Among those academics and scholars whose studies concern the vast field of history there appears to be a general consensus that “in the sequence of revolutions that remade the Atlantic world from 1776 to 1825, the Haitian Revolution is rarely given its due.” The American Revolution and the French Revolution have, doubtless, received considerably more attention by thinkers in all disciplines. Indeed, a long-running and diverse literature thoroughly articulates the myriad topics—the artistic, economic, military, political, and social domains—of those conflicts in tremendous detail. One possible reason for this seems perfectly logical: relatively speaking, those historical phenomena offer copious quantities of source material, orders of magnitude more plentiful than that which is available related to the Haitian Revolution. However, while the Haitian Revolution is far less familiar to the public, and while it has attracted less attention from English-speaking scholars, the writing on the subject is nevertheless expanding, with more historians recognizing the significance and uniqueness of this transformative event.
Though scholars disagree very slightly on the precise date that a small group of elite black slaves first took up arms against their masters, the evidence seems clear that August of 1791 marked a turning point in Haiti, and, as many claim, the world. The slaves who revolted that summer night could not have foreseen the transformations that their actions ultimately precipitated: they were not, as yet, revolutionaries. They were, rather, simply one more group of oppressed people who, like countless oppressed people before and since, took the only course of action that they perceived to be available. When, over a decade later, the violence finally came more or less to an end, any of those slaves still alive who participated in the August 1791 revolt would have found their country entirely transformed. By almost any measure, society had been turned upside down from what it had been throughout the preceding two centuries or more. The conditions that preceded the uprising; the circumstances that provoked it; the events both diplomatic and military that defined it; the people who engaged actively for and against it; and the myriad transformations brought about by it are the subjects of numerous articles and monographs dating back to the time of the Revolution itself. As with most historical topics, the perspectives and the positions of the writers of that history have evolved over time. In this essay we will briefly explore several of those authors and arguments, and propose some aspects of the Haitian Revolution that might be better illuminated by further discussion.
First, it might be useful to consider the various problems associated with writing about colonial Caribbean in general, and the Haitian Revolution in particular. Indeed, Haiti itself presents distinct problems as a topic of writing for myriad reasons. Most obviously, the Revolution notwithstanding, the nation’s history is almost uniformly tragic.
The precipitous decline in the population of native Taíno and Carib Indians following the island’s European discovery by Columbus in 1492 now stands as a bleak omen. In spite of laws enacted by the Spanish in 1512 ostensibly to govern the behavior of its colonial settlers in the New World and protect the Indians from abuse, the Indians continued to suffer. The practical effect of the Leyes de Burgos appears in retrospect to have been highly counter-productive. By requiring that, “for the improvement and remedy” of the many health and safety concerns plaguing the natives, the “chiefs and Indians should forthwith be brought to dwell near the villages and communities of the Spaniards who inhabit that Island, so that they may be treated and taught and looked after as is right and as we have always desired,” the Spanish only exacerbated an already serious problem. Living in such close proximity to Europeans who carried diseases to which they were dangerously susceptible, the Taíno and Carib Indians began dying at alarming rates. Estimates vary, but from the tally of three million indigenous people made by Bishop Bartolomé de las Casas upon Columbus’s arrival, the native population shrank to well under two hundred Caribs in 1550. Meanwhile, requiring that the indigenous people adopt Spanish religious and social customs while simultaneously brutally forcing them to engage in unpaid labor, any seemingly benign motives of the Spanish are called into question. Given this brutality, and the shocking and practically genocidal demise of the native Taíno and Carib Indians, records from this period are either scarce or largely unreliable. Bishop Bartolomé de las Casas’s population estimate, for example, appears to be improbably high, though any realistic number would still render European contact a tremendously unproductive circumstance for Hispaniola’s natives.
