Toussaint L'ouverture Thesis

Excerpt from Thesis :

Toussaint succeeded to gain people's trust and support in his revolutionary ideas precisely because he disagreed with the first manifestations of revolt against the French. They were conducted themselves only by rules of destruction. After the defeat and condemnation of Oge, the new risings swept across the island: "The slaves awoke as if from an ominous dream. Under one of their class, named Boukman, a man of Herculean strength, who knew not what danger was, the negroes on the night of August 21st, 1791, arose in the terrific power of brute force. Gaining immediate success, they rapidly increased in numbers, and grew hot with fury. They fell on the plantations, slaughtered their proprietors, and destroyed the property. Such progress did the insurrection make, that on the 26th, the third of the habitations of the Northern Department were in ashes. In a week from its commencement the storm had swept over the whole plain of the North, from east to west, and from the mountains to the sea."

Toussaint proved to be a born leader with military skills. He was wise enough to gather the best men for the battle around him. His ability to lead, his intelligence and wise decisions convinced his men of his capacities and completely and definitively won their trust and support. He was able to persuade his men to fight on the side of the French, against the Spanish and the British, knowing the French Republic will support the ideals of a nation free of slavery.

After becoming governor, Toussaint Louverture used wise politics in the reconstruction and restoring of the economy on an island devastated by wars and revolts. He allowed to those who ran away to return and start working their lands again, he established economic and diplomatic relationships with the United States and Great Britain and he disapproved and even got rid of those who were not only immoral, but highly extremist, such as the case of Leger-Felicite Sonthonax. He believed in discipline, but not in corporal punishment and made use of military discipline when necessary.

Louverture got rid of another colony nostalgic representative of the government of France, Hedouville and also forced the black leader of a state in the south, Rigaud, to leave power. Thus, he became the governor for life and gave the island a new constitution.

Unfortunately, Napoleon did not appreciate Toussaint's courage and intelligence, his ability to lead his people and gain victories over French, British and Spanish armies. He was only seeing in Louverture an obstacle in his way to reestablish an empire. The colonies were for Napoleon nothing, but what they used to be for the rich European kingdoms for centuries: source of wealth and nothing more. As a consequence to such considerations, Napoleon sent his brother-in-law to seize St. Domingo and make it a fench colony again.

In 1802, after having fought against general Leclerc's troops and lost a few of his officers who passed to the other side, the brave governor signed a treaty with the France, provided slavery will never be reinstated. Unfortunately, he was arrested and brought to France where he died in prison, soon after that.

Toussaint Louverture became a symbol for freedom as a black who fought for the abolition of slavery on a continent subjugated by colonial powers and suffocated by enslaved workers. Inspired by the French and the American revolution, Louverture marked the opening towards independence and freedom for all its citizens for the first time in the New World. Although many details of his biography remain obscure, his life achievements prove of a man with high moral standards, incorruptible, courageous and with great military, leadership and managerial skills. He knew how to gather armies and fight when it was the case, but he also knew how to work towards reconstruction after the devastating wars and how to set the frame for economic and diplomatic relations with the U.S. And Great Britain.

Corbett, Bob. The Haitian Revolution of 1791-1803. Retrieved: Oct 15, 2009. Available at:

Beard, John Relly. Documenting the American South. Toussaint L'Ouverture: A Biography and Autobiography: Electronic Edition. Retrieved: Oct 15, 2009. Available at:

Toussaint Louverture. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved: Oct 15, 2009. Available at:

Mossell, Charles.W. Gragnon-Lacoste, Thomas Prosper. Toussaint Louverture, the Hero of Saint Domingo. 1890.. Ward & Cobb, 1896

Sources Used in Document:

Toussaint Louverture. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved: Oct 15, 2009. Available at:

Mossell, Charles.W. Gragnon-Lacoste, Thomas Prosper. Toussaint Louverture, the Hero of Saint Domingo. 1890.. Ward & Cobb, 1896

Cite This Thesis:

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