Storm The Barricades

Was the Haitian Revolution effective or ineffective..? Well that’s what I’m here to find out. This project was all about revolutions, more specifically the Haitian, French, Russian, and American revolutions. The original end result of this project was supposed to be a live court trial with two opposing sides arguing about one of the revolutions mentioned above, but it did not end like that…

Let’s start from the beginning of the project; the first thing we did was learn more about how revolutions are structured. We had experienced our own revolution in Nation X, but there are many ways a revolution can be triggered, for example, by an economic crisis, weak or incompetent rulers, government corruption, the sense of being wronged and more.

In class we talked about the Crane Briton theory, and this theory compares revolutions with disease or sickness, like a fever, in that a revolution starts with an ‘incubation’ stage which is when symptoms start to show. And then like a fever, it gets progressively worse (moderate/crisis stage) until your body wins the fight and it goes back down (recovery stage). Also, many can agree nobody wants a fever to start with. To demonstrate our understanding we were asked to create our own representation of Crane Briton’s theory.

Then we got to the point when each person officially picked their revolution to represent in court. If you couldn’t tell by the opening sentence I was chosen to do the Haitian revolution. This is a bit of a sensitive revolution because it is about enslaved people. Keira, Daniel, Sofia, Gwen and Blondie were also picked alongside me. Mr. Harris kindly left links to primary source documents full of information about the Haitian Revolution. Then we put what we thought was the most important information into the graphic organizer. I am proud of mine but I still think I could have made the information on it a bit more detailed and had stronger points. But I did my best with what I could understand.

After that we got to know if we were going to fight for whether the revolution was ineffective or effective for the mock court trial. My group was assigned to fight for the ineffective point of view. Together we gathered evidence that we collected in our affidavit. We had to craft arguments that showed why the Haitian Revolution didn’t improve the circumstances for the people of Haiti 🇭🇹. To be honest I feel like I could have helped gather more information and tried to dive deeper into the research. Whenever I looked for information it had already been used and that made me feel discouraged and at a loss of what to do. Upon reflection, I agree with my friend Gwen, in that I think some of our arguments were just repeated in different ways.

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At this point in the project things started changing. Recently, we had a substitute because Mr. Harris went on a short break to take care of his wife and newborn baby. The substitute was fine at directing the class but many things were happening. The exhibition for Avatar was soon, and we wanted to have a live mock court trial with an audience for this project which would require a lot of set up. Since everything was happening so soon, we had a lot of work to do, which was even harder without our real teacher. So, as a class we had to adapt, and with the help of Mrs. Maxwell, we decided we would create a video of us presenting our evidence about why the revolution was effective or non-effective. Our inspiration was the TV show, Court Cam, and you can check out the video we watched here: https://youtu.be/IkMAZYkwwtI.

After the affidavit was finished, we started creating the script for our video. When that was done we went to the vortex to film our video. It only took a few takes and we were done faster than I thought. I got the lucky role of being the editor of the video since I didn’t want actually be in it. In the end this was our mock court trial video: https://youtu.be/xrQrhkiJDPc

Originally, we had two pieces of evidence and a witness for our evidence that we presented at court; however, our witness’s argument could potentially sound like it was promoting slavery which is not what we wanted and slavery is something that should never be promoted. So we immediately did some edits. When I was quickly trying to edit using  Capcut, it was being very glitchy, so it was very hard to cut some parts out and add text. As I watch the video now I can see so many flaws (eg. the subtitles didn’t get added in and the start of the witness being called to stand did not get cropped out). I know they are not too noticeable, but I feel as if I let my team down because I was the editor. Note to self: double-check your work every-time. 

The driving question for this project was “How did revolutions bring down empires and change societies around the world?” Simply put, revolutions surface in the face of a crisis. They involve organized movements that may involve aggressive actions to gain and overthrow the government. The point of revolting is to create change when it feels like the government is being unfair. Britannica states that “Revolutions can sweep away the old order. Unlike coups and rebellions, revolutions can cause radical changes in the institutions of government and bring about basic changes in society as a whole.” (https://www.britannica.com/topic/collective-violence/Coups-rebellions-and-revolutions) When people have a sense of being wronged and feel like their needs aren’t being met they want a change in the government. Revolutions can start as a result of a change in people’s beliefs and values, or they can end with a change of values and beliefs. Suffice it to say, we wouldn’t be where we are today without revolutions.

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