Also contributing to the perceived limitations in the historiography of Haiti is the overall dearth of primary documents and sources. In the preface to Written in Blood (1978), Heinl and Heinl argue that “[d]espite a story that is dramatic, eventful, tragic, ironic, and bizarre, the world’s first black republic, born of the only successful slave insurrection in history, can claim no history in print today in any language.” The authors claim that, although Haiti has not gone “unnoticed” by scholars, the then-current works “passing for history” largely present “impressionistic writing,” and not the history of the Haitians themselves. Heinl and Heinl point out that
The rebel slaves who founded Haiti were largely illiterate or semiliterate. They kept no records. The few public documents of the time, together with donations of books intended for a national library, were allowed to be dispersed or destroyed during the 1820s under the Boyer regime; and the upheavals and conflagrations of a country with nearly two hundred years of subsequent revolutions, coups, insurrections, and civil wars, aside from the ravages of the tropics, of theft and of neglect, did for the rest.
So, when an explosion destroyed the National Palace in the mid-nineteenth century, also lost were innumerable diplomatic and military documents and files. The National Archives were destroyed in 1883, and in the following quarter century, several more catastrophes, along with theft, loss, and pilferage, would again cost Haiti the precious and dwindling documents of its national heritage.
Meanwhile, over two hundred years since the founding of the République d’Haïti, the nation has struggled in vain to maintain even the most basic semblance of order. The assassination of Jacques Dessalines, Haiti’s first head of state, in 1806, precipitated a territorial division between the northern and southern portions of the island that continued for almost a decade. After reunification, and an ultimately futile attempt to claim Santo Domingo, Haiti continued to suffer through one disastrous president after another, and lost several leaders to assassination, perhaps reaching a political nadir during the ten-year period in the mid-nineteenth century when the Republic was disbanded altogether. The constitution was frequently and flagrantly disregarded by corrupt or incompetent leaders. The twentieth century was similarly unkind to Haiti, leading to United States intervention, followed by years of corrupt, totalitarian and extraordinarily violent rule by François Duvalier, followed by further ineffective leadership leading into the new millennium. Though “according to its constitution and written laws, Haiti meets most international human rights standards” today, “in practice…many provisions are not observed,” and “the government’s human rights record is poor.” Fewer than half of its citizens are employed, and they have a life expectancy and literacy rate considerably lower than the rest of Latin America. Today, Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. It ranks near the bottom of the United Nations International Human Development Index.
Perhaps most tragically, Haiti has been the regular victim of a variety of natural disasters. Hurricanes Hazel (1954), Flora (1963), Cleo (1964) and Inez (1966) killed many thousands of people, and left many hundreds of thousands homeless by leveling entire towns, while decimating agriculture and livestock. Most devastating, of course, was a 2010 earthquake that measured 7.0 on the moment magnitude scale. Following the quake and an associated tsunami, the government estimated that well over two hundred thousand people had been killed, and 1.3 million made homeless. Once again, Haiti saw its government and resources stretched beyond their limits, and only with considerable international aid was an even greater loss of life prevented.
Finally, the Haitian Revolution was an astonishingly complex event, or, rather, sequence of small events that resulted in an outcome that only became clear in time – like a sophisticated painting or tapestry that from a distance represents something we believe we recognize, but at closer inspection reveals details that surprise and confuse us. It may be tempting to explain that the rebellion in Saint-Domingue was an insurgency of black slaves against their white masters. It was that, but it wasn’t only blacks or slaves who participated in the insurrection and its violence. Another myth is that armed black rebels slaughtered whites without mercy – an interpretation shaped, perhaps, by the accounts of elite French refugees and British soldiers sent to subdue the uprising. But history is seldom as simple as it seems. As David Geggus points out, “the insurrection produced acts of great savagery from the slaves, as from the whites and coloureds, but also numerous acts of loyalty or kindness both individual and collective. Toussant Louverture maintained calm on his master’s plantation for a month before conveying the manager’s wife to safety and joining the rebels.” Similarly, motivations and allegiances frequently shifted, and enemies sometimes became allies before once again becoming enemies. Thus, attempts to over-simplify the causes, progress, and effects of this history do disservice to those who participated in this unique episode.
All of these details serve to illustrate the almost uniquely tragic story of the Republic of Haiti and its people, and suggest the myriad challenges facing those undertaking a historical analysis of the revolution that began there over two hundred years ago.
