Analysis of Atlantic Revolutions

By:Mitchell Daniel

The Haitian Revolution

  • The Haitians had a decent relationship with the French at one point in time. When Toussaint Louverture took over the colony and placed rules, the Haitians did not respond to this well. The former slaves were required to work, just like in the times of slavery, and many of the rules were not changed. The main difference was the former slaves were paid. Eventually the slaves did get fed up with the rules and policies set up by Louverture. As stated by a former slave, “Whatever my old uncle (Louverture) may do, I cannot bring myself to be the executioner of my own color. It is always in the interests of the metropolis that he scolds me; but these interests are those of the whites, and I shall only love them when they have given me back the eye that they made me lose in battle” (The Watson Institute for International Studies). This quote not only expresses the general opinion of the people in Haiti on Louverture and the French. As stated in the beginning of the quote, the man does not agree with the way that Louverture is treating his people. Louverture is mainly making rules such as these to please the French who control the colony. At this point relations between the Haitians and the French were not good. Louverture then wrote independence statements and the French invaded making relations hateful. The French wanted to reinstate slavery within the colonies after Louverture turned and sided with his people. This is why the French invaded. These actions really set the tone of the relations in the colony of Haiti for the years until Haiti was able to achieve their independence. This primary source that I provided above, helped prove that Louverture's rule caused more revolutions to occur, eventually leading to the independence of the colony. Because the French wanted to have slavery, the relationship with Haiti was not good. This is why Louverture first tried to run the colony like the French wanted, but eventually he did side with his people. This caused the French to invade, leading to more fighting like I stated above. This is how the relationship between the French and the Haitians affected the revolutions within the colony.

  • Toussaint Louverture: Louverture was the leader of the Haitian colony, which was still owned by the French, he just made sure that there would be no slavery within the colony again. The issue with this was the French wanted to have slavery, and Louverture then placed rules over the colonies that did not please the people or the French. Life for the former slaves was almost the same, except they were being paid. The former slaves did not like this so they began to rebel against Louverture. At this point these rebellions directly led to Louverture siding with his people and begin writing independence documents. He led his people into battle against the French in one of the first fights against the French. When Louverture sided with his people, this directly being responsible for them and being the leader they need to defeat the French. He was eventually captured by the French, and many of his men sided with the French, but many did not give up. Eventually the colony of Haiti was freed from the rule of the French.

  • Napoleon Bonaparte: Napoleon Bonaparte was the leader of the French army. He led his troops in the colony of Haiti when Toussaint Louverture began to write independence documents. Bonaparte felt that he would lose control of the colony if he were to wait and invade. This is why he decided to swiftly invade and take complete control of the colony as fast as he could. He took about the half the colony very fast and many of the people within the colony were siding with the French. Even men in louverture’s army were joining the French. When the French captured Louverture, it looked hopeless for those fighting the French. There was a small group that stayed together to make sure Haiti would never have slavery again. Eventually Napoleon was defeated in Haiti and the people of Haiti were able to demonstrate their will to keep slavery out of their colony.

  • The ideologies behind the Haitian revolution was mostly based off of how the people of the colony wanted to to live and how the French wanted his people to live. The French wanted to have a large economy in the colony, and the only to achieve this was to have slavery within the colony. The people wanted to have freedom within the colony and even with slavery banned after Louverture took over as governor, with the French still owning the colony, life for the former slaves did not change much other than pay was added. Eventually fighting broke out when the French invaded. At this point the ideology of the French of the Haitians was, “Here is my opinion of this country. We must destroy all of the negroes in the hill, men and women, sparing only children under twelve… and leave behind not a man of color who has worn a epaulette [ornament on a military uniform that signifies rank]- without this the colony will never be at peace” (The Watson Institute for International Studies). This quote helps show the change that the ideology of the Haitians changed over time. The French originally wanted to have peace within the colony, and to just own the colony, rather than enforcing all of the rules. During the times of the revolutions the French changed their ideology to taking over the colony and having full control.

