of his alliance with the French seems determined not by any momentous news arriving from France but by a simple letter arriving from Laveaux accepting his allegiance.”[42] The French government would, in fact, ratify Civil Commissioner Leger Felicite Sonthonax’s emancipation proclamation on February 4, 1794 abolishing slavery not only in Saint Domingue, but across its entire French empire. Although, General Louverture would not defect right away, “in ratifying the emancipation proclaimed by Sonthonax and Polverel, the French government had won his loyalty.” Toussaint “suddenly went on the offensive against the Spanish.”[43] Nevertheless, with Toussaint’s 1794 volte-face from the Spanish to the French, the Spanish found him and his troops a force to be reckoned with. “By the spring of 1795, both Prussia and Spain had withdrawn from the war, and moreover Spain had ceded its half of Hispaniola to the French through the Treaty of Basel.”[44] Toussaint and his ragtag rebel soldiers who had once fought with the Spanish, had now evicted them from Saint Domingue.

Toussaint: The Strategist

Toussaint and the unknown masses that made up his African army owe much of their success to the strategies they incorporated in their military battles against their many powerful European opponents. Historians Carolyn E. Fick, Laurent Dubois and Madison Smartt Bell provided me with a more material conception of Toussaint Louverture’s military strategies. First and foremost, the Governor General had an extensive General toolkit which he thoroughly made use of throughout his military career. Toussaint made allies of every sort on the island. He welcomed anyone he believed had the Revolution’s best interest. “Louverture was a brilliant political and military leader who, over the course of his career, gathered around him individuals from all walks of life, from white planters and officers to creole and African-born slaves.”[45] Secondly, he would use the tactic of divide and conquer to achieve small successes. “Toussaint would become notorious for secretly instigating violent popular uprisings which only his authority could subdue and “for his rapid movement: no one could ever be certain just where he was, and often he seemed to be in several different places at the same time.”[46] Thirdly, to remain in contact with both the French national and colonial powers, as well as all military personnel, he kept his secretaries working constantly, he never stopped thinking.” Fourthly, “despite the hardships he faced, over time Louverture created a daunting and disciplined fighting force.”[47]

One of the Governor General’s enemies, turned ally was General Etienne Laveaux had at one time encouraged him to break away from the rebels and train his own army. This officer would also lend his support to the revolutionary cause. In September 1795, Louverture’s troops found a manual written by the British to help train the troops of French whites fighting with them. He sent it to Laveaux for inspection, but asked that he return it so that he could use it for the ‘instruction of my troops.’[48] He used everything and everyone at his disposal. “A few French regular army soldiers, unhappy with the revolutionary trends in their barracks, had drifted into Toussaint’s region, and he used them to train his black soldiers in European military discipline and in the European style of war.”[49] In fact, Laveaux would bestow upon him his first titular distinction after Toussaint’s military acumen had been bestowed upon him. Historian Gordon S. Brown explains that

Joseph Villate, the leader of the mulattoes in Cap Francois, had come to feel that his supporters’ position was threatened by the growing accord between Toussiant and Laveaux. In March of 1796, he and his followers rose to arms and arrested General Laveaux. The crisis blew over as quickly as it had arisen, thanks to the forceful action of Toussaint, who issued an ultimatum. Either Laveaux would be released, he threatened, or the black armies would be unleashed once again upon the city. Villate’s rebellion rapidly collapsed. A grateful General Laveaux returned to his office a free man, and soon after formalized what was already evident: he appointed Toussaint lieutenant governor of the island.[50]

A title he would live up to many times over in his defeat of both his foreign and local opponents. “The French government promoted him to division general in the summer, and in May 1797 Sonthonax named him commander-in-chief of the colonial army.”[51] Lastly and most importantly was Toussaint’s army’s implementation of the West African style of battle: guerrilla warfare. Consequently, these methods were unknown to European trained soldiers, so the African warriors had been labeled cowards. The African warriors have been said to have lay and wait concealing themselves in thickets and underbrushes before ambushing the opponent only to quickly retreat once they have accomplished their goal. Bell describes the views of a European military combatant who complained that ‘we are dealing with an enemy, who instead of making a concerted attack on the colors, was disposed in small groups that they were able to surround or wipe out isolated or small detachments. It was a new type of warfare, more dangerous because it was unknown.’[52] He goes on to explain that these African military techniques would become an overwhelming source of contention for them because they were

Unknown at least to European soldiery, who in the eighteenth century had a confirmed habit of confronting each other on open ground in tightly composed squares. The guerilla tactics so bewildering to the French troops were common in African wars of the period….well adapted to Haiti’s mountainous jungle terrain.[53]

The British and the Revolution

Now with the Spanish at bay, there was still the British and later the French to contend with. These same guerilla warfare tactics would be used for the remainder of the war to defeat both. However, getting England off the island would prove a more lengthy process than it had been with the Spanish. After many battles with the African rebels, the British, under the leadership of General Thomas Maitland, had decided that the cost to remain on the island was not worth the expense and soon began making plans to evacuate their troops beginning in May of 1798. To seal this deal ensuring that the British would peacefully leave the island, “Toussaint and Maitland signed a secret agreement at Point Bourgeoisie on August 31: a nonaggression pact and trade deal which lifted the British blockade from Toussaint’s Saint Domingue and gave him a free hand within its borders so long as he honored a promise not to export the black revolution to the British Caribbean colonies.”[54] This would cost the Governor General considerable support when word of this secretly negotiated treaty was exposed to the masses.

The Gens de Couleur Libres and the Rebels

Governor General Louverture still had the gens de couleur libres to contend with. Of them, Andre Rigaud had been his most popular ally and enemy. With the British expelled from the island, their military alliance was no longer necessary. “The power in all of Haiti, nominally still a possession of France, would in fact reside with either the blacks or the mulattoes. The former still fought for their freedom, while the latter now fought for their very existence. It became the ‘War of the Knives,’ the civil war-within-a-war in Haiti.”[55] Louverture had received considerable aid from the United States creating a great deal of difficulty for Rigaud to make military advances in the Western Province.

Another ally to the Governor General, United States diplomat Edward Stevens would be the man to provide this aid as a result of knowledge that Rigaud had initiated the sea attacks and later “published a kind of declaration of war, citing the renewed Dominguan-American commerce as treacherous.”[56] Making matters worst for Rigaud “the encouraging Louverture-Stevens collaboration enabled President Adams, under the authority of the Intercourse Act, to proclaim Dominguan American commercial lanes reopened as of 1 August 1799.”[57]  It was for this reason that “Rigaud accused Louverture of conspiring ‘with the enemies of France and receiving their ships into the ports under his territorial control.’[58] The United States’ first act of international intervention to weaken the French created a spectacle. Brown describes this event as

warships flying the French ensign, and commissioned by a recognized, even though not fully loyal French governor (Toussaint), were conducting operations against forces of a second nominally French official (Rigaud), but were allowed to operate in waters, still legally French, only with the consent of the U.S. and British navies, and under documents issued bythe consul general of the United States.[59]

In the interest of U.S. trade and American merchants already on the island, Stevens was able to commandeer the assistance of Captain Christopher Raymond Perry and Commodore Silas Talbot to further to help the Governor General weaken Rigaud’s stronghold in the Western Province.