Three Primary Sources
Laurent Dubois opens the first chapter of his book Avengers of the New World (2004) by introducing one of the many exiles of Saint-Domingue living in Philadelphia in the mid-1790s. Like so many white merchants and masters, along with the black slaves they brought with them as property, Médéric-Louis-Elie Moreau de St. Méry
had arrived carrying almost nothing. He was in fact lucky to be alive: a warrant for his arrest had been issued in Paris just as he left the port of Le Havre in 1793. In his haste he had left behind an irreplaceable possession: a set of boxes filled with notes and documents he had collected over a decade of research for books he was writing on French Saint-Domingue and Spanish Santo Domingo.
Given the terrific strife underway in Saint-Domingue at the time, it is astonishing that Moreau—a Creole lawyer and freemason—was ever reunited with his lost cache of writings. It was, perhaps, far more likely that his work would have been destroyed in one of the countless fires that destroyed white property in the cities, towns, and plantations of Saint-Domingue during the uprising.
Moreau’s writings are presented in a “vastly abridged” 1985 translation edited by Ivor D. Spencer. The full title of Moreau’s two-volume manuscript, published in Philadelphia between 1797 and 1798, translates to A Topographical, Physical, Civil, Political and Historical Description of the French Part of the Island of Santo Domingo, with General Observations on its Population, on the Character and Customs of its Diverse Inhabitants, on its Climate, Culture, Production, Administration, Etc. This is a conspicuously benign title considering the nature of both the events transpiring in Saint-Domingue at the time, and Moreau’s own experiences as a refugee fleeing the violence there. Curiously, Spencer titles his translation, A Civilization that Perished: the Last Years of White Colonial Rule in Haiti. Taken at face value, the implications of such a name are rather troubling, and contrast markedly with Dubois’ Avengers of the New World, Nick Nesbitt’s Universal Emancipation: the Haitian Revolution and Radical Enlightenment (2008), Doris Garraway’s Tree of Liberty: Cultural Legacies of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World (2008), and Jeremy Popkin’s You Are All Free (2010). Those books’ titles promise a hopeful ethos and the possibility for redemption. Even Ashli White’s Encountering Revolution: Haiti and the Making of the Early Republic (2010), and Martin Ros’s Night of Fire: the Black Napoleon and the Battle for Haiti (1994) present titles that suggest the revolutionaries were working toward something positive, whether or not the results of their efforts were as successful as they would have hoped. Even C.L.R. James’s seminal The Black Jacobins (1938), though far from neutral in its depiction of events, offers a less overtly provocative title provided one recognizes the distinction between the original meaning of “Jacobin” and the rather more pejorative burden the word carries today.
Spencer does not appear eager to escape a potential controversy. In his introduction he poses two rhetorical questions: First, was pre-revolutionary Saint-Domingue “a true civilization, when human beings were kept as slaves, and under a cruel administration at that, after transportation from Africa under most brutal conditions”? Spencer appears to defer to Moreau, claiming that Saint-Domingue was not merely a cruel and brutal colony, but one “of wealth and even brilliance.” Citing the colony’s “repertory theaters, staffed by professional actors,” “newspapers and scientific activity,” and “efficient economic pursuits,” might accurately reflect Moreau’s own definition of “civilization,” but by appearing to accept these definitions at face value, Spencer wades into dangerous waters. The second question Spencer asks and answers only muddies those waters: “Did this society perish?” It seems like a straightforward question, and Spencer does not shy away in his response: “Yes, pretty much.” Why? Spencer’s answer is, in essence, “white society disappeared,” and with it the cultural and economic institutions that they controlled. Considering the relative scarcity of original contemporary sources, it is extremely useful to have Moreau’s account of Saint-Domingue in the years before Haitian independence, whatever his attitudes may be about colonial society, and Spencer’s translation fills an important gap.
