Human Rights in the Making: The French and Haitian Revolutions
A document-based teaching unit
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Ideas about rights were at the core of the French and Haitian revolutions in the late eighteenth century. The rights at issue ranged widely: protection against arbitrary imprisonment, equality of taxation, personal freedom for slaves, voting rights for free mulattoes and Jews, and the right of divorce and property ownership for married women. Based on primary source documents and visuals, this unit helps students examine differences and similarities in the approaches to winning rights in the French and Haitian revolutions. Students will analyze how and with what success people in two societies whose historical contexts were very different both demanded and resisted broadening of civil and human rights and will compare human rights concerns in the eighteenth century with those of today.
Lesson 1: Power to the People: How Did the Rights of Citizens Replace the Rights of Kings in France?
Lesson 2: Prejudice Dealt a Partial Blow: Jews but not Women Gain Rights in the French Revolution
Lesson 3: From No Rights to Full Rights: Slaves Gain Freedom and Independence from France in Haiti
Lesson 4: From Limiting King's Rights to Protecting Children's Rights: Shifts in the Western Tradition of Rights
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