The Dominguan general planned the attack; the American captain followed his order. On the morning of 27 February 1800, as Louverture led two thousand north Dominguan troops against general Alexandre Petion’s entrenched army, Perry ordered the General Green’s guns to ‘engage three of Riguad’s forts warmly for 30 or 40 minutes’ Talbot and Perry employed an American warship in the U.S. Navy’s first military action on behalf of a foreign ally.[60]

The war between these two islanders would continue a little longer, but the support of the United States had devastated Rigaud’s forces causing an end to the War of the South and Rigaud to evacuate the Western Province. This gave the Governor General complete control over all of Saint Domingue.

Santo Domingo and the Revolution

He would now look to the east in hopes of subjugating the entire island. Louverture claimed that “his desire to conquer Santo Domingo” stemmed from the fact that “men, women, and children who were ‘French citizens’ were being kidnapped to Santo Domingo and sold as slaves. In April 1800 he announced to the agent Roume that he was determined to end this abuse by sending his troops across the border into the Spanish colony.”[61] Conquering the western portion was simple. It had already been ceded in 1795, but the Spanish, who actually dominated in that region, had continued to control the colony.  “Toussaint had sent two columns into Spanish territory. Three thousand men commanded by Moyse crossed at Ouanaminthe, while forty-five hundred led by Toussaint and Paul Louverture came via Mirebalais. The Spanish defense soon crumpled.”[62] On January 4, 1801, Captain-General and Governor Don Joaquin Garcia handed Toussaint the keys to Santo Domingo. The approximately fifteen thousand slaves in this eastern part of the island were at once given their freedom.”[63] Fatras-Baton had come a long way from being a coachman on the Breda Plantation to his current state.

France abolished slavery in 1794, and Toussaint permanently cast his lot with the French. As a brigadier general, fighting on several fronts at once, he expelled the Spanish and the British from Saint Domingue. As governor general of the colony, he won an ugly civil war with the mulatto faction, then took over the Spanish side of Hispaniola in the name of France. By 1801 he had emerged as the de facto ruler of the entire island.[64]

Louverture’s idea was to retire from the military, settled down with his family and enjoy the remainder of his life on the island. This would never come to fruition, for unbeknownst to the Governor General, he had overwhelmingly vexed First Consul Napoleon Bonaparte and would pay dearly for his military accomplishments. On the other side of the world, First Consul had been planning the Governor General’s capture and the restoration of slavery in Saint Domingue. In his view, the Louisiana Territory was no longer viable without the “Pearl of the Antilles.” The idea being that Africans would be brought into the North American territory to forcibly labor on new plantations and the Saint Dominguan slave-produced commodities would not only be pumped into France, but also the new territory creating even greater wealth for the French Empire. The “gilded African” had disobeyed all of his commands and destroyed his future plans. Napoleon Bonaparte would dispatch on, October 31, 1801, an expedition of “twenty thousand European soldiers – the elite of the French army – to protect the colony, preserve its peace and tranquility, and suppress any rebel elements that might emerge,”[65] under the command of his brother-in-law, Charles Victor-Emmanuel Leclerc. He had hoped to accomplish all of this under the guise of a widely circulated spurious proclamation.

Leclerc’s Expedition to Saint Domingue

Leclerc would land in Saint Domingue in February 1802 “with a squadron of over five thousand troops, a quarter of the entire expeditionary force.”[66]  From the very start, Leclerc was bent on war disobeying most of his superior’s orders. Napoleon’s instructions to Leclerc were highly detailed, setting forth a phased plan for rapidly reimposing French rule.” These three part mendacious instructions called, firstly, for all major towns and ports to be taken expeditiously. Secondly, using all forms of deception and trickery, Leclerc was to win over the African generals making it easier for his soldiers to attack them. Adding to this component of Bonaparte’s instructions, Leclerc was to ensure that no African holding any position of authority was to remain on the island. The French soldiers were to also extract all the rebels from the mountains. Thirdly, the newly freed African masses were to be disarmed and returned to labor on Saint Dominguan plantations.[67]

Had this plan been implemented effectively, Bonaparte looked to restore slavery on the island. With very little resistance, Leclerc’s army successfully took parish by parish, excluding Port-au-Paix which had been under the command of a black general named Jacques Maurepas. Henri Christophe successfully followed the Governor General’s “scorched-earth policy” and set Le Cap ablaze as a result of his inability to retain if from Leclerc when he tried to land.[68] Many of Governor General Louverture’s followers who were no longer supportive of his leadership had defected. Although, Leclerc’s war had initially been successful, he lost a substantial amount of soldiers against the African rebels on the ground. Subsequently, to Louverture’s advantage was the rampant spread of yellow fever throughout the island killing off a great percentage of the European soldiers. Despite this, Governor General Louverture would surrender to Leclerc in May of 1802 and “in early June, Leclerc, treacherously violating his own safe-conduct order, had Toussaint arrested and shipped off to an imprisonment in France.”[69] Leclerc himself would later succumb to yellow fever.

With troops steadily dying off, no assistance from the United States and a leader that was dead, French troops were unable to successfully take back the island from Jean-Jacques Dessalines and the newly freed French citizens of African descent. Dessalines, a bossales (African born), was a subordinate to the Governor General. After Louverture’s deceitful arrest and deportation, Dessalines took command, reorganized the rebels, and fought off the remaining French troops declaring Haiti a free and independent country on January 1, 1804. After a long, arduous and bloodthirsty thirteen year struggle, Governor General Toussaint Louverture’s vision of universal freedom would finally be achieved. The Haitian Revolution, which “extended the ideals enshrined in the American and French Revolutions produced the world’s first examples of wholesale emancipation in a major slave-owning society, colonial representation in a metropolitan assembly, and full racial equality in a European colony, constituted one of the great revolutions of the modern world.”[70]

[1] Brown, Gordon, S., 2005, Toussaint’s Clause: The Founding Fathers and the Haitian Revolution, Jackson, University Press of Mississippi, pp. 3.

[2] Dubois, W.E.B., 1992, The Suppression of the African Slave-Trade to the United States of America, 1638-1870, New York, The Free Press, pp. 70.

[3] Bell, Toussaint Louverture, pp. 3

[4] Brown, Toussaint’s Clause, pp. 39-40

[5] Trouillot, Michel-Rolph, 1995, Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History, Boston, Beacon Press, pp. 5

[6] Dubois and Garrigus, Slave Revolution, pp. 15

[7] Dubois, Avengers, pp. 35

[8] Popkin, Jeremy, D., 2010, You Are All Free: The Haitian Revolution and the Abolition of Slavery, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, pp. 33

[9] Bell, Toussaint Louverture, pp. 9

[10] Girard, Philippe R., The Slaves Who Defeated Napoleon: Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian War for Independence, 1801-1804, Tuscaloosa, The University of Alabama Press, pp. 4, Geggus, David, The Haitian Revolution: A Documentary History, Indianapolis, Hackett Publishing Company, pp. xi and Popkin, You Are All Free, pp. 26

[11] Saint Domingue is also referred to and more commonly known as The Pearl of the Antilles.

[12] Geggus, 2014, Haitian Revolution: A Documentary History, xiii.

[13] Geggus, David Patrick, 2002, Haitian Revolutionary Studies, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, pp. 6

[14] Brown, Toussaint’s Clause, pp. 32

[15] Ibid. 43.

