Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Episode Summaries of Revolutions Podcast: Haitian Revolution

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1. Saint-Domingue

Columbus encounters Hispanola, Santo Domingo colony established; piracy, more promising colonies elsewhere lead Spanish to cede Western third of island to French; sugar, coffee and indigo main exports; Le Cap (North province) is capital from 1711 to 1770, population of 20,000 at time of revolution; 3 provinces: North, West and South, separated by steep mountains; 6 week travel time to/from Europe; Port-au-Prince (Western province) founded in 1750; Saint-Domingue becomes most lucrative colony in New World; large capital investment, flat land required for sugar plantations - leads to large plantations; coffee grown in more mountainous areas; social structure: whites ("big whites" of major planters and merchants, often absentee; "small whites" of all others; also some royal administrators), free coloreds, slaves; whites often want to get off island as soon as possible; at time of revolution: white population of 30,000, 30,000 coloreds, 500,000 blacks, 2/3 population born in Africa, 30,000 slaves imported per year, 90% of colony slaves; 1685 Code Noir ignored in practice on island; small amount of slaves able to buy freedom; slavery is economic, not racial condition at this point - marrying non-enslaved person makes you not a slave; distinction between house slaves (minority) and field slaves (majority)

2. The Web of Tension

France mandates trade be done exclusively with it, colonists resent monopoly, lively contraband trade; 1723 revolt against exclusive trade; tension between royal administrators and big whites over control of the island; royal administrators try to ally with small whites to undermine big whites; free coloreds more rooted in island, reinvest in island, accumulate power; small whites latch onto racism as means of distinction from free coloreds; reforms to try to tie the island more closely to France starting in 1763 introduce racism into law as one tenet; militia service laws unpopular, cause small revolt; tales of varieties of slave resistance; Mackandal revolt; abolitionism in France: The Year 2440 and Raynal's History of the Two Indias

3. Free and Equal

C.L.R. James' Black Jacobins: conflict between whites and free coloreds woke the sleeping slaves; French Revolution starts; Society of the Friends of the Blacks in France; colonial representatives send delegation to Estates General; Mirabeau attacks delegation not representing slaves; free coloreds Julien Raimond and Vincent Ogé lobbying in France against new racial laws; 10% of National Assembly tied to trade in Saint-Domingue, reluctant; Declaration of Rights of Man issued, gives free coloreds, etc. hope; circulation of literature from France banned; Grégoire attempts to abolish slavery at National Assembly but is shouted down; Colonial Assembly established, writes draft of a new constitution thwarting colonial policy; Royal governor closes down Colonial Assembly; Assembly members board mutinous Leopard ship and sail to France; Ogé leads free colored revolt, threatens to arm slaves, revolt crushed, Ogé is prosecuted and executed; Debate in National Assembly on colonial policy in 1791: Robespierre argues against slavery (or does he? debate); Assembly concludes anyone born to two free coloreds is a citizen (May 15 Decree), sends delegation to Saint-Domingue to implement

Small whites revolt, take control of Le Cap from governor Blanchelande; news of May 15 Decree arrives in June; free coloreds revolt; André Rigaud; slaves begin meeting to plan insurrection, plan is betrayed but whites (amazingly) do nothing; Bois Caïman voodoo ceremony led by Boukman is genesis of insurrection; insurrection starts on August 22nd, slaves put lots of plantations to fire; many different accusations of which non-slave class or person is really behind revolt; other slave leaders: Jean-François, Biassou, Jeannot; slaves use guerilla tactics; Boukman killed; cordon prevents revolt from spreading outside North province; whites and coloreds fighting in West since before North revolt, coloreds offer freedom to any slave who fights for them; Concordant signed in West that capitulates to free colored demands; Second Concordant signed in West; coloreds in West betray slaves and disarm them then ship them off the island; Barnave repeals May 15th Decree, commissioners sent to Saint-Domingue

