The first stirrings of the French Revolution in 1789 provoked immense agitation in Haiti. The white oligarchy of the colony-known as the grands blancs —hastened to form colonial assemblies and to demand the right to send representatives to the National Assembly that was about to be convened in Paris. The mulatto oligarchy-known as the affranchis — asked that their right to participate in the colonial assemblies be recognized. The grands blancs refused to accept that the affranchis could even vote to elect candidates for these colonial assemblies, so that the French Revolution placed the two groups of the slave-owning oligarchy of Santo Domingo (Haiti) in opposing camps. The mulattoes and free blacks who did not belong to the mulatto oligarchy supported the affranchis , but the French in the colony who were not part of the white oligarchy, known as the petits blancs , opposed the mulatto oligarchy. The slaves, of course, remained on the margin of these struggles, and not willingly, but because neither of the two factions of the oligarchy and their respective partisans took them into account.