Encountering Revolution: Haiti and the Making of the Early Republic

Paperback (Print)
Buy Used
Buy Used from BN.com
(Save 30%)
Item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging.
Condition: Used – Good details
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $15.72
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 37%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (9) from $15.72   
  • New (6) from $19.54   
  • Used (3) from $15.72   


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.

For postrevolutionary Americans, the Haitian uprising laid bare the contradiction between democratic principles and the practice of slavery. For thirteen years, between 1791 and 1804, slaves and free people of color in Saint-Domingue battled for equal rights in the manner of the French Revolution. As white and mixed-race refugees escaped to the safety of U.S. cities, Americans were forced to confront the paradox of being a slaveholding republic, recognizing their own possible destiny in the predicament of the Haitian slaveholders.

Historian Ashli White examines the ways Americans—black and white, northern and southern, Federalist and Democratic Republican, pro- and antislavery—pondered the implications of the Haitian Revolution.

Encountering Revolution convincingly situates the formation of the United States in a broader Atlantic context. It shows how the very presence of Saint-Dominguan refugees stirred in Americans as many questions about themselves as about the future of slaveholding, stimulating some of the earliest debates about nationalism in the early republic.

Johns Hopkins University Press

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews


Drawing upon broader historiographies of the Haitian Revolution, Atlantic world, and the early republic, White focuses on the interactions between US residents and Saint-Dominguan refugees to demonstrate how revolutionary refugees confronted post-revolutionary Americans with their status as a slaveholding republic.

William and Mary Quarterly

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.

New West Indian Guide

In this timely study, Ashli White offers a concise synthesis of much of this literature and provides a fresh and exciting analysis of Haiti's influence on the early American republic.

H-SHEAR, H-Net Reviews - Matthew Hale

White has written the go-to or standard account of the Haitian Revolution’s impact on the United States.

Journal of American History - Tim Matthewson

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.

American Historical Review - Nick Nesbitt

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.

Florida Historical Quarterly - John Davies

A strong contribution toward understanding the Haitian Revolution's political impact on the United States.


Drawing upon broader historiographies of the Haitian Revolution, Atlantic world, and the early republic, White focuses on the interactions between US residents and Saint-Dominguan refugees to demonstrate how revolutionary refugees confronted post-revolutionary Americans with their status as a slaveholding republic.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781421405810
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 3/7/2012
  • Series: Early America: History, Context, Culture Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 280
  • Sales rank: 975,503
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Ashli White is an assistant professor of history at the University of Miami.

Johns Hopkins University Press

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt

"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 west¬ern 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 Hai¬tian Revolution. Over the next thirteen years, violence racked the island, as black and colored Saint-Dominguans faced intractable resistance to their bid for free¬dom 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 revolu¬tion, 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

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii

Introduction 1

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

Conclusion 203

Notes 213

Essay on Sources 255

Index 261

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)