[16] Popkin, You Are All Free, pp. 33

[17] Dubois, Avengers, pp. 32

[18] Popkin, You Are All Free, pp. 26

[19] Dupuy, Alex, 1985, “The French Merchant Capital and Slavery in Saint-Domingue,” Latin American Perspectives, Summer 1985, Vol 12, No. 3, pp. 86

[20] Bell. Toussaint Louverture, pp. 14

[21] Dubois and Garrigus, Slave Revolutions, pp. 15

[22] Ibid, pp. 75

[23] Girard, The Slaves Who Defeated Napoleon, pp. 13 and Fick, The Making of Haiti, pp. 86

[24] Fick, Carolyn E., 1990, The Making of Haiti: The Saint Domingue Revolution from Below, Knoxville, The University of Tennessee, pp. 94.

[25] Bell, Toussaint Louverture, pp. 22

[26] Geggus, The Haitian Revolution, pp. xv

[27] Fick, The Making of Haiti, pp. 96-97 and 102.

[28] Ibid. 301. n72

[29] Geggus, Haitian Revolutionary Studies, pp. 170

[30] Fick, The Making of Haiti, pp. 92

[31] Bell, Toussaint Louverture, pp. 60

[32] Marley, Bob and the Wailers, 1970, “Soul Rebels,” quote from “Cornerstone” track

[33] Bell, Toussaint Louverture, pp. 60-67 and Dubois, Avengers, pp. 172

[34] Parkinson, Wenda, 1978, ‘This Gilded African’: Toussaint L’Ouverture, London, Quartet Books, pp. 46

[35] Ibid, pp. 45

[36] Ibid, pp. 46

[37] Bell, Toussaint Louverture, pp. 19.

[38] James, C.L.R., 1989, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint Louverture and the San Domingo Revolution, New York, Vintage Books Edition, pp. 124, Geggus, Haitian Revolutionary Studies, pp. 125 and Dubois, Avengers, pp. 177

[39] Geggus, Haitian Revolutionary Studies, pp. 120

[40] Ibid, pp. 130

[41] Ibid, pp. 125

[42] Ibid, pp. 135

[43] Dubois, Avengers, pp. 179-180

[44] Brown, Toussaint’s Clause, pp. 104

[45] Dubois, Avengers, pp. 172

[46] Bell, Toussaint Louverture, pp. 35 and 55

[47] Dubois, Avengers, pp. 184

[48] Ibid, pp. 184

[49] Bell, Toussaint Louverture, pp. 46

[50] Brown, Toussaint’s Clause, pp. 113

[51] Geggus, The Haitian Revolution, pp. xxiv.

[52] Bell, Toussaint Louverture, pp. 28.

[53] Ibid, Toussaint Louverture, pp. 28.

[54] Ibid, pp. 160

[55] Ros, Martin, 1991, Night of Fire: The Black Napoleon and the Battle for Haiti. New York, Sarpedon, pp. 110

[56]  Johnson, Ronald Angelo, 2014, Diplomacy in Black and White: John Adams, Toussaint Louverture, and Their Atlantic World Alliance, Athens, The University of Georgia Press, pp.116

[57] Ibid, pp. 100.

[58] Ibid, pp. 106.

[59] Brown, Toussaint’s Clause, pp. 170

[60] Johnson, Diplomacy in Black and White, pp. 120 and Brown, Toussaint’s Clause, pp. 171

[61] Dubois, Avengers, pp. 237

[62] Bell, Toussaint Louverture, pp. 190

[63] Ros, Night of Fire, pp. 119

[64] Bell, Toussaint Louverture, pp. 266

[65] Fick, The Making of Haiti, pp. 210

[66] Ibid, pp. 210

[67] Brown, Toussaint’s Clause, pp. 199-200 and Fick, The Making of Haiti, pp. 210

[68] Girard, The Slaves Who Defeated Napoleon, pp. 92-94

[69] Brown, Toussaint’s Clause, pp. 218-219

[70] Jackson, Maurice and Bacon, Jacqueline, 2010, African Americans and the Haitian Revolution: Selected Essays and Historical Documents, pp. 1, Fick, The Making of Haiti, pp. 1, and Geggus, The Haitian Revolution, pp. vii

Background

The biographical historiographies surrounding the Haitian Revolution and one of its prominent members, Governor General [71] Francois Dominique Toussaint Louverture seem to lay deeply dormant in historical memories. It is almost impossible to remember the Haitian Revolution without remembering Governor General Toussaint Louverture and equally impossible to recall the Governor General without recalling the Haitian Revolution. The two are always associated one with the other and both are monumental in the context of historical heroes and historical events. Historians have written extensively about the Haitian Revolution and many have chronicled the life of Governor General Toussaint Louverture. Madison Smartt Bell in his biographical account, Toussaint Louverture: A Biography discusses that “as a leader of the only successful slave revolution in recorded history and as the founder of the only independent black state in the Western Hemisphere ever to be created by former slaves, Francois Dominique Toussaint Louverture can fairly be called the highest-achieving African American hero of all time.” [72] Ironically, not many people are aware of this great hero or his epochal military and political achievements.

Students must be made aware of the greatness of all mankind and not a select few that glorify portions of our history. Exposing students to a wider range of the events and biographies of history provides them with some evidence of how the human race is forever intricately connected and can possibly help them to see their role in history. Additionally, students must be given a balance of both the positive and negative characteristics of their own history to help them ascertain a full view of who they are as a people and how they fit into the economic, social, political and cultural scheme of the bigger picture. My design here is to provide students with a detailed exposure to not only the Haitian Revolution and Governor General Toussaint Louverture, but also to the unknown and nameless characters, who by their willingness, cooperation and deeds of strength and power helped to make such a historical event possible. The unit will lay the foundation for what happened on the island of Saint Domingue [73] from 1789 to 1804 [74] and the characters involved so that they may be able to formulate their own ideas of such a historical event and utilize the biography of the Governor General to determine for themselves if he is a hero (or not) in the histories of the world. The unit also seeks to provide accurate information and the required missing pieces from textbooks.

Glencoe’s The American Vision textbook utilized in many high schools across the country for American History instruction begins Unit One’s text with the title “Three Worlds Meet: Beginnings to 1763” and its chapter 1 introduces students to “Converging Cultures: Prehistory to 1520” which is supposed to teach students about the meeting and interactions of the indigenous peoples of the Americas, the Africans and the Europeans. However, in what would evolve as French Saint Domingue and Spanish Santo Domingo, there is no mention of the island of Hispaniola where

historically, the island of Hispaniola is a tremendously important kalfou – the crossroads where Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans came together for the first time. The fundamental pattern of their relationship all over the Western Hemisphere dispossessions and extermination of the Indians by the Europeans, who go on to exploit the seized territory with African slave labor –was set for the first time here.[75]

James Ciment’s Atlas of African American History, a supplemental text, does dedicate two pages to the man and the revolution along with a map of the various battles of the revolution. As a result, Ciment reduces the Haitian Revolution to “The Haitian Rebellion.” While most rebellions against slavery were not successful, this Revolution was very much so. “The 1791 uprising in Saint-Domingue is the only such revolt that succeeded in destroying slavery in the society where it took place. And it did more than that: It propelled the radical expansion of French citizenship, which was extended to more than a half-million men and women of African descent in the Caribbean.”[76] What the Africans accomplished cannot be relegated to a simple rebellion. Another issue of importance is the terminology used in textbooks. Certain terms used in the dissemination of particular information affects the history, biography, and how each will be etched into one’s memory. The consistent reference, by historians, authors, writers and the like, of Europeans as “masters” and “slave owners,” Africans and African Americans as “slaves,” and people of mixed-race ancestry as “mulatto” is meant to subliminally give a superior and inferior connation which, in turn, leaves a negative imprint in the minds of the reader and learner alike. As educators, we must be consciously aware of the power of language.