  • The people of Haiti felt that their independence should be a free country in which there was no slavery and people could make their own decisions. The French felt otherwise. To have a profitable colony, they felt that having slavery would be the best option for economic success. This is why when Louverture sided with his people and began to show signs of independence, they attacked Haiti to reinstate slavery and once again have a profitable colony. Many the people of Haiti did give up once the rebels were mostly defeated and Louverture captured. The Haitians were eventually able to defeat the French, achieving their goal of freedom. This will to keep fighting is what really had a huge impact on the success of the Haitians. Without the drive and the courage, independence would have never been able to be achieved. The Haitians were able to prove that their country was more valuable to them than the French. As stated by a former slave expressing his gratitude for his freedom from the French, “We should not forget that the freedom that you and I enjoy today… is largely due to the great stand taken by the black sons of Haiti…” (The Watson Institute for International Studies). This quote helps show the impact of the Freedom on the people of Haiti. It also expresses the brave stand the Haitians took standing up against the French.

  • The new government that was formed after the revolutions was very weak. When the Haitians gained their freedom, they went from one of the wealthiest colonies to one of the most impoverished. So even though the independence was thought to be a significant accomplishment, the independence had a direct negative impact not only on the economy but on the colony itself. Haiti’s environment was greatly degraded during the fighting and during the attempt to create a successful economy. This was from the plantations being burned and building being burned to prevent the French from using them and reinstating slavery. There was also major conflict over the land ownership and the colony had crippling war debts from fighting the French. As shown, even though the Haitians were able to achieve independence, their colony did not become a success and even today, the country is very poor.

The Mexican Revolution

  • The relationship between the Spanish and the Mexicans was that the Spanish Conquistadors treated themselves well, while treating the Mexicans terribly. It was said that the first rebel attack was because of the oppression that the people of Mexico were living in. Meaning that the people of Mexico did not have a good relationship with the Spanish. This is similar to the relationship that the Haitians had with the French. The French wanted to treat the people of Haiti poorly by reinforcing slavery. This represents the similar methods that the Europeans used in conquering other lands. Having a colony often meant treating the people bad to make profits on the economy. As stated in a letter written by a Mexican colonist, “It had ever been the policy of Spain not only to wring from Mexico and the other Indies the produce of their mines and peculiar wealth, but to prohibit them from the pursuit of all industry which would conflict with the interests of the mother country” (Mexican Independence). This quote expresses the horrible way in which the Spanish Treated the people of Mexico. This quote also helps prove the similarity between the way that the Mexicans were treated and the way the Haitians were treated. Although, the Mexicans were not subjected to slavery like the Haitians, most of their freedom and rights were abused. The treatment of both of these people shows the similarity between the ideals of the French and the Spanish as well. Neither were looking for the best relationship with their colonies, which can be observed from the way they treated the people, instead the Europeans were looking to expand trade and grow their economies.

  • Don Miguel Hidalgo: Don Miguel Hidalgo was a Roman Catholic Priest who is known as the “Father of the Mexican Revolution”. Soon, after becoming priest he began to promote the idea of an uprising against the wealthy Spanish land-owners. Hidalgo organized secret meetings to plot against the Spanish, and he eventually began an independence movement. He directed this independence movement at the Spanish colonial government, and foreign rulers of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Hidalgo began the independence movement that would forever shape Mexico.

  • José María Morelos: After the death for Miguel Hidalgo who was captured and executed and trying to escape with his troops at the battle of the bridge of Calderón, José María Morelos assumed the leadership of the revolutionary army. Under his initial leadership, he was able to take the two cities from the Spanish. After this point much fighting continued until Mexican Independence had been achieved. José María Morelos was a great leader for his people and the soldiers that he led into battle.

