The Slave Revolution and the Unfolding of Independence in Saint-Domingue 1801-1804

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Fick, Carolyn, Concordia University. "The Slave Revolution and the Unfolding of Independence in Saint-Domingue, 1801-1804." The Haitian Revolution: Viewed 200 Years After, an International Scholarly Conference. John Carter Brown Library, Providence, RI. June 19, 2004.


Following are rough notes of Fick's presentation, taken by Stuart Maxwell on June 19, 2004.

  • Toussaint was responding to changing attitudes in the French Constituent.
  • In 1794, freedom was extended to colonies.
  • In Toussaint's letter to the French Directory of November 5th, 1797, he took a stand of Republican values. This was perhaps the key turning point for Toussaint in defending Saint-Domingue's liberty.
  • Toussaint was acting in accord with the promises of (one version of) the French government.
  • Toussaints's stance put him directly in Napoleon's path.
  • Toussaint struck a blow at the ontological foundations of white supremacy and at the foundations of the colonial order (by being a former slave who declared himself governor).
  • Fick notes the places where Toussaint sowed the seeds of his downfall - the weaknesses in his Leclerc-era strategy.
  • The war of emancipation became a war of independence.

In response to questions:

  • By 1800, Toussaint was spending 60% of his budget on defense.
  • Leclerc launches the war, not Toussaint.