70 years before the US Civil War, slaves initiated a rebellion in 1791 and by 1803 that had succeeded in ending not just slavery, but French control over one of the most profitable colonies at the time.
The Haitian revolution is considered the largest and most successful slave rebellion in the western hemisphere. It may be one of the most significant and interesting events in recent history that hardly any one knows about. Also I would argue that the colony would have been just as profitable and if not even more successful if slavery, racism and the tension intrinsic never existed. It in fact led to the loss of the colony from the original profiteers and a whoooole lot of bloodshed.
During the fighting many Americans were surprised to learn how affluent and prevalent black families were in the colony. So much so that they tried to prevent refugees from disembarking their boats while fleeing to the US. It was very common for white men to marry up into the affluent families by marrying black women. Once the men started shouting in French that they would not leave their wives, the bewildered Americans had to oblige.
It was the slaves of these and also white affluent families on the island that were organizing a revolution for their freedom.
This all coincided with the French Revolution, yet ironically, sadly, and typically enough, many did not believe the principals of the French Revolution and Declaration of the Rights of Man should apply to those of other races or women, even property holding individuals considered full citizens. As a sidenote, during part of the French Revolution due process of law for executions had been totally abandoned to stop anyone critical of the revolution for the “rights, liberty and freedoms of the individual” Please see: Yeah Yeah Yeah’s Heads will roll – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=auzfTPp4moA
Some did agree and the fight for complete realization of these universal and “God” given rights continues to this day.
The Haitian revolution is another example of how time after time events prove that the idea of cultural, racial, gender, sexual or class division is a farce when it comes to the rights provided by states, nations or any governing institution. Only within reasonable regulation that works to correct any inequalities such as school integration, emancipation and destruction of apartheid policies (think South Africa, and also think mandatory prison sentencing, death penalty, repeal of daca) I want to note on daca repeal that I am not a fan of executive orders overriding congressional check and balance, but at any rate…it is here however it got here and should stay while it gets a congressional stamp to approve it if exec orders are “really” the issue.
The issue is that our institutions are extremely racist, sexist, intolerant, non-inclusive and sickeningly immoral. We just don’t see it yet, like our founding fathers didn’t see it when they failed to abolish slavery and provide the ability for all women and men to vote with the new constitution and bill of rights framed under the pretense of freedom and liberty for all.
It would do us a lot of good to contemplate what occurred during the French Revolution, and the Haitian Revolution to apply what is right not pre-emptively, but as it is required now!
tl;dr : History is neat. If we play our cards right we may not seem like such barbarians for what we don’t see as severe moral injustices, action or non-action, sooooo if you want to check some out –
http://www.revolutionspodcast.com/ (Mike Duncan – Little dry and heavy on narrative but crazy informative and well written.
http://www.thehistoryofrome.typepad.com/ (Mike Duncan again, through the entire history of Rome our spiritual Americans)
http://www.dancarlin.com/hardcore-history-series/ (Dan Carlin is the man, crazy interesting even for non history geeks. Start with anything but WW1 bc it’s dense.
and my new favorite –
http://historyonfirepodcast.com/ (Daniele Bolleli, not as seasoned as Dan Carlin but really knows his stuff and topics are amazing. His episodes Conquest of Mexico and Caravaggio are sooo interesting.)
psbtw – i didn’t source or cite any of the above, but its good to check what people post so dont trust me – look that shit up!