Whether we Haitians like to admit it, there is a profound connection between the French Revolution and its Haitian counterpart, denying their intertwining would be a disservice to our own History, since it was the discrimination of people of color and the plights of the slaves in the colony of Saint Domingue, today Haiti, that pushed the French General Assembly of 1793 to pass The Declaration of man and of the Citizen.

"Sad irony of human history" said Jaurès. "The fortune created at Bordeaux, at Nantes, by the slave trade, gave the bourgeoisie that pride which needed liberty and contributed to human emancipation."
Indeed, the people of France were forced to view slavery for exactly what it was; an institution of exploitation, domination, torture of a group of defenseless people; or so they thought; for the benefits of Europe.

The parliament, after many lobbying by many in France and in the Colony of Santo Domingo,the "Pride of France in the New World; especially by the vocal and propagandist group friends of the negroes; they decided to have a special General Assembly to discuss slavery, a word literally banned in the parliament. 

Who can forget the infamous legislator Mirabeau, the vehement opponent of rights for the people of color of Saint Domingue.

"You claim representation proportionate to the number of the inhabitants. The free blacks are proprietors and tax payers, and yet they have not been allowed to vote. And as for the slaves, either they are men or they are not; if the colonist consider them to be men, let them free them and make them electors and eligible for seats; if the contrary is the case, have we, in apportioning deputies according to the population of France, taken into consideration the number of horses and mules."

Bellay a Negro slave who had purchase his freedom, Hills a mulatto, and  Dufay a white man; they attended the first session of the general assembly on February 3rd 1793; to join the convention in the name of the people of Saint Domingue.

Lacroix Eure-et-Loire took the stage first and began addressing the general assembly.

"The Assembly  has been anxious to have within it some of those men of color who have suffered oppression for so many years. Today it has two of them.  I demand their introduction to be marked by the President's fraternal kiss."

Bellay, the Negro delivered a long and fiery oration to the cause of revolution and shockingly asked the convention to abolish slavery; leaving the assembly in disarray, everyone was speaking loudly; the gavel had to be used a couple times to demand order.

After a mourning silence, Lavasseur de Sarthe stood up and said:

"When drawing up the Constitution of the French people, we paid no attention to the unhappy Negroes. Posterity will bear us great reproach for that. Let us repair the wrong- let us proclaim the liberty of the Negroes. Mr President, do not suffer the convention to dishonor itself by a discussion"

And then came the most significant decree passed by any legislative body in human history in over a millennium.

La Croix, the one who addressed the General assembly first, declared.

"I demand that the Minister of Marine be instructed to dispatch at once advises to the colonies to give them the happy news of their freedom, and I propose the following decree: The National Convention declares slavery abolished in all the colonies. In consequence it declares that all men without distinction of color, domiciled in the colonies, are French citizens, and enjoy all the rights assumed under the Constitution.

Emotions and pride were high, everyone felt that this was the moment to make the change.
Then someone all the way in the back shouted:

" A citizeness of color who regularly attends the sitting of the convention has just felt so keen a joy at seeing us give liberty to all her brethren that she has fainted! (applause) 
I demand that this fact be mentioned in the minutes, and that this citizeness be admitted to the sitting and receive at least this much recognition of her civic virtues. 

Everyone then made ways for Cambon to bring this citizeness of color to sit on the right side of the President of the General Assembly, a place usually reserved for high dignitaries and french bourgeois, not some ex slave.

Not everyone in the assembly wanted the abolition of slavery, particularly in Santo Domingo, the world's richest colony whose economy kept the entire navy of France in business.

Back in Saint Domingue was no different, the colonist where bitterly against the emacipation of the slaves. The general assembly of Santo Domingo chose Millet as their representative, with the mission to depict the true conditions of slavery in the colony.

"We live in peace. Gentlemen, in the midst of our slaves... let an intelligent and educated man compare the deplorable state of these men in Africa with the pleasant and easy life which they enjoy in the colonies... Sheltered by all the necessities of life, surrounded with an ease unknown in the greater part of the countries of Europe, secure in the enjoyment of their property, for they had property and it was sacred, cared for in their illness with an expense and a attention that you would seek in vain in the hospitals so boasted of in England, protected respected in the infirmities of age, in peace with their children, and with their family... freed when they have rendered important services. Such was the picture, true and not embellished, of the government of our Negroes, and this domestic government perfected itself particularly during the last 10 years with a care of which you will find no model in Europe. The most sincere attachment bound the master to the slave; we sleep in safety in the middle of these men who had become our children and many among us, had neither locks nor bolts on our doors"

Lies! When reading his paragraph, you would think that he was referencing to modern societies. Not a colony were salves are chained, beaten, overworked for the profit of the state.
But no one can hide their true self forever, not even skilled men like Millet.
When he saw that the assembly was resolved on abolishing slavery, his true colors showed.

"These coarse men[the blacks] are incapable of knowing liberty and enjoy it with wisdom, and the imprudent law which would destroy their prejudices would be for them and for a us a decree of death."

"....We have not brought half-a-million slaves from the coast of Africa to make them into French Citizens"

To its credit, the passage of the Declaration of Man and of the Citizen reflected the view of the masses of France, the poor peasants who recently had revolted against the tyrannic rule of kings, they wanted to tackle every issues associated with corrupt royalties; slavery in the forefront.

While they fought in terms for the ideals of freedom and equality for all regardless of skin color, it was the slaves of Saint Domingue, particularly this ex Slaves Toussaint L'Ouverture, who fought in facts, the real battles to make these highest of ideals the reality for hundreds of thousands of slaves.