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Haiti's Influence on Antebellum America

Slumbering Volcano in the Caribbean

Alfred N. Hunt

Publication Year: 2006

The Haitian Revolution began in 1791 as a slave revolt on the French colonial island of Saint Domingue and ended thirteen years later with the founding of an independent black republic. Waves of French West Indians—slaves, white colonists, and free blacks—fled the upheaval and flooded southern U.S. ports—most notably New Orleans—bringing with them everything from French opera to voodoo. Alfred N. Hunt discusses the ways these immigrants affected southern agriculture, architecture, language, politics, medicine, religion, and the arts. He also considers how the events in Haiti influenced the American slavery-emancipation debate and spurred developments in black militancy and Pan-Africanism in the United States. By effecting the development of racial ideology in antebellum America, Hunt concludes, the Haitian Revolution was a major contributing factor to the attitudes that led to the Civil War.

Published by: Louisiana State University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication, Quotes

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pp. 2-9


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pp. ix-xii

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pp. xiii-xiv

Scholars leave a trail of debts to many people who often give valuable help or support without realizing it; I have left such a trail over the years. My mentor, William H. Goetzmann of the University of Texas, is the most stimulating teacher I have ever seen. Robert Crunden and William Stott of Texas, ...

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pp. 1-8

"Negro entered into white man as profoundly as white man entered into Negro—subtly influencing every gesture, every word, every emotion and idea, every attitude." These incisive words of southerner Wilbur J. Cash, written in the 1940s, foreshadowed the interest in black history and the recognition of its importance to the American experience. ...

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One: St. Domingue and the Caribbean

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pp. 9-36

After Columbus landed near Môle St. Nicolas in 1492, the Spanish government hoped that the island he named Hispaniola would be the center of a vast, opulent empire in the West. But the colony's potential as a source of surface wealth proved disappointing and Spanish attention shifted to more exciting conquests on the American mainland. ...

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Two: St. Domingan Refugees in the Lower South

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pp. 37-83

American historians have traditionally emphasized the British antecedents of what Crevecoeur called "the American, this new man," to the virtual exclusion of such visible ethnic minorities as the Negro, the Chicano, and the American Indian. The cultural contributions of some western European groups have likewise been slighted—the French, ...

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Three: Toussaint's Image in Antebellum America

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pp. 84-106

Henry Adams' observation is as valid today as when he made it almost a century ago: "The story of Toussaint Louverture has been told almost as often as that of Napoleon, but not in connection with the history of the United States although he exercised on their history an influence as decisive as that of any European ruler." ...

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Four: The Southern Response to the Haitian Revolution

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pp. 107-146

Southerners were keen observers of what was happening in the Caribbean. They were anxious to defend their economic, political, and social system by applying what they saw as the lessons of the French West Indian experience to their own situation. Nor were they reticent about pointing out, for themselves and the rest of the nation, ...

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Five: Blacks and Their Allies Respond

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pp. 147-188

Both black and white abolitionists were intrigued by the events in the French West Indies and the history of Haiti during the antebellum period. The accomplishments of Haitian leaders who struggled against overwhelming odds to establish a government of their own played a major role in the development of pride and dignity among American blacks, ...

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pp. 189-192

Although the Caribbean has played an important role in the cultural development of the United States, it does not resonate in the American mind as an area worthy of much attention. Some historians and anthropologists have studied the region, but Americans are generally not aware that the southern United States shared its history ...


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pp. 193-196

E-ISBN-13: 9780807153727
Print-ISBN-13: 9780807131978

Page Count: 216
Publication Year: 2006