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

By Gordon S. Brown | Go to book overview

INTRODUCTION

It is indeed an animating thought that, while we are securing the rights of our-
selves and our posterity, we are pointing out the way to struggling nations who
wish, like us, to emerge from their tyrannies also.… Heaven help their struggle,
and lead them, as it has us, triumphantly through them.

—Thomas Jefferson, March 11, 1790

Our democratic papers have for years past been puffing the French Revolution as
exhibiting the grand and magnificent spectacle of a great people struggling for lib-
erty. But now, similar efforts made by the blacks of Hispaniola are dubbed a wicked
rebellion… why then are the brave, independent blacks now to be starved, or
those to be treated as rebels who attempt to feed them? Does the difference in
color make a difference in the rights of man?

—Columbian Centinel, April 3, 1802

Three revolutions reshaped western political thinking at the end of the eighteenth century. The first was the American war for independence, which began as a colonial rebellion calling for greater political liberty, and in time gave birth to the first modern republic. The new American state had scarcely established itself before the second, and then the third, revolution broke out.

The French Revolution pursued the same republican ideal, but went a step further: it encompassed revolutionarily social as well as political goals. Embracing the principle of equality in addition to that of liberty, the French not only threw off the country's old rulers, they broke the old ruling system.

-3-

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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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