Slave generals portray themselves as in defense of King against white patriots; slaves begin trading with Spanish; Friends of the Blacks stop holding regular meetings as abolitionism becomes taboo with news of slave atrocities; slave army morale falls, slave revolt leaders attempt to negotiate their own freedom and reestablish slavery; Toussaint Louverture; whites refuse offer from slaves; small whites provoke riot in Port-au-Prince to derail Concordant, civil war resumes; religious leader Romaine-la-Prophétesse seizes Leogane; slaves get conscripted into both Western white and colored armies; Citizens of April 4th created by French abolition of racial codes; Blanchelande fails to quell revolt in South; Blanchelande recalled back to France, executed; news of April 4th Law causes race riot in Le Cap

Second Commission: Polverel, Sonthonax sent to Saint-Domingue to implement April 4th Law and defeat slave uprising; many soldiers sent with them quickly die from disease; Rochambeau shows up in Saint-Domingue unexpectedly; Commission dissolves whites-only colonial assembly; Rochambeau appointed as provisional governor; slave leaders expand demands to general liberty and general amnesty; Rochambeau successfully pushes slave armies back, but doesn't have enough troops to hold slave-controlled territory (slaves can always retreat to the mountains and then come back when advantageous); Sonthanax tries to have all his forces take oath to support April 4th Law, but whites refuse, skirmishes ensue (December Crisis); Sonthanax makes alliance with free colored leadership as result; Rochambeau leaves, Lavaux succeeds him; Lavaux launches offensive against slaves, drives slave generals to mountains/Santo Domingo; Britain, Spain declare war on France after King's execution; Jean-François, Biassou accept Spain's offer to form army under Spanish flag in exchange for recognition of freedom; Second Commission subdues Port-au-Prince; new governor Galbaud arrives, is courted by all sides

Second Commissioners put Galbaud on boat after conflict over authority; discontented sailors persuade Galbaud to train fleet's guns on Le Cap; Galbaud lands with sailors, degenerates into looting; offer of freedom to slaves if they join Commissioners' forces -- these become Citizens of June 20th; Galbaud and allies (big whites) flee to ships; fire breaks out in Le Cap; end of white colonial rule in Saint-Domingue as ships sail from harbor fleeing burning city, looting, newly arrived slave recruits; 85% of Le Cap burned by fire; Commissioners try to court slave generals, are sharply rebuffed by Toussaint; Sonthanax issues general emancipation on August 29th, 1793, with a lot of caveats -- slavery abolished; Polverel angry because Sonthanax acts without consulting him and situation in West is different, but relents; Tricolor (one white -- Dufaÿ, one colored -- Mills, one black -- Belley) Commission sent to inform France of developments

Whites at Jérémie invite British to invade; refugees (who are mostly white) from Le Cap deposited at various places in America; Tricolor Commission arrives in America, very unpopular with refugees; some intrigue in America with Galbaud, Genet; Tricolor Commission accepted by National Convention; Belly becomes 1st black legislator in French history; National Convention abolishes all slavery in French possessions; British fail to capture much territory due to disease; Rigaud enhances his army; Toussaint captures defensive line between West and North; Toussaint and Biassou fall out, Toussaint learns of French general amnesty; Toussaint turns on Spanish allies, warms to French; Second Commissioners learn of amnesty and recall to France; Rigaud becomes ultimate authority in South, Lavaux put in charge of rest

Toussaint welcomes whites back, envisions white/black/colored future for Saint-Domingue; other alternative politics: British military returning white supremacy, Rigaud's colored supremacy, Jean-François, Biassou's black rule, independent small-scale agriculture; Toussaint attacks Jean-François, Lavaux attacks Spanish; Jean-François orders massacre of French whites in his territory; Toussaint attack on British position fails; all forces attempt to conscript black soldiers with promises of freedom in exchange for service; tensions between blacks and coloreds in armies; Polverel, Sonthonax return to France; Polverel dies; Sonthonax cleared of all charges; Galbaud returns to France, posted to Egypt after Napoleon's departure, dies of plague; Directory upholds racial equality; Spain signs peace treaty with France, hands Santo Domingo over to French

