In the 18th Century Saint-Domingue was the crown jewel in all of the West Indies. It produced such cash crops as sugar, coffee, cocoa, indigo, tobacco, cotton, sisal and a handful of exotic fruits and vegetables. San Domingue was under the control of the French Flag. In 1789 the French Revolution broke out and its message was felt all over Europe, the feeling of removing ancient ways and monarchial leadership. This could also be said in the case of Saint-Domingue as there was four distinct sets of groups living on the island and all had very different conflicting interests.
The first group I will mention will be the white people living on the island. There was roughly 20,000 whites, mainly all of French decent. They were divided amongst themselves, there was the wealthy whites who owned plantations and slaves. Due to the fact that their wealth and position rested entirely on the slave economy, they were all united in support of slavery. This group of whites by 1770 was extremely unhappy with the French Government. Their complaints were nearly identical to that of British North America against King George of England. The two mother countries imposed strict trading laws, which prohibited trading with any other partner. The French government also did not recognize any formal representation form Saint-Domingue. The rich white planters of San-Domingue looked at the rebel colonies of North America as inspiration, A slave nation governed by white males.
The second group of white males were less powerful. They were merchants, teachers, artisans, shop keepers and various middle class whites. They did not have the wealth of the planters nor did they usually have slaves. This group was not as revolutionary minded as the rich planters, but they did believe in a slave system, as it made their position in society better.
Another group of people on the island is the free persons of color. There was nearly 30,000 of them in Saint-Domingue.