Effects of slave resistance

The successful slave rebellion in Saint Domingue led to an exaggerated fear of slave revolts.

The pro-slavery lobby thought that an end of slavery would bring a greater chance of insurrection.

When Britain and France went to war in 1793, the British attempted to invade St Domingue. They were welcomed by Europeans in the south of the island but were unable to defeat Toussaint L'Ouverture and his forces. By 1798 they were forced to withdraw.

This military defeat suggested that continued attempts to control slaves through force were uncertain. They were welcomed by the European inhabitants in the south and assumed that taking control of the rest of the colony would now be easy. Nothing could have been further from the truth.

Abolitionists argued that it was ill-treatment and slavery itself that were the causes of revolt. They put forward a view that if conditions were not made better by the abolition of the slave trade, further revolts would follow.

It has been argued that Britain began to plan for an exit from the slave trade as a result of the revolt in Saint Domingue.