French and Haitian revolution are two significant revolutions that took place on the earth in modern times. Both the revolutions were inspired by the enlightenment. People who participated in these revolutions were certainly influenced by the enlightenment movement and refused to accept the forcefully imposed rules on them. French revolution attracted wider attention because France was a powerful nation while Haitian revolution is not that famous because of being less important in the global scenario. On the basis of such dissimilarities between these two nations, some may misinterpret French revolution of a greater importance and Haitian revolution of a lesser importance but that is not the truth (Popkin 35). This paper proposes a discussion on French and Haitian revolution along with analysing which revolution put the most important enlightenment principles into action in its own country.
French people, under the rule of Louis XVI, realised that they are bearing the burdens of unnecessary lavishness of the royal family. Lower and middle class of France was already overburdened and starving. Their condition deteriorated further under the reign of Louis XVI who substantially increased the taxes. Their anger and dissatisfaction and willingness to achieve liberty got the inspiration from the enlightenment movement. People were left with no options but to revolt against their king. They refused to tolerate tyrannical rule of Louis XVI and chose to revolt for their rights. (Hibbert 19)
Haitian revolution was a bit different from French revolution. People who revolted in Haiti were deprived of even civil and human rights in their own country. They were enslaved by their masters and were work for them in absolutely inhumane conditions. Haitian slaves were also shattered by the practices of their white masters. They were deprived of basic needs but their masters used to make huge amount of money. The enlightenment movement influenced Haitian slaves to think about their rights and to fight for their rights against their masters.
When French revolted against their rulers, a new society was made but when Haitians revolted against their rulers, a new country emerged on the map of the world. There were differences and similarities in both the revolutions. Napoleon Bonaparte supported the French revolution in his country and also took benefit of it but when he took control of France, he tried to crush Haitian revolutionists. Haitians fought a difficult war at different fronts in order to get their freedom that they deserved. They learnt and applied the principles of the enlightenment in their country. It may not be that important for other but for them, it turned out to be the most important thing that ever happened to them (Goucher and Walton 542).
French revolution, at the other hand was a very significant development that did not affect France only but it affected the world in a sense. French revolution paved the way of revolutions at other places including Haitian revolution. Both French and Haitian revolutions were influenced by the enlightenment and made people aware about their rights and encouraged them to change the society. French revolution had a larger effect and compass than the Haitian revolution because of its power and influence in the world. At the end, iIt can be said that Haitian revolution did not influence the world about implementation of enlightenment as the French revolution did but in its own country the influence was not lesser for Haitians.
Goucher, Candice and Walton, Linda. World History: Journeys from Past to Present – VOLUME 2. New York, NY: Routledge, 2013.
Hibbert, Christopher. The Days of the French Revolution. New York, NY: Harper Collins, 2012.
Popkin, Jeremy D. A Concise History of the Haitian Revolution. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons, 2012.