He was fortunate in having a liberal master who had him trained as a house servant and allowed him to learn to read and write.
Toussaint took full advantage of this, reading every book he could get his hands on. He particularly admired the writings of the French Enlightenment philosophers, who spoke of individual rights and equality.
This is great I'm actually really smart.
In 1789 the French Revolution rocked France. The sugar plantations of Saint Dominique, though far away, would never be the same.
Those moderate revolutionaries were not willing to end slavery but they did apply the "Rights of Man" to all Frenchmen, including free blacks and mulattoes (those of mixed race). Plantation owners in the colonies were furious and fought the measure. Finally the revolutionaries gave in and retracted the measure in 1791. .
the early moderate revolutionaries considered seriously the question of slavery.
Toussaint became the leader of the slave rebellion. He became known as Toussaint L'Ouverture and brilliantly led his rag-tag slave army. He successfully fought the French as well as invading Spanish and British.
By 1793, the revolution in France was in the hands of the Jacobins
Reign of Terror
moderate leaders came and went, eventually replaced by Napoleon, once again plunging Haiti into war.
Napoleon betrayed Toussaint and put him in prison in France
Haiti remained free.
By 1803 Napoleon was ready to get Haiti off his back: he and Toussaint agreed to terms of peace
Toussaint died in prison, but others carried on the fight for freedom.