Rights and Revolutions Essay – by Meredith

The Haitian, French, and American revolutions were about freedom, be it freedom from slavery, bad rulership, or unfair treatment. They all believed in the basic right that they thought everyone (or in the case of Americans, not exactly everyone), deserved. Freedom. Freedom of government, freedom of thoughts and actions, and the freedom to be themselves. I believe that people have these rights but they have a responsibility to use them wisely. Freedom is much like a superpower; if you do good things with it, you get a happy, peaceful country and people. Use it for evil and, well, you get a revolution.


The right to a freedom of government is very important because if the government is harsh or rules in such a way that the people can do nothing other than revolt or die, chaos breaks loose and you have either a revolution or a civil war. But it comes with a lot of responsibility. History is filled with stories of people who were driven mad by power and had to be taken down. History, unfortunately, is not filled with a government that rules well for many years and all goes happily ever after. History is mainly composed of rulers, governments, good or bad, that eventually fell into disrepair, and then fell apart due to generations of horrible leadership, like in the French Revolution. Every empire, (Pharaohdom?), or kingdom has either been torn down and apart, been conquered, or has had a change of government so that it works better, like in the Haitian Revolution. The people need a say in the way things are run, which is what the Americans wanted, because if something goes wrong and prices rise, they are the first to pay for it. The ruler of that country can sit quite comfortably on his or her throne eating cake never knowing that his subjects are dying and sick and hungry, like King Louis XVI. The ruler needs to be aware of the true condition of his kingdom, and where better to get that information than straight from the people who are living it?


Freedom of thoughts and actions is very important, but often overlooked because even today people do not have this. People should be allowed to think what they want and express their feelings without being afraid that their own government will kill them for it. It is a lot like freedom of government, but not exactly the same, because they express their feelings to everyone about everything, not just political opinions. People should be able to wear what they want, say what they feel, and feel what they want, not be told to wear and say and feel. In the Haitian revolution, all they wanted was to be treated the way they had been before by the Jacobins, and be free, and they tried to say it peacefully but they were oppressed. So they resorted to force. No one wants a revolution, because people die, but if people are pushed and pushed to the limit, it is in human nature to rebel against it. If people are going to die anyway, like in the French revolution, they will fight to make things better for the people who survive.


People have always wanted to express themselves, be it through art, writing, or any other means, people have wanted to tell others about themselves through other means than words. People have also always wanted to be treated fairly, although some will disagree about what that entails exactly. The Haitians had been slaves for a very long time and were probably sick and tired of it already, and then they were given freedom by the Jacobins when they won the French Revolution. When the Girondists won from the Jacobins, they reinstated slavery among people who were now used to freedom. That was a stupid move. They rebelled because they had no other options. They stated what they wanted through songs and writings and they prayed for a way to end the war with peace, while the other side wanted them all dead. People are very traditional and tend to follow patterns and accept the leadership of the people their parents followed, but if that leadership is not good and is throwing future generations into harms’ way, parents will do anything to help their kids stay alive and that includes taking down awful rulers like in the French Revolution. There were many paintings and sketches and whatnot from that era that inspired many which was pretty much the aim of the artists. The Americans wanted their tea, because that was their tradition, but they basically wound up blowing tradition away in the wind along with their allegiance to England.


The three revolutions, Haitian, French, and American, was all about freedom and equality, whatever views they had on what that entitled and who it was entitled to. They fought against their government that sought to use them as a stepping stool to help them gain power. Each revolution was radical in its own way. The Americans wanted to be their own country and not one of England’s colonies anymore, but weren’t entirely willing to compromise on everything though. The Haitian’s wanted to not be slaves anymore after their recent taste of freedom. They didn’t want to break from their government they just wanted to be treated differently. The French revolution is the one in the middle. It changed everything radically, such as freedom for slaves at the beginning, and a whole new system of government that no one had ever thought about in France before. At the same time, they didn’t truly change things too much, because there was still war and the government returned to the way it was before. All in all, the revolutions were different in many ways, but they were a lot the same too.