Two other significant contemporary texts exist related to the turbulent years of the Haitian Revolution, and, fortunately, they are both in English. The first is The Haitian Journal of Lieutenant Howard, York Hussars, 1796-1798, available in a volume edited by Roger Norman Buckley, published the same year (1985) as Spencer’s translation of Moreau. Lieutenant Thomas Phipps Howard and his regiment were dispatched to the West Indies during the last years of Great Britain’s presence in Saint-Domingue. Buckley describes Howard’s Journal as “probably the only reliable firsthand military account in English,” that “provides a rare and stark look at the slow yet inexorable wearing down of the British army in Saint-Domingue.” In it we read the words of a thoughtful English officer dispatched to help preserve the institution of slavery during a period of fierce slave insurrection. His initial impressions of the human chattel are telling, and quite consistent with his background. Having perceived that “People of Colour” outnumber whites “twenty to one,” he also recognizes the complex racial dynamic that involved free blacks and mulattoes. Still, in spite of his “deep inner conflict about slavery,” Howard was nevertheless unsentimental, noting in places that “the slaves appear to be used very well [and] some of them are by no means ugly, setting aside their colour.” He also doesn’t hesitate to describe the atrocities committed by the black insurgents:
Murder, Assassination, Rape, [and] Robbery was the order of the day [and] the Cruelties that were committed in St. Domingo are scarcely to be believed. As revenge is the ruling Passion of a Negro…the whole Island was immediately filled with Murder [and] Atrocities of every kind. What ever the most cruel fancy could imagine was put into Execution…and hundreds of…Men, Women, [and] Children were made to expire in most excruciating agonies. Instances may be quoted of Men absolutely skinned alive [and] then roasted to death before a Slow fire. … Children were cut out of their Mothers’ Womb [and] dashed to pieces before their faces.
Accounts like Howard’s were not unique among white individuals present during the darkest days of the Revolution.
The second significant contemporary text written by a white witness to the violent uprising is Leonora Sansay’s Secret History; or, The Horrors of St. Domingo (1808). Sansay’s work is an epistolary novel, presented in the form of letters from “a lady at Cape Francois to Colonel Burr, late vice-president of the United States.” Sansay did, indeed, have a relationship with Aaron Burr, and she was, in fact, an eyewitness to the horrific events that transpired during the bloody conclusion of French rule in Saint-Domingue. While we may assume that she takes some artistic liberties in her novel, she nevertheless presents a narrative that withstands a great deal of historical scrutiny. Characters within the novel are genuine historical figures, and the author’s accounts of violence and terror bear a striking resemblance to those of Lieutenant Howard. Meanwhile, Sansay is, if anything, even more observant and astute. Her protagonist remarks that
the general in chief [Rochambeau] is at Port-au-Prince, but he possesses no longer the confidence of the people. He is entirely governed by his officers, who are boys, and who think only of amusement. He gives splendid balls, and elegant parties; but he neglects the army, and oppresses the inhabitants.
Sansay’s novel also presents a vastly more nuanced image of the Revolution, particularly in its observations that strike one as the sort that women might make more capably than men.
A black chief and his wife were made prisoners last week, and sentenced to be shot. As they walked to the place of execution the chief seemed deeply impressed with the horror of his approaching fate: but his wife went cheerfully along, endeavoured to console him, and reproached his want of courage. When they arrived on the field, in which their grave was already dug, she refused to have her eyes bound; and turning to the soldiers who were to execute their sentence, said “Be expeditious and don’t make me linger.” She received their fire without shrinking, and expired without uttering a groan.
Indeed, as Michael J. Drexler, the editor of Broadview’s excellent edition of Secret History, points out, “unlike the racial taxonomer Moreau de Saint-Méry, not to stabilize ideologically rigid distinctions of caste, but to draw relations between multiple fluid categories.”
Perhaps most powerful of all, however, are the societal parallels Sansay notes between the United States, then in its infancy, and the revolutionary Saint-Domingue. If we assume that both the American and Haitian revolutions were in part reflective of dynamic and powerful social phenomenon, then Sansay’s observations become even more telling.
Among the oppositions Sansay describes as being on shaky ground in both Saint-Domingue and the United States are geographic hierarchies (such as the distinction between Creole and native French), and political hierarchies (such as the distinctions between French subjects under Napoleon and the “citoyens” of the collapsed French Republic); similarly unstable is the partisan divide in the United States between Federalism and Antifederalism.
Adding to these complexities these were, of course, the similar economic and political factors that motivated both the American colonists and the residents of Saint-Domingue, most significantly the free-trade ethos that permeated the merchant and planter classes. Disdainful of distant metropolitan restrictions on their commerce, residents of both colonies reacted, with results noted by Sansay.