The textbooks utilized to teach African American History are only slightly better. Prentice Hall’s African American History published in 2006 by Pearson Prentice Hall in Upper Saddle River, New Jersey by Darlene Clark Hine, William C. Hine and Stanley Harrold consign a few more pages to the discussion of the Haitian Revolution and its leaders. The text briefly opens on page 163 with a reference to Governor General Toussaint Louverture as the leader of the Haitian Revolution under the subtitle “Slave Uprisings.” Pages 164 and 165 titled “The White Southern Reaction” talks about how southern Americans reacted to the Haitian Revolution. The authors dedicate more text to the white reaction of the Governor General’s leadership than to the greatness of that leadership and they speak very briefly about how African Americans regarded him as the black George Washington. On page 261, the authors briefly discuss the possibility of a potential race war in the United States similar to that which occurred in Haiti, under the subtitle, “Gabriel’s Conspiracy.” The subtitle “Black Nationalism and Colonization” on page 265 discusses Haiti as a refuge for African Americans and how over 200 men, women, and children emigrated from American urban centers to Haiti in 1824. This section of the text reveals only the failures the people encountered due to their difficulty to learn French and Haitian Kreyol as well as their distrust of the Roman Catholic Church resulting in their ultimate return to the United States. There is little discussion of why African Americans saw the island as a place of refuge.

A brief piece on page 274 is dedicated to the revolutionary, also the subtitle, “Nat Turner” who is compared to Governor General Louverture and Gabriel Prosser. Finally, on page 403 subtitled, “ Black Teachers” there is a discussion of abolitionist Lydia Maria Francis Childs’ book The Freedmen’s Book where she dedicates a 30 page biography to the Governor General. The authors for Pearson Prentice Hall dedicate a little less than five pages to the greatness of the Haitian Revolution, Governor General Toussaint Louverture and the Africans who fought to help secure their freedom and an independent nation. Other issues that include the black experience in America are intertwined with the experience of the Haitian Revolution and Toussaint Louverture making it more of a comparison than a text that is fully dedicated to the Revolution itself.  The historian, Laurent Dubois reminds us that “the impact of the Haitian Revolution was enormous as a unique example of successful black revolution, it became a crucial part of the political, philosophical, and cultural currents of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It was a central part of the destruction of slavery in the Americas.”[77] For these reasons, educators must create better ways to impart this knowledge throughout academia and print media meant to educate others.

[71] The Governor General title will be a reference to Toussaint Louverture a different points in the reading

[72] Bell, Madison Smartt, 2007, Toussaint Louverture: A Biography, New York, Pantheon Books, pp. 3

[73] Saint Domingue may be referred to as Saint-Domingue or San Domingue all referencing the French side of the island of Hispaniola

[74] The dates of the Haitian Revolution may vary; historians indicate varying dates to include 1791-1804 and 1789-1803

[75] Bell, Toussaint Louverture, pp. 6-7.

[76] Dubois, Laurent and Garrigus, John, D., 2006, Slave Revolution in the Caribbean 1789-1804: A Brief History with Documents, Boston, Bedford/St. Martins, pp. 8-9

[77] Dubois, Laurent, 2004, Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution, Cambridge, The Belknap Press of Harvard University, pp. 6

Objectives

The objective of The Haitian Revolution and Governor General Toussaint Louverture: A Biography curriculum unit is to provide a supplemental interdisciplinary unit that allows students to think like a historian, cultivate teamwork and build critical thinking skills through the implementation of structured lesson plans, the use multiple intelligences and multifaceted primary sources to understand the intricate, and sometimes complicated, workings of the Haitian Revolution, the leadership of Governor General Toussaint Louverture and the agency of the enslaved Africans involved. Lessons in the unit will encourage the use additional interdisciplinary skills such as distinguishing fact from opinion, making inferences and drawing conclusions, identifying a point of view, comparing and contrasting, ascertaining cause and effect, recognizing a problem and creating a resolution, summarizing main ideas and details as well as determining an author’s purpose to name a few. The enhancement of these skills will increase vocabulary development, the ability to identify text structures, literature comprehension, and writing proficiencies.

To help students achieve this, I have referred to Daniels and Bizar who offer a range of cooperative grouping activities, a few of which will be incorporated in The Haitian Revolution and Governor General Toussaint Louverture: A Biography. They describe each activity as the following: Partner Reading and Listening will allow paired students to read aloud to one another using the same piece of literature. The Lab Partners activity allows the teacher to pair students with interlocking assignments that require joint observing, writing, reading, discussion, or problem-solving. Dialogue Journaling involves pairing students to engage in written conversations where they write and exchange notes about a book, article, or historical period. Say Something requires the pair to read to one another and stop at various points in their reading to demand clarity, sort out confusion, and discuss ideas, issues or vocabulary. Peer Response and Editing places students in groups of three to five to meet regularly to offer feedback, guidance, and advice to each other. Group Investigations calls multiple student-research teams to investigate different aspects of a larger topic jigsawing the pieces to smaller tasks groups for investigation. Finally, Literature Circles, the paired students chooses and takes journal notes to guide the discussion of their book. [78]

[78] Daniels, Harvey and Bizar, Marilyn, 2005, Teaching the Best Practice Way: Methods that Matter, K-12, Portland, Stenhouse Publishers, pp. 118-119

Strategies

The Haitian Revolution and Governor General Toussaint Louverture: A Biography will incorporate the Pennsylvania Common Core Standards for both history and English and follow the Seven-Step Lesson Plan format. This objective driven style of lesson planning helps to keep both the lesson structured and student on-task. This format is also very useful when working within tight time constraints to complete lesson and/or curriculum goals. When used effectively, this lesson plan format eliminates student down time and promotes greater student productivity. The Seven-Step Lesson Plan as well as each lesson may be modified to accommodate the varied individual learning styles and student academic levels. Instructional timing and pacing for each lesson is also determined by the educator.

