Toussaint's Clause: The Founding Fathers and the Haitian Revolution

By Gordon S. Brown | Go to book overview

PREFACE

The formation of foreign policy is not a tidy, nor a linear, process. A career spent in the American diplomatic service served to show this author how apparently lucid considerations of national interest can be influenced, and sometimes even perverted, by the impact of personality, bureaucratic considerations, and, above all, domestic politics. Our founding fathers lived in what seems to us today a much simpler world, yet it was nonetheless one where many of those same considerations had great weight. Our policy toward revolutionary Haiti—St. Domingo in the parlance of the time—was no exception.

This book had its origin in a fit of curiosity. I wanted to know more about Toussaint Louverture, that iconic figure about whom most Americans have, at best, only a shadowy knowledge. I began to read the record. There, I learned for the first time how closely the Haitian revolution had touched early American politics, and how crucially the American and Haitian stories were intertwined during the exciting decade that saw the United States take its first foreign policy initiatives, and make the fateful Louisiana Purchase. The book flowed easily from the drama that I saw in this often overlooked story, and from the desire to dissect it as a sort of case study as to how American foreign policy was made.

I am most appreciative for the two superb institutions that house most of the information on which this book is based: the Library of Congress and the National Archives. Helpful staff and comfortable,

-ix-

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Toussaint's Clause: The Founding Fathers and the Haitian Revolution
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Foreword vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction 3
  • July 1790 8
  • St. Domingue 23
  • White Cockade, Red Cockade 45
  • The Cost of Neutrality 66
  • Trouble with Britain 89
  • Trouble with France 106
  • Toussaint's Clause 126
  • Creating a Quarantine 144
  • The St. Domingo Station 162
  • Jefferson Equivocates 179
  • The Leclerc Expedition 199
  • St. Domingo and Louisiana 213
  • A Risky Trade 229
  • The Clearance Act Debate 245
  • The Trade Suspended 263
  • Embargo and Neglect 279
  • Epilogue 292
  • Notes 296
  • Bibliography 310
  • Index 317
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