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Winner, Gilbert Chinard Prize, Society for French Historical Studies and the Institut Français d’Amérique
Encountering Revolution looks afresh at the profound impact of the Haitian Revolution on the early United States. The first book on the subject in more than two decades, it redefines our understanding of the relationship between republicanism and slavery at a foundational moment in American history.
"This richly detailed study is especially important in extending our understanding of the impact of the Haitian Revolution on U.S. society back to the 1790s and to other strata beyond its elite political class."— American Historical Review
"White has written the go-to or standard account of the Haitian Revolution’s impact on the United States."— H-SHEAR, H-Net Reviews
"White's volume dovetails nicely with earlier studies of American thoughts about the Haitian Revolution and helps show how the revolution's potential explosiveness was rendered moot by southern commentators wielding American exceptionalism."— Journal of American History
"A serious work of sober analysis, it has been written with great patience and scholarly care, making it accessible to seasoned researchers and undergraduates alike."— William and Mary Quarterly
Johns Hopkins University Press
— Nick Nesbitt
— Tim Matthewson
— John Davies
"The United States felt the impact of the slave insurrection in Saint-Domingue almost as soon as it began. The French possession, consisting of the western third of Hispaniola, was the most lucrative colony in the eighteenth-century West Indies, but its colonial regime came under threat in August 1791, when the enslaved majority rebelled, inaugurating what would become the Haitian Revolution. Over the next thirteen years, violence racked the island, as black and colored Saint-Dominguans faced intractable resistance to their bid for freedom and citizenship. Plantations went up in flames; Spanish, British, and French armies invaded; and thousands of residents, white and nonwhite, fled to other Caribbean islands, Europe, and North America. The rebels persevered, and finally, in 1804, the largest slave uprising in history ended with emancipation and national independence.
"While this remarkable outcome was uncertain in the first stages of the revolution, Americans realized early on that the rebellion had important consequences for their own republic. In the summer of 1793, as he learned that boatloads of refugees were disembarking on American shores, Thomas Jefferson connected the fates of Saint-Domingue and the United States: "I become daily more and more convinced that all the West India islands will remain in the hands of the people of colour, and a total expulsion of the whites sooner or later take place. It is high time we should foresee the bloody scenes which our children certainly, and possibly ourselves (South of Patowmac) have to wade through, and try to avert them." In the predicament of slaveowners in the French colony, Jefferson saw the destiny of his countrymen. Eventually, white Americans, too, because of their commitment to slavery, would experience civil war."—from the Introduction
Johns Hopkins University Press
1 The "New Cape" 10
2 The Dangers of Philanthropy 51
3 Republican Refugees? 87
4 The Contagion of Rebellion 124
5 "The Horrors of St. Domingo"-A Reprise 166
Essay on Sources 255
Posted January 31, 2014
No text was provided for this review.