3-2: Big Trouble in Little Haiti


Toussaint L’Ouverture

Part 1 of 1: Read the following passage and answer the questions that follow.


How did the independence of Haiti change the course of world history?

Toussaint L’Ouverture was born in slavery in 1743 Haiti. The grandson of an African chief, Toussaint’s early life would be spent toiling under the lash of the whip in the profitable French Caribbean colony. Sugar was the cash crop in the Caribbean and with control of the Caribbean’s best sugar producing land the leaders of France grew wealthy and powerful throughout the seventeen hundreds. Meanwhile Toussaint was fortunate enough to escape the brutality of the sugar fields and instead he was educated by his owners and given a job as a coachman. In 1789 following the French Revolution, Toussaint used his ability to read (rare amongst the slaves of Haiti) to keep up on developments in France. Toussaint was one of the first in Haiti to read the Declaration of the Rights of Man and to understand its importance for slaves of Haiti….”all men are created equal”. Toussaint would lead a slave revolt in Haiti.

The effect of Toussaint L’Overture:


Toussaint led a successful slave uprising against the French, he abolished slavery and he established Haiti as an independent part of the French Empire. Napoleon, upon seizing power in France was desperate for the sugar revenue once provided by Haiti, reintroduces slavery into Haiti and he sends an army to enforce his will. Toussaint defeats Napoleon’s army however Toussaint is captured and jailed and eventually killed by Napoleon. Deprived of the sugar rich colony of Haiti and desperate for money, Napoleon has little use for the much larger Louisiana territory on the American mainland and sold it to the United States.


  1. What was the main reason for French interest in colonizing Haiti?
  2. What skill did Toussaint learn that most other slaves did not have?
  3. What was the name of the document that Toussaint read?
  4. What was so relevant about the document the Toussaint read?
  5. What were the long-term consequences of the Haitian Revolution?




Part 2 of 2:  Compare the goals of the French Revolution and the accomplishments of Toussaint L’Ouverture. Complete the chart by writing in Fulfilled or Unfulfilled in the last column.


Goals of the French Revolution


Accomplishments of Toussaint


Did Toussaint live up the goals of the French Revolution?
All men are equal Abolishes slavery on the island of Haiti
Government should protect natural rights Created a liberal constitution for Haiti protecting the rights of ALL citizens
A person is free to do as he chooses so long as he does not interfere with the rights of others Rebuilt war damage and increased trade and agriculture
Freedom of Religion (NO STATE RELIGION) Brought peace to the Haiti and the Dominican Republic
Rights to property and to representation in Government Protected the property rights of Haitians of all social classes
People will succeed based upon ability, not because of the class they are born into Rose from a slave to become the governor-general of Haiti leading the colony to independence. Inspired by the American and French Revolutions