Encountering Revolution: Haiti And The Making Of The Early Republic by Ashli WhiteEncountering Revolution: Haiti And The Making Of The Early Republic by Ashli White

Encountering Revolution: Haiti And The Making Of The Early Republic

byAshli White

Paperback | January 19, 2012

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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.

Ashli White is an assistant professor of history at the University of Miami.
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Title:Encountering Revolution: Haiti And The Making Of The Early RepublicFormat:PaperbackProduct dimensions:280 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inShipping dimensions:9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:January 19, 2012Publisher:Johns Hopkins University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1421405814

ISBN - 13:9781421405810

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Read from the Book

"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

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.