Haitian Civil War (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Rule of Haiti after independence. Result: Pétion’s successor, Jean-Pierre Boyer, extended rule over all Haiti.
The French Revolution had profound impacts on all aspects of life and not just in Europe. Largely as a result of France’s preoccupation with its revolution, its colony Saint-Domingue fought a successful war for independence. On January 1, 1804, the new nation of Haiti was proclaimed. Within two years, however, the optimism of freedom collapsed as civil war swept across Haiti.
Jean-Jacques Dessalines was an instrumental figure in Haiti’s independence, and he ruled the country as dictator for a little more than a year. After conducting a reign of terror against white Haitians and providing little help for poor black citizens, Dessalines was murdered in 1805. Shortly thereafter, an assembly was elected and charged with creating a new government. The constitution that it produced called for a weak president and a strong legislative body. Henri Christophe, a black, was elected president, and Alexandre Pétion, of mixed (mulatto) heritage, was chosen as head of the legislature.
Both Christophe and Pétion were military commanders, having served under the leader of Haiti’s revolution against France, Toussaint-Louverture. Pétion, however, is believed to have helped mastermind Dessalines’s murder. The racial differences...
(The entire section is 702 words.)
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