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Emancipation - Charles Hargrave Dr Williams The Price of...

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Charles Hargrave Dr. Williams 11/4/07 The Price of Freedom After the French Revolution, the repercussions of enlightenment spread throughout the European world. Post emancipation countries and colonies were reluctant to give up their power over blacks for fear that a new free peasant class system would cripple their economy. White planters acted swiftly to curtail the rights of blacks while, taxing them into submission and forcing them into labor. Despite the Planters mitigating their rights, blacks acted radically to create movements towards the rights of liberty, equality, and fraternity that had been promised to them. French Buccaneers under the contract of King Louis XIV were the first to establish a settlement on the island of Tortuga. Tortuga would later renamed to Saint- Dominigue after the French West India Company took control of the settlement. In a short period of time, Planters and farmers began to grow crops such as tobacco and cotton on the island. St. Dominigue, along with Jamaica, had become one of the producers of sugar and coffee in the entire western hemisphere. Along with great production and export comes a great need for a laboring class and in a short period of time Africans slaves were being imported from their native land. The island grew substantially economically in result to the great trade that was based off of the agriculture. Saint Dominigue was nicknamed "The Pearl of the Antilles" for it's great success. The French began to utilize these slaves but before long there was a mixing of the African and French cultures that led to the birth of many half french half colored children. These mulattoes were not extended the privileges a white man was born with. The French planters feared a slave rebellion in the near future. This widespread panic
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resulted in the instituting of the Gen de Couleur, a system that put races into very tight class arrangements. In 1789 the French revolution and and age of enlightenment helped spark revolution within Saint-Domingue. There was a murmur of how enlightened ideals would effect the colony and the Mulattoes began to ask for more rights because they believed they were deserving of the rights of man. They considered themselves children of the revolution and demanded full civil and political rights. The mulattoes were afraid that if they loosed the slaves they would not retain any of there power as mulattoes. They were not about to create a new class of peasantry to be released unto their island. In 1791 slaves from Haiti revolted and set the French plantations on fire. They wanted political rights and land, they wanted freedom. This was a revolt to free their people. The colonists were left crippled and helpless by the attacks. Things would never be the same after this slave revolution because although poor, a new free class had emerged. Socially the slaves posed a threat to all of the Caribbean. The Haitians were a dangerous role model for slaves all over the world.
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