The Haitian Revolution - A short Reading List (of Anglophone scholars)
"More than two hundred years after Haitian independence was declared on January 1, 1804, it remains a challenge to perceive the spirit that fueled the first abolition of slavery in the New World and gave rise to the second independent nation in the Americas. As recently as ten years ago, the Haitian Revolution (1789-1804), which created “Haiti” out of the ashes of French Saint Domingue, was the least understood of the three great democratic revolutions that transformed the Atlantic world in the last quarter of the eighteenth century. That is no longer true. In the decade since the 2004 bicentennial, a genuine explosion of scholarship on the Saint-Domingue revolution has profoundly enriched our memory of what Hannah Arendt, in her comparative study of the American and French revolutions, called “the revolutionary tradition and its lost treasure”. It is not clear to what extent this development has affected broader public understandings of the Haitian predicament, however."
By Professor Malick W. Ghachem for the John Carter Brown Library online exposition: “The Other Revolution: Haiti 1789-1804.”
- The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution by CLR James *
- The Making Haiti: Saint Domingue Revolution From Below by Carolyn E. Fick
- Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution by Laurent Dubois
- A Concise History of the Haitian Revolution by Jeremy D. Popkin
- Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789-1804: A Brief History with Documents by Laurent Dubois and John D. Garrigus
- Universal Emancipation: The Haitian Revolution and the Radical Enlightenment by Nick Nesbitt
- Hegel, Haiti, and Universal History by Susan Buck-Morss
- The Old Regime and the Haitian Revolution by Malick W. Ghachem
- You Are All Free: The Haitian Revolution and the Abolition of Slavery by Jeremy D. Popkin
- The World of the Haitian Revolution by David Patrick Geggus and Norman Fiering
The French encountered many forms of slave resistance during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The African slaves that fled to remote mountainous areas were called mawon. The mawon formed close-knit communities which practiced small-scale agriculture and hunting. Mawons were known for sneaking back to their plantations to free family members and friends. They also joined the Taino settlements on a few occasions, who escaped the Spanish in the seventeenth century. Certain mawon factions became formidable enough that they made treaties with local colonial authorities, sometimes negotiating their own independence in exchange for helping to hunt down other escaped slaves.
Other slave resistance efforts against the French plantation system were more direct. The mawon leader Mackandal (Muslim) led an unsuccessful movement to poison the drinking water of the plantation owners in the 1750s. Another mawon named Boukman (Muslim) declared war on the French plantation owners in 1791, sparking off the Haïtian Revolution.
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