The abolitionist movements on the mainland of Great Britain are widely accepted as smaller groups of, “thoughtful committed citizens out to change the world.” (1) This was very different from many of the abolitionist movements (or rebellions in some cases) witnessed in cash crop producing colonies such as Bermuda and Saint Domingue. When researching for my term paper I realized that there was a trend of stronger acts of defiance taking place in colonies where sugar plantations were the dominating economy. As discussed in previous posts to this blog, sugar plantations implemented much more brutal and oppressive systems. The level of oppression would eventually lead to increased tensions and desperation within the slave community living in these areas.
Although the reactions and effects vary depending on the colony under observation, there is a significant difference in comparison to the timeline of abolition in the mainland of Great Britain. Academics support the interpretation of the Haitian Revolution as, “unplanned and uncoordinated actions,” from people who were less dedicated to the principles of upper-class white abolitionist groups. (2) The actors behind this rebellion were motivated by desperation. Desperation to end a system of oppression they could no longer physically and emotionally tolerate. The instigators of these movements initially did not have a long term agenda to follow their hopeful freedom. They simply could not live under the terrible conditions in the sugar plantations any longer. Do you think that these rebellions had any since of planning, or just the product of the eventual snap in the minds of the oppressed?
- Popkin, Jeremy D. You Are All Free: The Haitian Revolution and the Abolition of Slavery. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010. Print.