There were four distinct groups in Saint-Domingue that played a role in how the revolution played out. The main categories included the whites, the free people of color (gens de couleur), the black slaves, and the maroons. All of them had their own things to complain about. The free slaves, although free , wanted all of the same rights as whites, and wanted to be treated as such. The slaves were very unhappy with their living conditions , they were constantly exposed to diesease, worked long and hard, and were treated horribly by their masters. The white elites desired more formal representation in the French government, and were tired of all of the restrictions put upon them by the law.(specifically those that pertained to slavery and trade). The whites who were not as fortunate as either the white elites or even some of the freed slaves, were upset that they were often treated as less than the free blacks, and were very supportive of slavery. The more elite whites were less loyal to the government, while the less wealthy were.
The free people of color, or the gens de couleur wanted nothing to do with their African ancestry, and often tried to be more “white” than the whites themselves. Many of them were slave and plantation owners, and treated the slaves with a greater lever of disrespect than many white slave owners. However, every class hated those above and below it.