  • King Ferdinand VII: King Ferdinand VII took rule over France after being released from prison. He had been captured by Napoleon Bonaparte after he invaded Spain in 1808. To suppress the Mexican independence movement, King Ferdinand had to reluctantly sign a Spanish Constitution. When this was being signed, the rebels in Mexico saw this as an opportunity to finally take control of Mexico. This idea was successful and shortly after, the Spanish signed the Treaty of Córdoba which was based off of the terms of the Plan de Iguala. This was the plan that was used to gain Mexican independence. What the plan stated was that, “declared that Mexico would be independent, its religion is to be Roman Catholicism, and its inhabitants were to be united, without distinction between Mexican and European” (Mexican War of Independence). This plan was something that both the rebels and the patriots could agree upon, leading the Mexicans independence. The independence plan did allow the Spanish Monarchy to have limited power in Mexico.

  • The ideologies of this revolution were that the Spanish were not giving the Mexicans enough representation within the government and the rights that were not given. The people of the Mexican colonies were not treated with respect. These ideologies differed from those of the Haitians. While both people were being treated badly, the Mexicans wanted more representation and rights while the Haitians just wanted freedom. They had been worked as slaves for so long, freedom is all that was being asked. Although the Mexicans did not receive as much freedom as the Haitians, the Mexicans had a reliable government to support their growing colony whereas the Haitians didn’t.

  • The people of Mexico viewed independence as having more representation such as more local governments. Also they defined their independence as allowing the Spanish Monarchy to have very limited control over the colony and Europeans were allowed into the colony as well. Basically, somewhat of a relationship was still made between the mother country and the colony even though the fighting. This view of independence was much different from the Haitian view of independence. After being enslaved for so long by the French, they wanted nothing to do with the French. The Haitians tried to create their own government because they wanted complete freedom. Here are two primary sources that show the views of each colony on independence. “In the end we must live independent or die…” (The Watson Institute for International Studies). That was a quote from the Haitian Declaration of Independence. “It had ever been the policy of Spain not only to wring from Mexico and the other Indies the produce of their mines and peculiar wealth, but to prohibit them from the pursuit of all industry which would conflict with the interests of the mother country.” (Mexican Independence). These primary sources are able to prove the difference in the views of independence because the first one is stating that the people would rather die than to live under any rule of the French. This is why they are doing everything in their power to make sure that they achieve total freedom. The second quote differs from this one because it is a letter that is expressing the things that the Spanish have done to make the Mexicans rebel. This includes not giving the colonists enough rights and representation. While this does sound like bad treatment like the Haitians, the Mexicans just want to have full representation and rights rather than full independence. Having the Spanish government would help them prosper and grow.

  • After the Mexican revolution, the economy of Mexico began to decline because of the lack of Spanish rule. Although Mexico was still technically under Spanish rule, they were providing no help for the Mexicans. As time went on the GDP levels dropped drastically and so did the amount of trade. Such as the Haitians colony, not having a string government such allowed for economic failure within both of the colonies. Eventually though Mexico would recover unlike Haiti who is still trying to keep it together today. Mexico on the other hand is growing today and making much more progress than Haiti. Mexico completely got rid of the Spanish in 1801. The Spanish monarchy did not have much control over Mexico for long. Iturbide was proclaimed the Emperor of Mexico so that there would be a central leader such as in the Spanish government.

