The Haitian Revolution: A Documentary History

Hackett Publishing
2
Free sample

"A landmark collection of documents by the field's leading scholar. This reader includes beautifully written introductions and a fascinating array of never-before-published primary documents. These treasures from the archives offer a new picture of colonial Saint-Domingue and the Haitian Revolution. The translations are lively and colorful." --Alyssa Sepinwall, California State University San Marcos
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About the author

David Geggus is Professor of History, University of Florida.
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3.0
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Additional Information

Publisher
Hackett Publishing
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Published on
Sep 3, 2014
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Pages
262
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ISBN
9781624661778
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Caribbean & West Indies / General
History / Revolutionary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A passionate and insightful account by a leading historian of Haiti that traces the sources of the country's devastating present back to its turbulent and traumatic history

Even before the 2010 earthquake destroyed much of the country, Haiti was known as a benighted place of poverty and corruption. Maligned and misunderstood, the nation has long been blamed by many for its own wretchedness. But as acclaimed historian Laurent Dubois makes clear, Haiti's troubled present can only be understood by examining its complex past. The country's difficulties are inextricably rooted in its founding revolution—the only successful slave revolt in the history of the world; the hostility that this rebellion generated among the colonial powers surrounding the island nation; and the intense struggle within Haiti itself to define its newfound freedom and realize its promise.

Dubois vividly depicts the isolation and impoverishment that followed the 1804 uprising. He details how the crushing indemnity imposed by the former French rulers initiated a devastating cycle of debt, while frequent interventions by the United States—including a twenty-year military occupation—further undermined Haiti's independence. At the same time, Dubois shows, the internal debates about what Haiti should do with its hard-won liberty alienated the nation's leaders from the broader population, setting the stage for enduring political conflict. Yet as Dubois demonstrates, the Haitian people have never given up on their struggle for true democracy, creating a powerful culture insistent on autonomy and equality for all.

Revealing what lies behind the familiar moniker of "the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere," this indispensable book illuminates the foundations on which a new Haiti might yet emerge.

The only truly successful slave uprising in the Atlantic world, the Haitian Revolution gave birth to the first independent black republic of the modern era. Inspired by the revolution that had recently roiled their French rulers, black slaves and people of mixed race alike rose up against their oppressors in a bloody insurrection that led to the burning of the colony’s largest city, a bitter struggle against Napoleon’s troops, and in 1804, the founding of a free nation.

Numerous firsthand narratives of these events survived, but their invaluable insights into the period have long languished in obscurity—until now. In Facing Racial Revolution, Jeremy D. Popkin unearths these documents and presents excerpts from more than a dozen accounts written by white colonists trying to come to grips with a world that had suddenly disintegrated. These dramatic writings give us our most direct portrayal of the actions of the revolutionaries, vividly depicting encounters with the uprising’s leaders—Toussaint Louverture, Boukman, and Jean-Jacques Dessalines—as well as putting faces on many of the anonymous participants in this epochal moment. Popkin’s expert commentary on each selection provides the necessary background about the authors and the incidents they describe, while also addressing the complex question of the witnesses’ reliability and urging the reader to consider the implications of the narrators’ perspectives.

Along with the American and French revolutions, the birth of Haiti helped shape the modern world. The powerful, moving, and sometimes troubling testimonies collected in Facing Racial Revolution significantly expand our understanding of this momentous event.
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