Some historians have argued that the French were less brutal to their slaves. Many point to their willings to free mixed raced children who were born to slave women and white colonials. However, in many ways their form of colonization, which saw them often importing large numbers of Africans to labor under backbreaking conditions, was more deadly and more inhumane than other empires. While mixed race and free blacks could enjoy more freedoms, the reality of producing labor intensive crops such as sugar forced French slave owners to employ harsh tactics to keep their money flowing.
This week's materials will see you learning about the history of sugar production, the role that mixed race Blacks played in maintaining slavery and the importance that the Haitian Revolution played in shaping global politics.
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Topic 1 - The World is Hooked on Sugar...still.
This first video isn't about the French Empire and it takes place in modern day times. However it gives a very striking look at how difficult sugar production is in 21st century. Please watch it because it gives us important context to how absolutely difficult life was for sugar plantation slaves in the 18th and 19th centuries.
1. Why is the process of producing sugar so difficult?
2. What are some of the key factors leading to the high death rates of sugar workers?
3. How do you feel knowing that the atrocities associated with this cash crop still exist today?
Topic 2 - The Haitian Revolution
You may also read this article for more context.
Topic 2 - Questions
1. How was the social structure of Saint Domingue different than Spanish and British colonies?
2. How did the French Revolution inspire enslaved Blacks?
3. How did mixed race people serve as a buffer class between whites and the enslaved?
4. How did the Haitian leaders, especially Toussaint Louverture, leverage their own interests against the competing European interests?
5. Why did Napoleon bring back slavery....what were the outcomes?
Topic 3 - The Haitian Revolution's Impact on the USA
1. How did the Haitian Revolution inspire the Lousiana Rebellion?
2. How did the Haitian Revolution force Napeleon into the Lousiana Purchase?
Topic 4 - The lasting impact of the Haitian Revolution
1. How and why did France and the US make Haiti poor?
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