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Dangerous Neighbors: A New Book on the Haitian Revolution’s Impact on Early America

2.8.16

Dangerous Neighbors: A New Book on the Haitian Revolution’s Impact on Early America: - [aaihs.org] - As the American Revolution receded, divisions emerged in the new nation over its meaning and heritage. Considering American ideas about Saint Domingue emphasizes the fluidity of this period’s politics. Different groups looked there to support arguments about the moment at hand. For some, Dominguan violence served to distinguish the American past from the chaos of the French/Caribbean present. At other points—and in more ways than many historians have appreciated—Americans, black and white, found ways to voice qualified support for the changes going on in the colony. These debates stimulated expressions of radical ideas about citizenship, equality, and the fate of slavery in the republic. Ultimately, however, Saint Domingue’s utility as a weapon in domestic politics blunted its capacity to push American ideology: the rise of the Jeffersonians was predicated on an embrace of whiteness as a way to mark the nation’s boundaries. Increasingly simplified into being a “black” place, Saint Domingue (and then Haiti) was stripped of its vitality and relevance in American political discourse, except as a metonym for black violence.


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Dispatch: Aboriginal Press Media Group  |   Permalink  |   [2.8.16]  |   0 comments

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