What are some similarities and differences between the American and Haitian Revolutions?Focus on causes and effects of both revolutions.

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rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Both the Haitian and American Revolutions were motivated to some extent by ideas of natural rights.  In Haiti, planters justified demands for their own independence in these terms, free men of color did the same, and ultimately slaves did too. Both struggles involved violent domestic conflict, especially the Haitian Revolution and the American Revolution in the southern backcountry.

Both involved, of course, immense slave populations, but slaves rose up to win independence and freedom in Haiti, while thousands fled to British lines during the American Revolution. Ultimately, however, the Haitian Revolution was followed almost immediately by violent civil war, while the American Revolution was followed by a counter-revolutionary Constitution that was intended to squelch much popular political participation, dissent, and disorder.

For obvious reasons, the Haitian Revolution excited slave populations in America (Gabriel's Revolt in Richmond has been linked to the Haitian Revolution as well as to the turmoil caused by the disputed ending to the election of 1800) and terrified American slave owners, including many, like President Thomas Jefferson, who had been revolutionary leaders themselves.