Though ostensibly a work of fiction, Leonora Sansay’s words read like a genuine diary of an eyewitness to history, and strike one as every bit as credible as either Moreau’s or Howard’s accounts. Though Heinl and Heinl would likely not be impressed, their label of “impressionistic” could hardly describe Secret History.
Some Later Texts
Perhaps the most important and well-known book on the subject of the Haitian Revolution is C.L.R. James’s The Black Jacobins (1938), which appeared when there was a significant shortage of material on the subject in English. Prior to that, political and social discourse on either side of the Atlantic likely made the topic unappealing. But James proceeds to recount the lives of the Revolutions key actors, most especially Toussaint Louverture. A reader clearly perceives that one of James’s primary objectives is to describe what motivated an individual like Louverture, who appears rather like a superhero in James’s account: “he slept but two hours every night,” possessed “reckless physical bravery,” satisfied “all who came to see him,” and “never broke his word”. Dismissing the gratuitous violence that historic sources describe as a key characteristic of the Revolution, James makes a forceful, often suspect, but occasionally convincing claim for Louverture’s greatness:
The basis of his power was the support of the black laborers. Its framework was the army. But from the simplest black laborer to the French generals and the best educated and most traveled and experienced of the local whites, all recognized that both in his work and personal idiosyncrasies he was the first man in San Domingo, and such a man as would have been in the first rank in any sphere.
The Black Jacobins can, in some places, come across as mere hero worship, but it is an astonishingly readable and powerful narrative of a terrifically complex event.
Among the best recent works on the topic of the Haitian Revolution, Laurent Dubois’ Avengers of the New World (2004) stands out. In the prologue Dubois posits that
the impact of the Haitian Revolution was enormous. As a unique example of successful black revolution, it became a crucial part of the political, philosophical, and cultural currents of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. By creating a society in which all people, of all colors, were granted freedom and citizenship, the Haitian Revolution forever transformed the world. 
One would not dispute the uniqueness of the events that took place in Saint-Domingue from 1791 to 1804, but in the course of Avengers, Dubois paints another, less cheerful picture – one which suggests that the society that emerged from the Revolution was not entirely harmonious, and that the methods used to reach independence sometimes undermined the ostensible ideals and goals of the Revolution itself.
First, though, keeping in mind that the Haitian Revolution was never a simple struggle between black slaves and white colonial masters, we must remember that what became a revolution began as something else, and that the objectives of its participants were not always clear. As Dubois points out, “the goal of the slave insurgents during [the] first phase of the Haitian Revolution was not to break away from France.” Rather, “it was slave owners, not slaves, who clamored most for autonomy and even for independence.” The shifting allegiances and alliances Dubois details in Avengers, particularly in chapters five through ten, demonstrate how protean the actors in this struggle really were. Underscoring the potential for ambiguity, to increase clarity Dubois diverges from the methods of other historians (including Wim Klooster in Revolutions in the Atlantic World), and replaces the “misleading” label “mulatto” with “gens de couleur,” or “free people of color,” which he argues would be an expression familiar to this story’s protagonists. This is only a small example of the sensitivity with which Dubois approaches the subject. As we see later in his descriptions of racially motivated violence, the author makes clear that context is key.
Dubois arranges Avengers in a chronological fashion, beginning with an analysis of Saint-Domingue’s early colonial history, barely touching on its pre-Columbian existence, but moving directly into the origins of slavery on the island. Having pointed out the scarcity of primary sources from the perspective of slaves and free blacks, Dubois makes good use of the observations of the creole “Médéric-Lois-Elie Moreau de St. Méry, a lawyer, writer, and one-time resident of Saint-Domingue” who had kept copious notes on Saint-Domingue and Spanish Santo Domingo. Moreau, Dubois explains, was an astute observer of colonial life in Saint-Domingue, and found the island to be blessed with beauty, natural splendor, and a source of potential riches for France, but he did not wish to delve into the horrors of the Revolution. His 1796 book is deliberately set in 1789, on the eve of the revolt. “Moreau was in Saint-Domingue” in 1787, when France denied the colony permission to create its own colonial assembly as it had allowed in Martinique and Guadeloupe, enraging the elites. Saint-Domingue’s merchant and planter class had a stubbornly autocratic attitude that was reflected in their attitudes toward free trade, contraband, and slavery. The reaction of the merchants and slave masters, who felt that restrictions granting slaves quality-of-life improvements and the right to complain about abuse undermined their authority as owners of property, helped “lay the foundation for the demands of self-government that would explode into open rebellion.”
