Léger-Félicité Sonthonax (7 March 1763 – 23 July 1813) was a French abolitionist and Jacobin before joining the Girondist party, which emerged in 1791.
During the French Revolution, he controlled 7,000 French troops in Saint-Domingue during part of the Haitian Revolution.
His official title was Civil Commissioner.
From September 1792 to December 1795, he was the de facto ruler of Saint-Domingue's non-slave populace.
Within a year of his appointment, his powers were considerably expanded by the Committee of Public Safety.
He was recalled in 1795 largely due to the resurgence of conservative politics in France.
Sonthonax believed that Saint-Domingue's whites were royalists or separatists, so he attacked the military power of the white settlers and by doing so alienated the colonial settlers from their government.
Many gens de couleur (mixed-race residents of the colony) asserted that they could form the military backbone of Saint-Domingue if they were given rights, but Sonthonax rejected this view as outdated in the wake of the August 1791 slave uprising.
He believed that Saint-Domingue would need ex-slave soldiers among the ranks of the colonial army if it was to survive.
On August 1793, he proclaimed freedom for all slaves in the north province.
His critics allege that he was forced into ending slavery in order to maintain his own power.