British offer Jean-François, Biassou positions in army, they refuse; instead, they decamp Saint-Domingue under Spanish amnesty, never to return; rivalry between Villate and Toussaint; Villate arrests Lavaux, declares himself governor-general; Villate's coup goes awry, frees Lavaux, flees as Toussaint marches on Villate's position; Lavaux promotes Toussaint to deputy governor; five man Third Commission (including Sonthonax, Raimond, Roume) sent to Saint-Domingue to guarantee racial equality and emancipation and fold colony into French nation; Rochambeau brings 1,200 men, 20,000 muskets to Saint-Domingue; Villate arrested, deported to France for trial; delegation to put Rigaud under Commissioner control ends in failure; army really only institution that allows upward mobility for blacks; Sonthonax elected delegate to Council of 500; Lavaux leaves for France; Toussaint named commander in chief of military forces in Saint-Domingue

Reactionary planters agitate in Council of 500; Saint-Domingue somewhat transitions to self-sustaining agriculture due to plummeting of exports/imports; increasing economic divide between army and unarmed citizens; Toussaint demands Sonthonax leave the island and assume his position in Council of 500; Sonthonax leaves for France, Toussaint writes letter condemning him (on false pretenses); Sonthonax retires from political life; Toussaint writes to France that to re-establish slavery would be "to attempt the impossible"; Directory re-affirms (more or less) National Convention conception of colonial freedom

Pattern: weaker faction on Saint-Domingue appeals to France for help, stronger faction wants self-rule; British officer John Graves Simcoe; British officer Thomas MaitlandHédouville sent to put military under civilian administration; Toussaint makes deal with Maitland to withdraw British forces on Saint-Domingue without consulting Hédouville; tension between racist Hédouville and Toussaint; Rigaud and Toussaint meet for first time; Toussaint agrees with Maitland not to export revolution to Jamaica in exchange for lifting of British blockade; Toussaint favors his officers over whites in abandoned plantations disputes; Hédouville issues unpopular decree about compulsory labor; Hédouville replaces Moïse in command, Moïse stirs up forces against him; Dessalines marches on Hédouville's position; Hédouville and Raimond leave Saint-Domingue; XYZ Affair pushes Americans to trade again with Saint-Domingue, bill passed with "Toussaint's Clause"

Toussaint desires to be unquestioned ruler of Hispanola; War of Knives between Toussaint and Rigaud; propaganda war depicts war in race terms (Toussaint's blacks vs Rigaud's coloreds), but reality more complicated; pattern: political tactic of accusing adversaries of wanting to re-enslave blacks; introduction of Pétion; introduction of Dessalines; Toussaint's ideology of coexistence vs Dessalines' ideology of black supremacy; Toussaint survives two assassination attempts; US Navy interferes on side of Toussaint (due to Edward Stevens); Roume hesitates to sign off on Toussaint's invasion of Santo Domingo, but relents; new commission arrives (including Raimond) from the Consulate affirming Toussaint's supremacy; Rigaud is exiled to France; Article 91 of new French constitution denotes "special laws" governing colonies -- ominous

Toussaint losing support of cultivators due to only superficial changes in conditions, brings military-style discipline to plantations; transmutes military bureaucracy into administrative bureaucracy; Toussaint annexes Santo Domingo, which enrages Napoleon; Raimond, etc. draw up new constitution for military dictatorship, also meant to preempt "special laws" written by French; Raimond dies; Toussaint declared governor for life; Napoleon brings quasi-war to end in preparation for invasion (can't live off the land -- Saint-Domingue is all cash crops); Napoleon gets Spain to cede Louisiana (dreams of French-dominated Gulf of Mexico); Henri Christophe suppresses revolt; Moïse suspected of raising cultivator revolt, is executed for sedition without trial; system of ID cards introduced; military-cultivator tensions grow

Leclerc marries Napoleon's sister, leads Leclerc Expedition; also on expedition: Rochambeau, Rigaud, Villate, Pétion, Boyer, Belley, Toussaint's two sons; Napoleon's initial plan was to round up and deport Creole officers, including Toussaint; introduction of Christophe (often portrayed as sophisticated contrast to brutal Dessalines); Christophe burns Le Cap in scorched-earth tactic; Rigaud deported back to France; French take many port cities without too much trouble, Toussaint's officers often defect; Leclerc offends American merchants by restricting, underpaying them; Battle of Crête-à-Pierrot; Christophe defects; Toussaint negotiates cease-fire; Toussaint abducted by French in trap, sent to France; dies in Fort de Joux