Approximately “685,000 slaves were brought into Saint-Domingue during the eighteenth century alone,” and their labor fueled the most prolific and profitable plantation colony on earth, generating an enormous percentage of the world’s sugar, coffee, indigo, and other commodities. Slaves outnumbered whites nine to one by the eve of the revolution. As Dubois makes clear, there was a good deal of compromise on plantations between black slaves and their masters. The simple mathematics of the equation necessitated a degree of practicality on the part of slaveholders. But racism was omnipresent, and informed every facet of life, even for the gens de couleur. Free black women were often treated as mere courtesans, and slaves, of course, were merely possessions to be used in whatever way owners wished. When masters wantonly abused their slaves, authorities might contradict the letter of the law and side against the slaves, making a risky bet in the process: “if slaves saw planters punished on the basis of [slave] testimony, there would be a breakdown of authority and, ultimately, a slave rebellion.” “On the other hand…if the violence of planters was not kept in check, and if slaves found no recourse from the administration, they would have no option but violent vengeance.” That, it turns out, appears to be a significant factor in the outbreak of violence that began in August 1791.
In chapter four of Avengers, Dubois lays out the incidents of the Revolution’s first days in the summer of 1791. The uprising of black slaves against plantation owners and overseers seems straight-forward enough, and the descriptions of the bloody violence speak for themselves. But the course of events that followed is far less clear-cut. Dubois describes the ways in which the revolutionaries shifted from framing their cause “in the language” of the French Revolution (making references to the Rights of Man), to appealing to more Loyalist sentiments. This, again, underscores the complexities of the Haitian Revolution, which, like its participants, defy simple categorization.
Many of the Revolution’s participants are chronicled in Avengers. Dubois, appropriately, devotes considerable attention to Toussaint Louverture, a free man of color who led the revolutionary forces for years until his betrayal, capture, and exile in France. In Revolutions in the Atlantic World, Wim Klooster feels comfortable confirming that Louverture was descended from African royalty. Louverture was constantly reevaluating his situation, switching allegiance from one side to the other as it suited his cause. It is sad, then, that a leader who showed so much promise devolved into a virtual tyrant, enforcing draconian rules without mercy, as Dubois describes in chapter eleven.
If Toussaint Louverture comes out looking less heroic for his tactics, Dubois seeks to remind us that his ideas were noble:
Louverture wanted free trade, control over economic policy within the colony, and political autonomy. Unlike [earlier planter activists], he had successfully forced such a regime on the metropolitan officials in the colony. Like the planters, he envisioned a thriving plantation economy. But, unlike them, he sought to construct an order without slavery. In a curious reversal of the situation in 1793 and 1794, when planters sought autonomy to save slavery, Louverture sought it to save emancipation.
That emancipation would ultimately be permanently achieved from a technical standpoint, even if conditions bordering on slavery continued to exist on plantations after independence in 1804.
Klooster argues that “revolutions are not foreordained. They could have been prevented, derailed, or postponed.” Dubois would likely agree that conditions in Saint-Domingue would have required only limited modification to avert the revolution that took place there beginning in 1791. That is a lesson that one could draw from the entire ordeal. But as it becomes clear in both Dubois’s and Klooster’s books, the Haitian Revolution is far too complex to boil down to simple statements.
Michel-Rolph Trouillot claims that the events and outcomes of the Revolution were “unthinkable” to many ostensive revolutionaries at the time whose own ideas of equality could not abide black freedom, and who maintained institutions that suppressed it. David Nicholls believes that
the ideas and beliefs of Haitians, which must be seen largely as the products and beliefs of their history, have influenced their actions, and…the story of the country cannot properly be told without an knowledge of these ideas. For us to comprehend what was said and believed in the past it may be necessary to employ concepts which were not themselves used by those whose ideas were are studying.
