Haitian Revolution - Religion: Can Faith Lead to Victory?

The Haitian Revolutionaries disagree on the role religion had to play in the revolution. Religion, according to them, could motivate Haitians to fight tirelessly. When motivation levels reach a low point, calling on God might represent a solution to encourage the troops to keep fighting with the help of God and the spirits. Some also thought that religion could play a strategic role, not only in mobilizing Haitians behind their cause, but in helping organizing the fight. For instance Toussaint Louverture noted that while the French colonialists are disregarding natives religious meetings, they could actually serve to assign peoples’ roles. By using native religious meetings as secret military forces, the upper-commander should be able to express their directives to people without the French noticing it their secret strategies.

On the other hand, Alexandre Petion noticed that the only good thing French brought to their society is the idea of “laïcité”, separating the Church from the State. Religion should not be the primary motive for people to rebel, liberty is the main goal. Religion should not divert Haitian minds from their primary goal : independence.

Elisa Vallette, journalist for AllAfrica.com