History 2 BCC
François Dominique Toussaint L'Ouverture, Letter to the Directory
François Dominique Toussaint L'Ouverture was an educated former slave and soldier of the king that would eventually lead the revolution against French rule in Saint-Domingue. The prime objective of Toussaint’s letter to the Directory of France was to end colonial tyranny and declared an end to slavery in Saint-Domingue (Haiti) by utilizing the language of freedom and equality in reminisce of the French revolution. Toussaint fiercely pursued the abolition of slavery, as his letter warned the Directory of France against the reinstatement of slavery. Although Toussaint was captured in 1802 and executed in 1803 by the orders of Napoleon Bonaparte, his movement lived on. The French ultimately failed to recapture the island of Saint-Domingue, declaring the independent state of Haiti in 1804.
The Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique and Saint Domingue were very important to the French economy due to its high sugar trade and increasing its profits through slavery. After the Fall of Louis XVI The National Assembly was considering the question of rights for free men of color. Saint Domingue had 40,000 whites and 30,000 free people of color along with 500,000 slaves. In 1790 the free people of color sent a delegation to Paris to be seated, accentuating that they are property owners and some even of European descent. The assembly later refused to seat them sparking a rebellion among free people of color, which spoke of an independence from France. French colonial authorities suppressed the first rebellion quickly and brutally killed Vincent Oge, a member of the Delegation to Paris and leader of the first rebellion and most of his followers.
In 1791 Oge’s execution created an outrage resulting in the largest slave rebellion in history. Since the former leader of the rebellion was killed the British and Spanish decided to invade, believing they could annex the island during turmoil. Their venture ultimately failed forcing them back at sea. In 1792 the French government was at the verge of collapse due to the French Revolution, initiated in 1789, and was at war with the rest of Europe furthering their dependence on the sugar colonies. In 1793 scared of losing its sugar colonies, the French reconsidered their commitment to slavery and promised slaves their freedom if they joined the French military, this freedom was later extended to all the colonies. Toussaint like many other freed men of color decided to join the fight. The French Military emerged victorious in 1801 with the help of Toussaint and the freed slaves.
Toussaint was born a slave in 1743, on the Breda Plantation, where he was educated by his godfather Pierre Baptiste. Toussaint's life was changed when he came across a document while in his studies; a sentence out of Histoire Philosophique des deux Indeo by Abbe Raynal read “ The Negroes lack but a chief. Where is the great man? He...