Essay on Reviving The Crumbling Saint Domingue Economy

Essay on Reviving The Crumbling Saint Domingue Economy

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Reviving the crumbling Saint-Domingue economy was a crucial determining factor in France’s involvement with the colony. Toussaint’s ability to create a thriving economy would determine his position as a leader. If he was unable to create a stable economy, then there was someone else that could replace him. This revival was key to slavery not being re-imposed in the colony. Toussaint L’Ouverture had to prove that the Saint Domingue colony could succeed and be profitable within a slaveless economy. As much as he could comprehend the morality of ending slavery, he was also very aware of the importance slavery had to the West Indies in maintaining France’s economy. Although there are some arguments that state that slavery’s importance to their economy had decreased by the time of the Haitian Revolution. One was a persuasive argument presented in 1944 by Eric Williams that was disproved. But despite later arguments; around 1800 the prevalent thinking was the slavery was very economically important to plantation profitability. (Davis, 240) Toussaint had to establish St-Domingue’s economy and show that it could thrive with slaveless paid labor.
In order to reinforce to the people their duties, he had to involve his military personnel. They were reminded of their duties to Toussaint and to the St-Domingue colony. Toussaint laid out a set of rules that governed the population of St-Domingue. He ordered that if people could be found guilty of altering with the peacefulness of the public than they were sentenced to working in the fields. Any member of society that did not have a designated profession was ordered to work in the fields. In laying out these new rules and regulations, “much of the black population began resenting Toussaint L’...

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... to nothing. He knew that liberty was important to the colony, but also understood the fundamental importance of having a successful economy. He persevered even when those around him heavily resented him. As a military leader, Toussaint was idolized by his troops. He led by example and embarked on and shared their dangers. He was gifted with genius when it came to military tactics, despite what stereotypes other European generals had, and his guerilla style warfare was a huge success. In his time, Toussaint managed to win support from many of the former slaves, drove Spanish and British troops out of the colony, and defeated internal conflicts. During his time he also managed to make peace with revolutionary France following the abolition of slavery, until the return of Napoleon. Toussaint had completely conquered St-Domingue and abolished slavery on the island.

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