Sunday, November 23, 2014

Gran Colombia Gets Independence

     Why is it essential to acknowledge human value regardless of race? How are the events in the Latin American Revolutions evidence of this social imperative? The past few days in class we've been focusing on Latin American revolutions to help come up with an answer to this question. We were split into three groups and assigned a revolution; Mexico, Brazil or Gran Colombia. My group got Gran Colombia and we decided it is important to think about this question because racial inequality has been a part of the world's history for a long time, and it is important to understand this social imperative in other countries in addition to the United States. 

     This timeline shows the events of the Latin American revolution in Gran Colombia. In class we were briefed on the timelines for the revolutions in Brazil and Mexico. All of the revolutions ended in independence due to the strong leaders each nation had. Gran Colombia was lead by Bolivar. Mexico had Miguel Hidalgo, and Brazil had the courageous Pedro and King John VI. Another similarity that we observed is that race was an issue in all of the revolutions. For Brazil, at first Jose da Silva Xavier was killed because he did not pertain an elite status and Pedro tried to make the Portuguese the only people with power. In Mexico, Miguel called for the end of 300 years of racial inequality. Bolivar's main goal was to liberate New Granada from Spanish control in Gran Colombia. Though there many similarities seen between these revolutions there were also some differences. For example, Brazil's revolution resulted in an empire where Mexico's produced a republic. During the times of war Brazil had Portuguese monarchy that came over to rule. Gran Colombia was controlled by the dictorial powers that Bolivar managed to have over Caracas. 

     America is very lucky to have already gotten rid of most racial injustices. We had great leaders like Martin Luther King Junior who worked very hard during the civil rights movement to gain equality for African American people. Recently in St. Louis, Missouri, a white off duty police officer shot and killed a young black man. This is seen as a racial injustice and there have been protests throughout the city. I think it is still important to consider race in our society today so that we can prevent revolutions like those fought in Gran Colombia, Brazil and Mexico. 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

L'Ouverture's Legacy

Martin Luther King Junior is known for being one of the greatest leaders in the world's history. He pertained the qualities of honesty, moral leadership and political skill. King used these very important aspects to peacefully fight for civil rights. It is important to remember the incredible legacy King left behind. We remember Martin Luther King Junior as a civil rights leader. Though not equally as peaceful, Toussaint L'Ouverture was also a great leader. He used political skill, moral leadership and honesty to fight for the freedom of slaves in Saint Domingue during the late 1700's and early 1800's. L'Ouverture took many actions in a lot of different parts of Saint Domingue's society and government to make change. Someone who did such amazing things for a nation must be remembered. Because he did so much for Saint Domingue, in what way should Toussaint L'Ouverture be remembered? For his incredible work to change the history of the island, we remember him as a liberator of the slaves, military commander and ruler of Saint Domingue.

    Toussaint L'Ouverture though he did many great things should be most remembered as a liberator of slaves. His work to free the slaves made him the courageous military commander and ruler he was. L'Ouverture's work to free the slaves had the greatest impact on Saint Domingue. The Timeline of Abolition in Saint Domingue shows that Toussaint L'Ouverture, during times of war, always fought in favor of abolishing slavery. In 1791-1792 Toussaint fought against the French and in 1794 when the French abolished slavery he fought on their side. (Doc. A) Starting in 1796 L'Ouverture again fought against the French again because they wanted to reinstate slavery. (Doc. A) This shows that Toussaint was very dedicated to freeing the slaves. In a letter to the French Directory in November 1797 L’Ouverture wrote, “ We have known how to confront danger to our liberty, and we will know to confront death to preserve it.” (Doc. B) In this quote he is threatening to fight the French if they take away the liberties that were given to the slaves. When L’Ouverture issued The Saint Domingue Constitution of 1801, he made sure one of the first articles protected the slaves. Article 3 states, “There cannot exist slaves in this territory, servitude is therein forever abolished. All men are born, live and die free and French.” (Doc. C) Because of Toussaint L’Ouverture’s endless efforts to fight against slavery, he created an incredible legacy. It is important to remember L’Ouverture as a liberator of slaves.
    In addition to freeing the slaves of Saint Domingue, Toussaint L’Ouverture was a military commander and for that we should remember him. His legacy includes fighting in many wars to protect the rights of slaves. During these battles, L’Ouverture proved to be a very strong leader. He proves this quality when he reacted to Moyse, a commander of the Northern Department, ordering people to kill all white plantation owners. Madison Smartt Bell in, Toussaint Louverture: A Biography, 2007 wrote, “he ordered the mutineer regiments… to step out of the ranks and blow their own brains out. . . . Toussaint ordered Moyse’s arrest....” (Doc. E) Moyse was L’Ouverture’s nephew, so the harsh punishments L’Ouverture set upon him show that he is a great military commander because he can put personal relationships aside and protect the land he loves. The people gave L’Ouverture the title, ‘heroic chief.’(Doc. F) In addition to dealing with the revolt on the Northern Plain, he took many actions to successfully drive the Spanish and English off Saint Domingue. In the excerpt, “A Description of Toussaint Louverture” from 1863, William Wells Brown wrote, “Toussaint levied fresh forces, raised the reputation of the army, and drove the English and Spanish from the island. . . .” (Doc. F) Toussaint L’Ouverture, “gained the confidence of all whom he had under his command.” (Doc. F) because he was such a great military commander and it is important to remember him as such.

