The Cause of the Civil War and Haitian Revolution

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In a letter to James Madison, Thomas Jefferson once said “A little rebellion now and then is a good thing and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.” Rebellions is what was needed to lead up to the Civil War and Haitian Revolution and finally gain justice for slaves, but, it did take a little longer for the Civil War to actually happen. The reason for this was that there were more Africans in the Caribbeans rather than the Americas, which lead to a more African dominated region eventually giving them enough power to fight for their freedom. I chose to write about this topic because it was one of the greatest turning in history that included a lot of action.

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To start off, the Haitian Revolution, which began in 1791 and ended in 1804, not only ended slavery, but it also ended the French having control over the colony. Saint Domingue was the wealthiest colony of France because all of the sugar, indigo, coffee, and cotton that they produced. The crops called for many slaves to be placed there. In total, there were about 500,000 slaves and 30,000 free blacks compared to proximity 40,000 whites. After a course of many slave rebellions, the rebellion against the plantation owners led by Toussaint L’Overture is what first set off the Haitian Revolution. He abolished slavery in the Spanish-speaking colony and declared himself Governor-General for life over the entire island of Hispaniola. The effects of the Haitian Revolution was that it was the first black republic, it created the modern nation of Haiti, and there was a economic decline.

Years later, the Civil War finally took place in its footsteps. Abraham Lincoln was known as the president during this time. In the book ‘Slavery and Emancipation’ by Rick Halpern, , Enrico Dal Lago, and Enrico Dal Lago it was said that Lincoln had a moral theme when running for his presidency. The book states, “He emphasized that the best thinking of the of the Founding Fathers supported the current Republic position. He insisted that African Americans had to be included in the meaning of “all men” if the Declaration of Independence was to make sense. […] The founder, he said, realized that the nation at the outset did not live up to the ideas of the Declaration.” Racist crowds thought that this would lead to racial amalgamation, but in fact, Lincoln replied that he did not want to integrate Africans into Americans life as a political and social equals, but rather wanted them to return to Africa. In the end, Lincoln’s plan was favored since it was said that without a federal slave code for the territories, the Dred Scott decision was worthless. During the beginning of the war, on April 11, 1861, a final demand was sent out by General P. G. T. Beauregard to the Union garrison at Fort Sumter. Beauregard eventually attacked the fort and on April 14 the Confederate took it over. Mary Chestnut then wrote about her experience during the event saying,

The crowd was shouting and showing these two messengers of good news. They were escorted to Beauregard’s headquarters. Fort Summer had surrendered. […] When we calmed down, Colonel Chestnut, who had taken it all quietly though — if anything, more unruffled than than usual in his serenity — told us how the surrender came about. Wigfall was with them on on Morris Island when he saw the fire in the fort, jumper in a little boat, , jumper in a little boat and, with his handkerchief as a white flag, rowed over to Fort Sumter. Wigfall went in through a porthole. When Colonel Chestnut When Colonel Chestnut arrived shortly after and was received by the regular entrance, Colonel Anderson to him he had need to pick his way warily, for it was all mined. As far as I can make out, the fort surrendered to Wigfall. But it is all confusion. Our flag is flying there. Fire engines has been sent to put out the fire.

Not to long after Abraham Lincoln made his first call for 75,000 75,000 volunteers to join the Union Army. Ten times as many men as he requested had showed up and was ready for war. A year later he announced his ideas about the Emancipation Proclamation. In a diary, Sarah Morgan chose to defend slavery against Lincoln’s plan. She wrote,

If Lincoln could spend the grinding season on a plantation, he would recall his proclamation. As it is, he has only proved himself a fool, without injuring us. Why last evening I took old Wilson’s place at the bagasse shoot, and kept the rollers free from the cane until I had thrown down enough to fill several carts, and had my hands as black as his. What cruelty to slaves! And black Frank thinks me cruel too, when he meets me with a patronizing grin, and shows me the nicest vats of candy, and peels cane for me! Oh! Very cruel!

The Union troops would use hot air balloons fly at extremely high altitudes to spy on Confederate troops during the Civil War. This picture shows a balloon being blown up. It was in 1861 in the mouth of August that the first army balloon was made and named The Union. In a l month Lowe spied on Confederate troops residing at Fall’s Church, VA using his balloon that now went up to 1000 feet. The Union troops were able to accurately aim at enemy troops without actually seeing them. The success resulted in the establishment of the Balloon Corps. It gave the Union time to prepare a plan of defense.

Some of the short term effects of the Civil war were that the South rejoined the union under President Lincoln’s rule, and the North’s victory led to Lincoln creating the Emancipation Proclamation. The Emancipation Proclamation is what eventually freed slaves in the South. However, free blacks were still highly discriminated against. As a long term effect, it was not soon after the Emancipation Proclamation passed in 1863, that the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments were passed in 1865, 1868, and 1870. They stated that slavery was against the law (13th), that African Americans could become citizens and attain citizenship (14th), and supported the idea that race did not dictate a person’s ability to vote (15th). Other long term effects of the war not only had made slavery finally be abolished and gave some rights to blacks, but it also brought forth new innovations and industrialization since the south no longer had slaves to work for them they had no choice but to turn to work themselves.

Had there not been the Civil War or the Haitian Revolution there would still probably be no or less slavery anyway. As for the civil war, if it had not happened, they would have probably just stayed separate or forced the the South to corporate under the constitution. If there was no Haitian Revolution there would probably still not be slavery there being that there were so many Africans compared to the whites, making it a highly African influences society. So, they would most likely eventually gain their freedom either way.  

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