The Seven-Step Lesson Plan teaching strategy involves a Do Now, Direct Instruction, Guided Practice, Independent Practice, Closure, Exit Ticket and Homework. Vocabulary is teacher created and can be inserted for review at the start of each lesson. This teacher-made (TM) vocabulary list is posted to provide students with a visual tool and classroom Word Wall for the purpose of increasing site vocabulary. The Do Now should be a five minute lesson/topic/subject-related warm up to either introduce the lesson and skill to be taught or reteach a skill or content material that a greater portion of students may not have quite comprehended from the previous lesson. This portion of the lesson could also serve as a quick homework review that segues into the lesson of the day. Direct Instruction is teacher-centered. The agenda, objective of the lesson, strategies to be applied to achieve the objective, and the substance of the lesson are detailed here. Today, 21st century classrooms are student-centered, so direct instruction should be information-packed and concise. It is here that the teacher introduces the lesson to students providing the intricate details of the content material. Guided Practice involves the teacher thoroughly modeling, step-by-step, the skill, lesson, or activity that students must know and/or perform. Independent Practice involves having students perform the task taught, with little or no help from the teacher, and an immediate teacher assessment of student practice. Here the teacher circulates the classroom and observes, providing very limited assistance, to gage student comprehension of the lesson. This formative assessment will help the teacher determine if the class should move on, be retaught the lesson, or if a small population of the classroom needs one-on-one instruction. Closure is the lesson review and wrap up. This part of the lesson also serves as a mini assessment allowing the teacher to measure student understanding, but applying a different method. A brief synopsis of the lesson is provided by the students. The Exit Ticket calls for the student to provide the teacher with some type of proof of her understanding of the lesson before “exiting” the classroom. The proof can be in the form of a verbal, written, or skit activity. Homework is an extension of the lesson to provide students with additional practice of the lesson or skill taught that day. With the more complicated content material, it is suggested that, homework should always be reviewed the next day to provide students with immediate feedback of their progress.

Classroom Activities

Lesson 1: The gens de couleur libres organize

Instructor:
Class: History
Topic The Haitian Revolution- The gens de couleur libres organize
Objective(s): CC.8.5.9-10.F. Compare the POV of 2 authors for how they treat the same topic.

CC.8.5.9-10.B. Determine the central ideas or information of a primary source to provide an accurate summary of how key ideas develop over the course of the text.

SWBAT explain how the gens de couleur libres organized to argue for equal rights from the National and Colonial Assemblies using various correspondence primary source document analysis strategies.

Instructional Strategies: Primary source document analysis, record information, dialogue and discussion, guided practice, cooperative groups, graphic organizers, writing analysis
Daily Activities: Do Now: The gens de couleur libres were wealthy and educated landowners who contributed to the colony of Saint Domingue through their paid taxes, business operations, and service in the marchaussee. Why would they have to argue, protest, and eventually fight for equal rights?

Direct Instruction:

·         Introduce Vocabulary: cahier, distinction, emancipation, implicit, ideology, apportioned, Creoles, posterity, regeneration, mixed-blood, mulatto, quadroon, prerogative, engender, magnanimous, domicile, alacrity, sovereigns, petition, provincial

·         Provide background knowledge of the laws (Edict of the King: The Code Noir 1685, The Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen 1789, 8 March 1790 Decree and 15 May 1791 Decree) issued by France, but egregiously disregarded by the colonists. Discuss how the gens de couleur’s unmet demands led to the first call of arms in the Revolution.

·         Introduce the cahier and petitions presented to the assemblies by the Societe de Colonies Americaines in 1789

Guided Practice: Using the findings, discuss in greater detail how the gens de couleur organized and petitioned the Assembly for equality before taking up arms.

Independent Practice: Create cooperative groups, distribute the documents a) Free People of Color Organize (p. 46-47), b) Free Coloreds Petition the Assembly of the North, 10 November 1789 (p. 61-62), and c) Oge to the Provincial Assembly of the North (p. 77-78) for group analysis. Have students highlight key points using the Main Ideas & Details 2-Column Notes graphic organizer to access information.

Checkpoints for Student Understanding: Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down, 3-2-1, Three W’s

Closure: Have each group share out their findings from their group analysis.

Exit Ticket: Why would the gens de couleur only attack the institutionalized racism?

Homework: In 25 words, explain why would the colonists denied the gens de couleur equal rights when they engendered this population?

Resources/Materials and Supplies: ·         TP copies of p. 46-47, “Free People  of Color Organize” from The Haitian -Revolution: A Documentary History, p. 61-62, “Free Coloreds Petition the Assembly of the North, 10 November 1789” and from The Haitian Revolution: A Documentary History  and p. 77-78, “Oge to the Provincial Assembly of the North” from Slave Revolution in the Caribbean 1789-1804: A Brief History with Documents by Dubois and Garrigus

·         Main Ideas & Details 2-Column Notes document analysis graphic organizer

·         Construction, highlighters, markers, glue, tape, and scissors

References to Textbooks and Curriculum Guides: ·         District or schoolwide textbook(s)

·         Using Primary Sources in the Classroom by Kathleen Vest (pp. 52-70)

 

Lesson 2: The Haitian Revolution- The Rebellion of 1791 Begins

Instructor:
Class: History
Topic The Haitian Revolution- The Rebellion of 1791 Begins
Objective(s): CC.8.5.9-10.C. Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether events caused later ones or simply preceded them.

CC.8.5.9-10.E. Analyze how a text uses structure to emphasize key points or advance an explanation or analysis.

CC.8.5.9-10.H. Assess the extent to which the reasoning and evidence in a text support the author’s claims.

SWBAT explain the planning that took place on the night of August 14, 1791 revolt and analyze an excerpt of the deposition of captured rebel soldier, Dechaussee (aka Defeau) as told by Antoine Dalmas, first historian to mention the Bois Caiman ceremony.

Instructional Strategies: Guided practice, activating prior knowledge, primary image analysis, secondary source analysis, Socratic Seminar, dialogue and discussion
Daily Activities: Do Now: View several images including drawings, paintings, and engravings of the Bois Caiman ceremony.

Direction Instruction:

·         Introduce Vocabulary:

rebellion, insurrection, rebel, deputies, spontaneous, stronghold, ammunition, comrades, pillaging, uncultivated, fetishes, talisman, invulnerable, agency

·         Introduce the concept of agency and how the enslaved Africans organized and carefully planned the revolt

·         Provide background information of the Bois Caiman ceremony using a reading from Carolyn E. Fick’s The Making of Haiti: The Saint Domingue Revolution From Below by Carolyn E. Fick, p. 94-96

·         Introduce the secondary source documents: a) Planning the Rebellion (p. 77-78), b) The Bois Caiman Ceremony (p. 78-79), and c) The Uprising Begins (p. 79-81). Read each aloud, use document and image analysis graphic organizers and highlight key facts.

Guided Practice: Create a Socratic Seminar and discuss how the enslaved were the determining factor and instrumental in their triumph in the Haitian Revolution.

Independent Practice: Group dialogue and discussion. Have a student film the Socratic Seminar. View later.

Checkpoints for Student Understanding: Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down, 3-2-1, Three W’s

Closure: Describe one of the images provided.

Exit Ticket: Why was planning the revolt an important element of the Haitian Revolution?

Homework: In 50 words, explain how the rebel leaders and soldiers used agency in the Haitian Revolution.

Resources/Materials and Supplies: ·         The Making of Haiti: The Saint Domingue Revolution From Below by Carolyn E. Fick, p. 94-96

·         TP copies of documents 34, 35, and 36 from The Haitian Revolution by David Geggus (p. 79-81)

·         Camcorder, cellphone, iPad for videoing

·         Smartboard

References to Textbooks and Curriculum Guides: ·         District or schoolwide textbook(s)

·         Socratic Seminar: https://www.teachingchannel.org/videos/bring-socratic-seminars-to-the-classroom

 

Lesson 3: The Haitian Revolution- The Emancipation Proclamation of 29 August 1793 and the Decree of February 4, 1794

Instructor:
Class: History
Topic The Haitian Revolution- The Emancipation Proclamation of 29 August 1793 and the Decree of February 4, 1794
Objective(s): CC.8.5.9-10.A. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary sources; attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.

