Haitian Revolution Discussion Question

What kind of rhetoric was used by those who opposed the slave rebellion and how do you think it effected the perception of the revolution?

The rhetoric surrounding the revolution on the opposing side is very critical. In Dalmas account he portrays the leaders of the revolution as greedy and violent. Similarly, Mossut makes the leaders of the revolution look foolish and weak and elevates the slave masters as heroes who beat the odds despite there being a lot more slaves. Gros also negatively portrays the slaves that captured him as mean and unreasonable. Even Olympe De Gouges who seems to support the revolution still describes their actions as savage and barbaric believing that they took it too far and hurt the wrong people. These perceptions of the revolution as a cruel and unnecessary event work to de legitimize the rebellions and paint the masters of the slaves as the victims instead of the other way around. A good portion of the descriptions use language that seeks to make the slaves look like animals by calling them barbaric and savage they are using language that has been used for centuries by Europeans to describe those that they do not feel are “civilized”, this is another way in which they seek to undermine the revolution by saying that is is lead by people who do not know what they are doing and are uncivilized.

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