The late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Caribbean was the setting for significant and far-reaching changes in long-established European political, social and economic ideals. One of the major events that resulted from the precarious times and in turn produced further transformations was the Haitian revolution. The established studies of early nineteenth-century Haiti have emphasized the significant division separating a perceived mixed-race ancient libres caste from a black nouveau libres caste. However, systematic study of Haiti's first constitutions reveals that, while this division played a significant role in political and everyday life, the articulation of a single "imagined community" also characterized official descriptions of the newly independent nation. Between 1801 and 1807 four constitutions defined Haiti in different ways, but all represented Haiti as a cohesive state. The importance of gaining a better understanding of the changing constitutional constructions of Haiti extends to research on nationbuilding efforts in both colonizing and colonized societies around the nineteenth-century world.


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pp. 81-103
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