    Saint Domingue was successful because of the wonderful liberator of slaves and military commander the had, but what about their ruler? Toussaint L’Ouverture’s memorable legacy also includes ruling Saint Domingue. As ruler, L’Ouverture issued a constitution and a few proclamations. These orders kept control of the people, trade, government and the land. It was important to L’Ouverture to keep up the country’s prosperity even when there were no longer slaves working on plantations. As ruler he had to monitor Saint Domingue’s trade and income. In The Saint Domingue Constitution of 1801 under Title VI: Culture and Commerce, Toussaint L’Ouverture declared, “The colony being essentially agricultural cannot suffer the least disruption in the work of its cultivation. . . . Each plantation. . . shall represent the quiet haven of an active and constant family, . . .” (Doc. C) After issuing such an important document to help the success of the nation and still seeing people not working, L’Ouverture was upset. He then issued the “Proclamation, 25 November 1801.” In this proclamation he wrote, “Any individual . . . tending to incite sedition shall be brought before a court martial and be punished in conformity with the law.” (Doc. D) L’Ouverture put strong rules in place to make sure people were working, so that the country could still trade and make money. The financial success of Saint Domingue was very important to L’Ouverture. This passion is a reason why we remember Toussaint L’Ouverture as a ruler of Saint Domingue.

Although L’Ouverture is no longer alive today, it is still important we remember him, his legacy and his leadership qualities. Martin Luther King Junior, someone more commonly remember had the same leadership qualities as L’Ouverture and fought for the rights of black people during the 1950’s and 1960’s. King is remember specifically as a civil rights leader and his inspiring legacy will forever be remembered. L’Ouverture also fought for the rights of black people. His legacy is extremely important to the history of Saint Domingue. Today we remember Toussaint L’Ouverture as a liberator of slaves, military commander and ruler of Saint Domingue.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Is France a Failure?

     Were the revolutions of 1830 and 1848 really failures as many historians have concluded? During 1830 and 1848 revolts were a trend throughout Europe, all for various reasons. To learn about these breakouts our class was split into groups and then assigned a revolt. We read primary sources to teach us about these rebellions and created short quizzes for the other groups to take. We used our devices to make quizzes on the app, Survey Monkey. By reading the primary sources and taking the quizzes we learned that not all the revolts were highly successful, but should they be considered a failure?

     My group focused on the France 1830 revolt. The French rebels wanted to remove Charles X from power. His ideas of absolutism were not admired. The rebels were also not fond of Charles X's decision to limit the rights of the press. In the "July Ordinances" Charles wrote, "The liberty of the periodical press is suspended." The rebels were upset that their rights were being taken away and wanted a ruler who was for the people. After taking over the streets of Paris the rebels got what they wanted. Charles X abdicated the crown and fled to England. The "Orleanist Manifesto" declared, "Charles X can no longer return to Paris... The Duke of Orleans is a citizen king," The Duke of Orleans, Louis Phillipe, was for the people. In this revolt the rebels got what they wanted. Charles X was removed from power and they got their rights restored by Louis Phillipe. Though the French people did not gain full freedom they still were partially successful. The France 1830 revolt should most definitely not be considered a failure.

Check out my group's survey!

     The France 1830 revolt was successful, but what about the other revolts of 1830 and 1848? Is it fair to say that the revolutions of 1830 and 1848 were failures? I believe that these revolutions were not failures. Though they were not all fully successful or like the Decembrist revolt not successful at all, as a whole the revolutions of 1830 and 1848 were not a failure. The France 1848 revolt was partly successful. The rebels were able to get the extended suffrage that they wanted, but only wealthy people were able to vote. This is not a failure. Though not everyone was pleased the rebels were able to get what they wanted. The revolt of the Frankfurt Assembly was only partially negative. Many people were put in jail as a result of this revolt, but no change was made. It was not a complete failure in the sense that their conditions didn't get worse than they were before the revolution and they didn't have rights taken away from them. This revolution had a few negatives, but it was not a complete failure, therefore this is another revolt that would not contribute to the revolts of 1830 and 1848 being a failure. One last revolt that supports this idea is the 1848 Hungary revolt. This revolt was neutrally good and bad. The Hungarians were able to get rid of Metternich, but in the end their revolutionary leaders fled Hungary. Only one revolt in the revolts of 1830 and 1848 can be classified as a complete failure. I do no agree that the revolts of 1830 and 1848 that happened across Europe are failures.