Francois Duvalier

Duvalier, François

François Duvalier (fräNswä´ düvälyā´), 1907–71, dictator of Haiti (1957–71). A physician, he became director-general of the national public health service in 1946 and subsequently served as minister of health and of labor. After opposing Paul Magloire's coup in 1950, he hid in the interior, practicing medicine, until a general political amnesty was granted in 1956. In 1957, with army backing, "Papa Doc," as he was known, was overwhelmingly elected president. Reelected in a sham election in 1961, he declared himself "president for life" in 1964. His regime, the longest in Haiti's history, was a brutal reign of terror; political opponents were summarily executed, and the populace was kept in a state of abject fear by the notorious Tonton Macoutes. Under Duvalier, the economy of Haiti continued to deteriorate, and the illiteracy rate remained at about 90%. Duvalier nevertheless maintained his hold over Haiti. His practice of voodooism encouraged rumors among the people that he possessed supernatural powers. He died in Apr., 1971, after arranging for his son, Jean-Claude, to succeed him.

See J.-P. Gingras, Duvalier: Caribbean Cyclone (1967); A. Burt and B. Diederich, Papa Doc (1969, repr. 1990); J. Ferguson, Papa Doc-Baby Doc (1987).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2014, The Columbia University Press.

Selected full-text books and articles on this topic

Haiti: The Failure of Politics
Brian Weinstein; Aaron Segal.
Praeger, 1992
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "From U.S. Occupation to Duvalier Family Rule"
A Day for the Hunter, a Day for the Prey: Popular Music and Power in Haiti
Gage Averill.
University of Chicago Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 3 "'Konpa-direk for Life': Francois Duvalier's Dictatorship and Konpa-direk"
Haitians: Migration and Diaspora
Anthony V. Catanese.
Westview Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 2 "Duvalierism and Haiti's Vast Majority: The Rural Poor and Pig Repopulation in the 1980s"
Building Peace in Haiti
Chetan Kumar.
L. Rienner, 1998
Librarian’s tip: Chap. 5 "Haiti after the Duvaliers"
The Legacy of the Monroe Doctrine: A Reference Guide to U.S. Involvement in Latin America and the Caribbean
David W. Dent.
Greenwood Press, 1999
Librarian’s tip: "Francois ("Papa Doc") Duvalier (1957-1971)" begins on p. 226
Missions for Science: U.S. Technology and Medicine in America's African World
David McBride.
Rutgers University Press, 2002
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Francois Duvalier in Chap. 7 "Technology of Reaction: Haiti and the New Dispersal"
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