CC.8.5.9-10.B. Determine the central ideas or information of a primary source; provide an accurate summary of how key ideas develop over the course of the text

CC.8.5.9-10.F. Compare the POV of 2 authors for how they treat the same topic.

SWBAT discuss Sonthonax’s issuance of the emancipation proclamation as a war measure to gain military support and the details using primary source doc analysis worksheet

Instructional Strategies: Primary source analysis, guided practice, activating prior knowledge, cooperative groups, graphic organizers, writing analysis
Daily Activities: Do Now: Scan the 29 August 1793 Emancipation Proclamation

Direction Instruction:

·         Introduce Vocabulary:

commissioner, enactment, upheaval, serfdom, beneficence, cultivates, proprietor, assessors, revenue, regimen, adjudicate, zealous

·         Provide background information on the 29 August 1793 emancipation proclamation

Guided Practice: Read aloud and analyze the documents a) Emancipation Proclamation of 29 August 1793, b) The National Convention on the Abolition of Slavery and c) The Decree of February 4, 1794. Highlight key points.

Independent Practice: Use the information from the text to analyze the cause and effect of Sonthonax’s proclamation. Create a Shutter Fold foldable

Checkpoints for Student Understanding: Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down, 3-2-1, Three W’s

Closure: What was the impact of Sonthonax’s proclamation?

Exit Ticket: How could the proclamation affect the outcome of the revolution?

Homework: Compare the proclamation provided by Geggus with that of Dubois and Garrigus.

Resources/Materials and Supplies: ·         TP copies of the 29 August 1793 Emancipation Proclamation from The Haitian Revolution (p. 107-109)

·         Document Analysis worksheet

References to Textbooks and Curriculum Guides: ·         District or schoolwide textbook(s)

·         Dinah Zike’s High School American History Reading and Study Skills Foldables (p. 15)

 

Lesson 4: The Haitian Revolution- Toussaint’s Proclamation 29 August 1793

Instructor:
Class: History
Topic The Haitian Revolution- Toussaint’s Proclamation 29 August 1793
Objective(s): CC.8.5.9-10.A. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary sources; attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.

CC.8.5.9-10.B. Determine the central ideas or information of a primary source; provide an accurate summary of how key ideas develop over the course of the text.

CC.8.5.9-10.E. Analyze how a text uses structure to emphasize key points or advance an explanation or analysis.

SWBAT discuss how the Governor General was a military strategist when he remained a Spanish ally despite Sonthonax’s emancipation decree using his own Proclamation of 29 August 1793 to announce his fight for general liberty and equality while announcing his new name L’Ouverture.

Instructional Strategies: Primary source analysis, record information, guided practice, activating prior knowledge, dialogue and discussion, cooperative groups, graphic organizers, writing analysis, draw conclusion/make inference
Daily Activities: Do Now: Do you believe Sonthonax’s Proclamation of 29 August 1793 was used effectively as a military measure to draw the rebel leaders, including the Govern General, to his side? Explain why or why not?

Direction Instruction:

·         Introduce Vocabulary:

proclamation, radicalize, uncompromising, plurality, inseparable, comrades, equality, unity, liberty, coincidence

·         Review Sonthonax’s 29 August 1793 Emancipation Proclamation.

Guided Practice: Using both proclamations, have students discuss

Ø  how both proclamations were issued and made public on the same day (August 29, 1793)

Ø  why this may be a coincidence or not a coincidence

Ø  which proclamation could have been issued first

Ø  how they each could potentially draw troops and allies to the French, Spanish or neither

Independent Practice: Continue the group discussion about whose proclamation could be the most effective.

Checkpoints for Student Understanding: Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down, 3-2-1, Three W’s

Closure: What the essence of Governor General Louverture’s August 29, 1793 Proclamation?

Exit Ticket: Explain how Sonthonax’s and Louverture’s proclamations can be viewed as war measures.

Homework: In 50 words, explain why Toussaint Louverture would stay on with the Spanish when he persistently had problems with rebel leaders Georges Biassous and Jean Francois as well as the Spanish? Read Governor General Louverture’s Letter to Laveaux 18 May 1794. Identify key points.

Resources/Materials and Supplies: ·         TP copies of Toussaint’s Proclamation 29 August 1793 from Toussaint Louverture: The Haitian Revolution edited by Nick Nesbitt  (p. 1-2)

·         TP copies of the Letter to General Laveaux  from Toussaint Louverture: The Haitian Revolution p. 9-10

References to Textbooks and Curriculum Guides: ·         District or schoolwide textbook(s)

 

 

 

Lesson 5: The Haitian Revolution- Letters to General Laveaux

Instructor:
Class: History
Topic The Haitian Revolution- Letters to General Laveaux
Objective(s): CC.8.5.9-10.A. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary sources; attending to such features as the date and origin of the information.

CC.8.5.9-10.B. Determine the central ideas or information of a primary source; provide an accurate summary of how key ideas develop over the course of the text.

CC.8.5.9-10.D. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary describing political, social, or economic aspects of history.

SWBAT explain the Governor General’s decision to remain with the Spanish and his refusal to rally with the French despite the National Assembly’s ratification of Sonthonax’s 29 August 1793 Emancipation Proclamation on February 4, 1794 as well as his later volte-face to the French using various pieces of his correspondence to General Etienne Laveaux.

Instructional Strategies: Primary and secondary source analysis, record information, guided practice, activating prior knowledge, dialogue and discussion, draw conclusion/make inference
Daily Activities: Do Now: Scan Governor General’s 7 July 1794 letter to General Laveaux

Direction Instruction:

·         Introduce Vocabulary:

republican, humanity, reconciliation, predictions, perfidious, treachery, enchain, contemptible, infamous, emigrants, contemplate, munitions, sabre, carnage, unparalleled, simultaneously, volte-face, dragoons, communal, irrevocable, stratagems

·         Introduce how to create foldables to build vocabulary

·         Discuss the background information on Toussaint’s problems with other rebel leaders and the Spanish using his correspondence to Governor Garcia in Santo Domingo regarding his “Rivalry with Biassou.”

Guided Practice: Distribute the 4 letters, and worksheets for analysis and materials for foldables.

Independent Practice: Start with the foldables (Vocabulary Book and Sentence Strips), then complete the graphic organizer and document analysis.

Checkpoints for Student Understanding: Thumbs Up-Thumbs Down, 3-2-1, Three W’s

Closure: What can you surmise are the Governor General’s intentions based on his correspondence with General Laveaux?

Exit Ticket: What are Governor General Louverture’s ideas on universal liberty and his plan to maintain the Saint Domingue economy?