American Revolution

Relationships between colony and mother country

  • The colonies were seen largely as business ventures. Through the charters that England set up for colonists the English monarch defined the territory assigned to the colony, ensured that the crown would receive a portion of the mineral resources found in the colony, described the procedures by which the colony would be governed and guaranteed the settlers would retain the full rights and privileges of Englishmen. “Our subjects which shall dwell and inhabit within every or any of the said several colonies and plantations, and every of their children, which shall happen to be born within any of the limits and precincts of the said several colonies and plantations shall have and enjoy all liberties, franchises, and immunities within any of our other dominions, to all intents and purposes, as if they had abiding and born within this our realm of England.” The rulers of England believed that the colonies in the New World existed to strengthen the mother country. Mercantilist policies led England’s rulers to see the New World as a source of raw materials. The American colonies were expected to export food and basic commodities to the mother country and their sister colonies. In addition, the colonies produced indigo, cotton, and furs for the workshops of England. Lumber tar and hemp from the colonies equipped England’s growing navy. In times of war, England made use of the ships built in the colonies, drafted colonial sailors to serve in the English navy and enlisted colonial militias to fight in North America. In return, the colonies were protected by the English military from attacks by England’s European rivals and their Native American allies. In the beginning England and the American colonies did have a good economical and social relationship unlike the other colonies that I expressed above.
    • George Washington was one of the most influential people on the American side during the American Revolution. He proved to be the best general to be in charge of the American Revolution. He provided positive influence for his troops and kept his troops going throughout the war. In the early years of the war George Washington would fight on the front lines. In the end however, he still led his troops, but they were much more experienced and he fought to provide motivation to keep fighting until the very end. Not only with this he also had political and diplomatic tasks to complete as well. This proved him to be a very organized person, one who is worthy of being the president. He was eventually elected the First President of the United States. Washington was able to lead his army through everything. He fought his troops through every battle, win or loss. He stayed with them until the very last battle of Yorktown. This was the battle in which the Americans were victorious and made the British surrender. As the first President of the United States and a famous military commander, George Washington is known as one of the most important people in American history.

    • Baron von Steuben was a Prussian general that came to aid George Washington in his attempt to train his troops. He taught the troops how to survive, fight, and prepare for battle. He also taught many things that were not tradition. As shown in this quote, Steuben did not teach the Americans the traditional way to fight. He taught them how to beat the British. “Von Steuben shocked many American officers by breaking tradition to work directly with the men. One officer wrote of von Steuben's "peculiar grace" as he took "under his direction a squad of men in the capacity of drill sergeant." From dawn to dusk his familiar voice was heard in camp above the sounds of marching men and shouted commands. Soon companies, regiments, and then brigades moved smartly from line to column, column to line, loaded muskets with precision, and drove imaginary redcoats from the field by skillful charges with the bayonet” (Valley Forge). When the troops came out of Valley Forge, those who made it, they were well trained and were able to fight the British. The intervention of Baron von Steuben was very important to the success of the Americans in the war. Without the intervention of von Steuben, the American army may have not been able to defeat the British. The American troops would have not been able to even compete with the British. This shows that Baron von Steuben had a long term impact on the Americans and their success within it.


    • Ridiculous amounts of taxations should not be imposed on citizens without fair representation that knows of the laws that its citizens would approve of. The ideal of democracy went as far back as the middle ages in 1215. English nobles forced King John to accept limits to his powers in the magna carta. John Locke stated that the authority of the government came from the approval of the people. Locke believed that government was not legitimate without “the consent of society, over whom no body can have a power to make laws but by their own consent. Locke concluded that the people had the right to revolt against a ruler who broke the contract between the government and the governed. This is what was a great influences on the American Ideologies. Colonists began asking if they were obligated to obey laws passed without their consent in the mid 1700s.
Beliefs Regarding Independence

  • The Americans wanted complete independence from the mother country. This relates to the similar ideologies of the Haitians. Both wanted to have complete independence over their mother countries. Americas being Britain and the Haitians being the French. The American’s beliefs were similar to those of the Mexicans because both wanted more representation and more rights within their colonies. This is expressed through both of their independence documents. The Americans document was the Declaration of Independence that expressed the American Ideologies of Independence. From the Declaration of Independence a quote is, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.” (Declaration). This quote is from the beginning of the document and expresses that men should have rights to form a new government when the current government needs to be abolished.
Strengths and Weaknesses after the Revolution.
  • Once the American colonies had gained independence from their mother country, the government was weak, but it gained strength and the American colonies began to prosper. The document that was formed was called the American constitution and it listed out the rights that all Americans would have. Many of these rights were based on the enlightenment thinkers ideas about rights. One of the main contributors was John Locke. The constitution was able, in time, to create a large and strong central government that would forever shape the world power that is present in our world today.