Americans give cold shoulder to financing Leclerc due to fears of control of Louisiana; Yellow Fever epidemic ravages French forces; black officers angry at being given positions in French army lower than former positions or being discharged; Napoleon repeals abolition of slavery; France re-imposes slavery on Guadeloupe with small force, sparks revolt, some of rebels escape French ship captivity to Saint-Domingue and spread word about what happened;  Leclerc asked to be relieved of his command, request refused; Napoleon continues to send (second-rate, foreign) soldiers; many blacks and Poles continuously defect to rebels; Leclerc institutes terror; Pétion, etc. defect and lead attack on Le Cap, which fails; Leclerc advocates genocide in last letter to Napoleon, issues general arrest order for black officers still in French army, executes all; Leclerc dies of Yellow Fever

Rochambeau (racist, pro-slavery) succeeds Leclerc, continues terror; Dessalines emerges as rebel commander; Rochambeau engages in all kinds of tortures, humiliations; failure of Leclerc expedition makes Napoleon give up dream of French rule over Gulf of Mexico, agree to Louisiana Purchase; French commence war with Britain, Britain blockades Saint-Domingue ports; Dessalines cuts out white part of tricolor to create new flag, symbolize unity of black and coloreds; Yellow Fever, famine hit French army; Dessalines supplied by British and Americans; French forces often surrender to British to ferry them off the island; Battle of Vertières; Rochambeau surrenders to British, sails off island as prisoner; Dessalines declares Haiti's independence

Dessalines issues orders to kill all the whites (really, the French -- Poles, etc. spared); officers reluctant to carry out orders so Dessalines personally supervises genocidal massacres;  Haitian Constitution of 1805; 380,000 people in census; incredible human and material devastation since start of revolution; no government recognizes Haiti's independence immediately; massacres horrify other countries, engender resentment from those forced to participate in them, spark fear in coloreds who think Dessalines will turn on them next; Dessalines dismantles coastal fortifications, builds forts in mountains; Dessalines proclaims himself Emperor (after hearing about Napoleon doing the same); Haitians attempt to subdue Santo Domingo, only successful in 1822; Dessalines killed by soldiers of Christophe and Pétion

Christophe and Pétion turn on each other, country divided; Christophe crowns himself King Henri I; Pétion engages in some land reform; Henri faces uprising, commits suicide; Boyer succeeds Pétion, quickly takes Henri's former territory; Boyer agrees to French recognition of independence, without telling the public the details of large indemnity, France issues loan -- Haiti crushed under double debt load; large estates divided up; German merchants settle in as traders; new liberal colored class emerges; Constitution of 1843; Hérard appointed president; Dominican Republic declares independence; Piquets revolt; Soulouque declares himself emperor, embraces voodoo; Geffrard; Americans recognizes Haiti in 1862; Salnave; Saget; indemnity paid off, but only by contracting more loans; Salomon founds National Bank of Haiti; Americans begin to get more involved in Haiti; Hyppolite backed by the US; tensions grow between urban and rural Haiti; Alexis; US invades Dominican Republic to force debt repayment (Roosevelt Corollary); US purchases controlling interest in Bank of Haiti; by 1915 80% of government finances go to debt repayment; US hopes to revoke prohibition of foreign ownership; murder of Sam used as pretext for US Marines to land and occupy Haiti; Americans institute corvée labor; US dissolve Haitian legislature at gunpoint; Péralte insurgency crushed; US leaves Haiti in 1934; Trujillo massacres Haitians in Dominican territory after finalizing border; left-wing Estimé; MagloireFrançois Duvalier takes power in 1957 with help of masked gangs, enacts cult of personality, masks become state terror group Tonton Macoutes; deforestation; mass emigration of professionals; emigration of poor ("boat people"); Jean-Claude Duvalier succeeds father; liberation theologist Aristide; St. Jean massacre; S.I.N.; Préval; 2010 Earthquake; Cholera outbreak