Homework: Read Governor General Louverture’s Letter to the French Directory November 1797 from Toussaint Louverture: The Haitian Revolution p. 32-35

Resources/Materials and Supplies: ·         TP copies of the Letter to General Laveaux 18 May 1794 (p. 9-10)

·         TP copies of the Letter to Laveaux 7 July 1794 (p. 11-12)

·         TP copies of the Letter to Laveaux 20 February 1796 (p. 21-25)

·         TP copies of the Letter to Laveaux 23 May 1797 (p. 29-31) from Toussaint Louverture: The Haitian Revolution

·         2-Column Notes graphic organizer and Written Document Analysis worksheet

·         Highlighters, construction paper, markers, scissors, glue, and tape

References to Textbooks and Curriculum Guides: ·         District or schoolwide textbook(s)

·         Dinah Zike’s High School American History Reading and Study Skills Foldables p. 33 and 39

·         The Haitian Revolution: A Documentary History by David Geggus p. 126-128

 


 

Annotated Bibliography

Suggested Teacher Readings

  1. Beard, John R., 1853, The Life of Toussaint Louverture, The Negro Patroit of Hayti: Comprising an Account of the Struggle for Liberty in the Island, and A Sketch of its History to the Present Period, Westport, Negro Universities Press

The life which is described in the following pages has both a permanent interest and a permanent value. But the efforts which are now made to effect the abolition of slavery in the United States of America, seem to render the present moment specially fit for the appearance of a memoir of Toussaint L’Ouverture.

  1. Brown, Gordon S., 2005, Toussaint’s Clause: The Founding Fathers and the Haitian Revolution, Jackson, University Press of Mississippi

In Toussaint’s Clause, former diplomat and ambassador Gordon S. Brown details the founding fathers’ crisis over Haiti and their rancorous struggle, which very often cut to the core of what America meant by revolution and liberty.

  1. Clavin, Matthew J., 2010, Toussaint Louverture and the American Civil War, Philadelphia, University of Pennsylvania Press

The Haitian Revolution cast a long shadow over the Atlantic world. Toussaint Louverture and the American Civil War examines the significance of these competing narratives in American society on the eve of and during the Civil War. Clavin argues that, at the height of the longstanding conflict between North and South, Louverture and the Haitian Revolution were resonant, polarizing symbols, which antislavery and proslavery groups exploited both to provoke a violent confrontation and to determine the fate of slavery in the United States.

  1. Dubois, Laurent, 2004, Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution, Cambridge, The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press

Laurent Dubois weaves the stories of slaves, free people of African descent, wealthy whites, and French administrators into an unforgettable tale of insurrection, war, heroism, and victory.

  1. Dubois, Laurent and Garrigus, John D., 2006, Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804: A Brief History with Documents, Boston, Bedford/St. Martin’s

Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus clarify for students the complex political, economic, and racial issues surrounding the revolution and its reverberations worldwide.

  1. Dubois, Laurent, 2012, Haiti: The Aftershocks of History, New York, Picador

Acclaimed historian Laurent Dubois demonstrates that Haiti’s troubled present can only be understood by examining its complex past. The country’s difficulties are inextricably rooted in its founding revolution—the only successful slave revolt in the history of the world.

  1. Fick, Carolyn E., 1990, The Making of Haiti: The Saint Domingue Revolution from Below, Knoxville, The University of Tennessee Press

In this pioneering study, Carolyn E. Fick argues that the repressed and uneducated slaves were the principal architects both of their own freedom and of the successful movement toward national independence.  Fick identifies “marronage,” the act of being a fugitive slave, as a basic unit of slave resistance from which the revolution grew and shows how autonomous forms of popular slave participation were as important to the success of the rebellion as the leadership of men like Toussaint Louverture, Henri Christophe, and Dessalines.

  1. Geggus, David P., 2001, The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World, Columbia, University of South Carolina Press

The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World explores the multifarious influence – from economic to ideological to psychological – that a revolt on a small Caribbean island had on the continents surrounding it. Fifteen international scholars, including eminent historians David Brion Davis, Seymour Drescher, and Robin Blackburn, explicate such diverse ramifications as the spawning of slave resistance and the stimulation of slavery’s expansion, the opening of economic frontiers, and the formation of black and white alliances.

  1. Geggis, David Patrick, 2002, Haitian Revolutionary Studies, Bloomington, Indiana University Press

Geggus’s fine-grained essays explore central issues and little-studied aspects of the conflict, including new historiography and sources, the origins of the black rebellion, and relations between slaves and free people of color. The contributions of vodou and marronage to the slave uprising, Toussaint Louverture and the abolition question, the policies of the major powers toward the revolution, and its interaction with the early French Revolution are also addressed.

  1. Geggus, David P., 2014, The Haitian Revolution: A Documentary History, Indianapolis, Hackett Publishing Company, Inc.

This reader includes beautifully written introductions and a fascinating array of never-before-published primary documents. These treasures from the archives offer a new picture of colonial Saint-Domingue and the Haitian Revolution. The translations are lively and colorful.

  1. Girard, Philippe, 2005, Haiti: The Tumultuous History-From Pearl of the Caribbean to Broken Nation, New York, Palgrave Macmillan

Philippe Girard examines how colonialism and slavery have left a legacy of racial tension, both within Haiti and internationally. He also examines how Haiti’s current political instability is merely a continuation of political strife that began during the War of Independence (1791-1804).

  1. Girard, Philippe R., 2011, The Slaves Who Defeated Napoleon: Toussaint Louverture and the Haitian War of Independence, 1801-1804, Tuscaloos, The University of Alabama Press

The book corrects the many factual inaccuracies that have plagued previous accounts. This multidimensional work tells not only of barefoot black soldiers ambushing Bonaparte’s columns, but also of Rochambeau’s mixed-race mistresses, French child drummers, Jewish bankers in Kingston, weapon smugglers from Quaker Philadelphia, Polish artillerists, and African-born maroons struggling to preserve their freedom against both white and black opponents.

  1. Hunt, Alfred N., 1988, Haiti’s Influence on Antebellum America: Slumbering Volcano in the Caribbean, Baton Rouge, Louisiana State University Press

Alfred N. Hunt discusses the ways these immigrants affected southern agriculture, architecture, language, politics, medicine, religion, and the arts. He also considers how the events in Haiti influenced the American slavery-emancipation debate and spurred developments in black militancy and Pan-Africanism in the United States. Hunt concludes that the Haitian Revolution was a major contributing factor to the attitudes that led to the Civil War.

  1. Jackson, Maurice and Bacon, Jacqueline, edited, 2010, African Americans and the Haitian Revolution: Selected Essays and Historical Documents, New York, Routledge

This collection not brings together scholarly essays and helpfully annotated primary documents. It showcases the primary texts written by African Americans about the Haitian Revolution.

  1. James, C.L.R., 1989, The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution, Second Edition Revised, New York, Vintage Books

It is the story of the French colony of San Domingo, a place where the brutality of master toward slave was commonplace and ingeniously refined. It is the story of a literate slave named Toussaint L’Ouverture, who led the black people of San Domingo in a successful struggle against successive invasions by overwhelming French, Spanish, and English forming the first independent nation in the Caribbean.

  1. Johnson, Ronald Angelo, 2014, Diplomacy in Black and White: John Adams, Toussaint Louverture, and Their Atlantic World Alliance, Athens, University of Georgia Press

Diplomacy in Black and White reflects the capacity of leaders Adams and Louverture and how they brought their peoples to the threshold of a lasting transracial relationship. In the end, a permanent alliance failed to emerge, and instead, the two republics born of revolution took divergent paths.

