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DBQ, Causes of the French and Haitian Revolutions

Of all the Atlantic revolutions, the French and Haitian revolutions were extremely significant and effective in achieving many of their goals. The French Revolution was initiated by the bourgeoisie, or, upper-middle class. The Haitian Revolution similarly began when the upper class white groups, grands blancs and petit blancs, fought over representation. The revolutions were both successes, but each had setbacks and consequences as well.
The French and Haitian revolutions were both sparked from unexpected places. Many believe that the French revolution was a romantic uprising of the peasantry against the nobles and king, when it was actually planned and led by upper-middle class, bourgeoisie. A similar common belief about the Haitian revolution exists as well. It is typically believed that the nation of Haiti was the first successful slave uprising / slave nation, which it was, but it also was triggered by the tension caused by the grands and petit blancs. In the end the Revolutions were possible through the efforts of the poor peasants and slaves in each region.
French and Haitian revolutionaries achieved many of their goals, but each had setbacks. For instance, after Napoleon Bonaparte took power in France, many of their breakthroughs in civil liberty and social and economic equality were undone. Slavery was reinstated, women’s rights were repealed, and price controlling laws were lifted. The Haitian’s succeeded in permanently abolishing slavery, since the revolution was, in effect, a slave uprising. However after they gained this newfound freedom they descended into extreme poverty due to embargos by nations like the U.S; fearful of the influence that a prosperous slave nation would have on American slavery.
The French revolution was extremely bloody, whereas the Haitian revolution displayed an equal amount of hostility, but much less violent actions. The French revolution saw extensive use of the guillotine and they even beheaded their former king. Haitian revolutionaries merely drove out their white oppressors and forced their will upon the new nation. French revolutionaries went on a type of regicide, murdering anyone against the revolution or associated with nobility. The Haitian revolution was heavily based upon skin color and social and economic equality.
Both the French and Haitian revolutions were significant events in history. They had tremendous impact on the nations’ condition prior to their reforms. Without these revolutions the Atlantic world would be significantly different. Indubitably, the French and Haitian revolutions shared characteristics that made them effective revolutions and differences that reflected the discontent (social, economic, or political) of the specific inhabitants.

Atlantic Revolutions

Nationalism, Industrialization and Imperialism

Civilizations in Decline

Russia, Japan, and the West