Haitian Constitution



Use the background information, your knowledge of history, and the document to answer the questions that follow. 

Background Information: This print shows General Toussaint Louverture holding a copy of the Haitian Constitution of 1801, in which Louverture declared Haiti's right to self-rule. He is standing next to a bishop and has Haitian soldiers gathered around him.


Title: “July 1, 1801, Toussaint-L'Ouverture, leader of the people of Haiti with the auspices of the All-Powerful, proclaimed the Governor General, assisted by officers lawfully summoned, in the presence and under the Constitution of the Republic of Haiti”
Author: Eugène Marie François Villain
Date: 1801

Question 1: How is the scene depicted in this illustration connected to the colonial sugar trade?

Question 2: How is the scene depicted in this illustration connected to the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen?

About the Assessment

Students with a strong understanding of the past will explain that the sugar trade gave rise to a brutal and deeply entrenched system of slavery in Haiti and that the Constitution of 1801 arose from a revolutionary movement opposed to slavery. A strong response to the second question could explain that the enlightenment principles of liberty and freedom espoused in the Declaration of Rights of Man and of the Citizen influenced Louverture's declaration of self-rule in Haiti. They might also relate that the content of the Declaration was reflected in the words of the Haitian Constitution of 1801.