  1. Louverture, Toussaint, translated & edited by Girard, Philippe R., 2014, The Memoir of General Toussaint Louverture, Oxford, Oxford University Press

Historian Philippe Girard begins with an introductory essay that retraces Louverture’s career as a slave, rebel, and governor. Girard provides a detailed narrative of the last year of Louverture’s life, and analyzes the significance of the memoirs and letters from a historical and linguistic perspective.

  1. Martineau, Harriet, 1974, The Man and the Hour, Volumes I-III, New York, AMS Press

Set in Haiti – The story of Toussaint L’ouverture 1743-1803.

  1. Popkin, Jeremy D., 2010, You Are All Free: The Haitian Revolution and the Abolition of Slavery, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press

Based on extensive archival research, You Are All Free provides the first complete account of the dramatic events that led to these epochal decrees, and also to the destruction of Cap Francais, the richest city in the French Caribbean, and to the first refugee crisis in the United States.

  1. Rainsford, Marcus, 2013, An Historical Account of the Black Empire of Hayti, Durham, Duke University Press

As the first complete narrative in English of the Haitian Revolution. Rainsford, a career officer in the British army, went to Haiti to recruit black soldiers for the British. By publishing his observations of the prowess of black troops, and recounting his meetings with Toussaint Louverture, Rainsford offered eyewitness testimonial that acknowledged the intelligence and effectiveness of the Haitian rebels.

  1. Saint-Aubin, Arthur F., 2015, The Memoirs of Toussaint and Isaac Louverture: Representing the Black Masculine Subject in Narratives of Mourning and Loss, Bethlehem, Lehigh University Press

This book examines the memoir of Toussaint Louverture—a former slave, general in the French army, and leader of the Haitian Revolution—and the memoir of his son, Isaac. This study builds upon three areas of scholarship: the tradition of memoir writing; historicist readings of Toussaint’s memoir; and descriptions and theories of men and masculinity within the black Atlantic.

  1. Sansay, Leonora, edited by Drexler, Michael J., 2007, Secret History; Or, The Horrors of St. Domingo and Laura, Ontario, Broadview Editions

Secret History is a vivid account of race warfare and domestic violence. Sansay draws comparisons between Saint Domingue during the Haitian Revolution and the postrevolutionary United States.

  1. Smartt Bell, Madison, 2007, Toussaint Louverture: A Biography, New York, Vintage Books

This biography, the first about Toussaint to appear in English in more than fifty years, discusses how Toussaint has been known either as a martyr of the revolution or as the instigator of one of history’s most savagely violent events.

  1. Trouillot, Michel-Rolph, 1995, Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History, Boston, Beacon Press

Michel-Rolph Trouillot offers a stunning meditation on how power operates in the making and recording of history.

  1. White, Ashli, 2010, Encountering Revolution: Haiti and the Making of the Early Republic, Baltimore, The John Hopkins University Press

Encountering Revolution convincingly situates the formation of the United States in a broader Atlantic context. It shows how the very presence of Saint-Dominguan refugees stirred in Americans as many questions about themselves as about the future of slaveholding, stimulating some of the earliest debates about nationalism in the early republic.

  1. Zuckerman, Michael, 1993, Almost Chosen People: Oblique Biographies in the American Grain, Berkeley, University of California Press

The essays in this collection, including two never before published and a new autobiographical introduction, range from early New England settlements to the hallowed corridors of modern Washington. Among his subjects are Puritans and Southern gentry, Benjamin Franklin and Benjamin Spock, P. T. Barnum and Ronald Reagan. Collecting scammers and scoundrels, racists and rebels, as well as the purest genius, he writes to capture the unadorned American character.

Suggested Student Readings

  1. Allende, Isabel, 2009, Island Beneath the Sea: A Novel, New York, Harper Collins Publishers

From the sugar plantations of Saint-Domingue to the lavish parlors of New Orleans at the turn of the 19th century, this novel tells the story of a mulatta woman, a slave and concubine, determined to take control of her own destiny.

  1. Bergeaud, Emeric, translated & edited by Curtis, Lesley S., and Mucher, Christen, 2015, Stella: A Novel of the Haitian Revolution, New York, New York University Press

Stella, first published in 1859, is an imaginative retelling of Haiti’s fight for independence from slavery and French colonialism.  Set during the years of the Haitian Revolution (1791-1804), Stella tells the story of two brothers, Romulus and Remus, who help transform their homeland from the French colony of Saint-Domingue to the independent republic of Haiti. This new translation and critical edition of Émeric Bergeaud’s allegorical novel makes Stella available to English-speaking audiences for the first time.

  1. Lake, Nick, 2012, In Darkness, New York, Bloomsbury Children’s Books

This is the story of “Shorty”- a 15-year-old boy trapped in a collapsed hospital during the earthquake in Haiti. As he waits in darkness for a rescue that may never come, a mystical bridge seems to emerge between him and Haitian leader Toussaint L’Ouverture, uniting the two in their darkest suffering and their hope.

  1. Lawrence, Jacob and Myers, Walter Dean, 1996, Toussaint L’ouverture: The Fight for Haiti’s Freedom, New York, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

The liberation of Haiti under Toussaint L’Ouverture, a freed slave who became general of the slave army, which rose against the French in 1791, is told in exciting, factual narrative and enhanced by bold, full-color paintings.

  1. Nesbitt, Nick, edited, 2008, Toussaint L’ouverture: The Haitian Revolution, London, Verso Books

In this collection of his writings and speeches, former Haitian politician Jean-Bertrand Aristide demonstrates L’Ouverture’s profound contribution to the struggle for equality.

  1. Parkinson, Wenda, 1978, ‘This Gilded African’: Toussaint L’Ouverture, London, Quartet Books

A story of bravery exemplified by leadership and military skills of the African who abolished slavery.

  1. Ros, Martin, translated by Ford-Treep, Karin, 1994, Night of Fire: The Black Napoleon and the Battle for Haiti, New York, Sarpedon Publishers, Inc.

Napoleon was forced to divert badly needed troops to deal with a slave army in Haiti led by General Toussaint Louverture and Jean Jacques Dessalines.

  1. Smartt Bell, Madison, 1995, All Souls Rising: A Novel of Haiti, New York, Vintage Books

In this first installment of his epic Haitian trilogy, Madison Smartt Bell brings to life a decisive moment in the history of race, class, and colonialism. A brutal rebellion that strove to overturn a vicious system of slavery, the uprising successfully transformed Haiti from a European colony to the world’s first Black republic.

  1. Smartt Bell, Madison, 2000, Master of the Crossroads, New York, Vintage Books

This second installment Bell’s trilogy of the Haitian Revolution, at the outset, Toussaint is a second-tier general in the Spanish army, which is supporting the rebel slaves’ fight against the French.   But when Toussaint is betrayed by his former allies and the commanders of the Spanish army, he reunites his army with the French, wresting vital territories and manpower from Spanish control.

  1. Smartt Bell, Madison, 2004, The Stone That the Builder Refused, New York, Pantheon Books

The Stone that the Builder Refused is the final volume of Madison Smartt Bell’s masterful trilogy about the Haitian Revolution–the first successful slave revolution in history.

Standards

Pennsylvania Common Core Standards

Social Studies/History: http://www.pdesas.org/CMap/CFramework