This seems like good advice for historians of all subjects, but may prove especially true for those who seek to study the Haitian Revolution. Over two centuries have passed since the world’s first successful slave rebellion gave birth to a nation of free black citizens, but in many ways the promise of that revolution remain unfulfilled. This is partly due, no doubt, to tragic circumstances beyond anyone’s control, and partly to outside prejudice and domestic corruption and incompetence. But whatever the failures and whatever the reasons, the citizens of Haiti share a remarkable and unique heritage, and that heritage only becomes more impressive the more scholars examine the fascinating story of the Revolution of Saint-Domingue.
 Blackburn, Robin. “Haiti, Slavery, and the Age of the Democratic Revolution.” The William and Mary Quarterly 63.4 (2006): 643-74. Print. P. 673.
 The two dates most commonly cited are 21 August and 22 August in 1791.
 Bakewell, Peter. Laws of Burgos, 1512. 1512. MS. Southern Methodist University, Burgos. 1512-1513. The Laws of Burgos. Southern Methodist University. Web. 3 Dec. 2010.
 Heinl, Robert Debs, and Nancy Gordon Heinl. Written in Blood: the Story of the Haitian People, 1492-1971. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1978. Print. P. 13.
 Ibid., 7.
 Heinl and Heinl lament that “the Acte d’Indépendance, Haiti’s 1804 declaration of independence, is said to be in the hands of a private collector.” As luck would have it, the earliest government-issued copy of the Acte was uncovered this year in the British National Arvives by Julia Gaffield, a Canadian graduate student. See: Cave, Damien. “Haiti’s Founding Document Found in London.” The New York Times [New York] 1 Apr. 2010, sec. A: 12. Print.
 United States. Library of Congress. Federal Research Division. Country Profile: Haiti. Washington: Library of Congress, 2006. Print. Pp. 2-13.
 United Nations. United Nations Development Program. Human Development Index Trends, 1980-2010. New York: United Nations, 2010. Print.
 Heinl and Heinl, Pp. 569, 647.
 United States. United States Geological Survey. Earthquake Hazards Program. Magnitude 7.0 – Haiti Region. Reston, Virginia: USGS, 2010. Web.
 Geggus, David Patrick. Slavery, War, and Revolution: the British Occupation of Saint Domingue, 1793-1798. Oxford: Clarendon, 1982. Print. P. 41.
 Dubois, Laurent. Avengers of the New World: the Story of the Haitian Revolution. Cambridge: Belknap of Harvard UP, 2005. Print. P. 8.
 Moreau De Saint-Mery, M.L.E. A Civilization That Perished: the Last Years of White Colonial Rule in Haiti. Trans. Ivor D. Spencer. Lanham, MD: University of America, 1985. Print. Pp. iii-iv.
 Howard, Thomas Phipps. The Haitian Journal of Lieutenant Howard, York Hussars, 1796-1798. Ed. Roger Norman Buckley. Knoxville: University of Tennessee, 1985. Print. P. xii.
 The actual ratio was much higher.
 Ibid., 103.
 Ibid., xii, 25.
 Ibid., 78.
 Sansay, Leonora. Secret History, Or, The Horrors of St. Domingo; And, Laura. Ed. Michael J. Drexler. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview, 2007. Print. P. 59.
 Ibid., 91.
 Ibid., 26.
 James, C. L. R. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution. New York: Vintage, 1989. Print. P. 249-251.
 Ibid., 255.
 Dubois, Pp. 6-7.
 Ibid., 3.
 Ibid., 6.
 Ibid., 5.
 Ibid., 8-11.
 Ibid., 31.
 Ibid., 39.
 Ibid., 53.
 Ibid., 69.
 Ibid., 56.
 Ibid., 105.
 Klooster, Revolutions, 104.
 Dubois, Avengers, 226.
 Klooster, Revolutions, 104.
 Trouillot, Michel-Rolph. Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History. Boston, MA: Beacon, 1995. Print. P. 73.
 Nicholls, David. From Dessalines to Duvalier: Race Colour, and National Independence in Haiti. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1979. Print. P. 15.