Toussaint Louverture, the Haitian Revolution and the Evolution of the American Republic

In this lecture, historian and author Gerald Therrien introduces the turbulent world of 1787-1804 which shaped (and was in turn shaped by) the Haitian Revolution establishing the world’s second republic.

This was a world shaped by battles within America itself between opposing factions of Americans who read the newly established Constitution from diametrically opposing worldviews. These faction fights saw anarchistically minded followers of Thomas Jefferson attempt to pull America into European intrigue and promote the rights of slave owners to their human property vs patriots led by Alexander Hamilton who strove to establish the young nation’s economic sovereignty and constitutional mandate tied to the unalienable rights of all man regardless of skin color.

It was a world shaped by oligarchical manipulations that turned the hopes of the French revolution into a Jacobin bloodbath and unleashed divide-to-conquer wars across the world.

It was a world that saw an uprising in a small slave-dominated plantation economy led by the great revolutionary Toussaint Louverture who single-handedly outflanked all three major empires of Europe (French, Spanish and British) struggling to control the Americas which ultimately led to the establishment of the Haitian Republic in 1803.

Therrien discusses how Louverture’s multi-level fight led directly into an exasperated Napoleon’s decision to sell Louisiana to the Americans in 1803, and how British operations in Canada were forever shaped by these actions.

This lecture also reviews the little-known British-directed plot to break up the United States with the early 1803 secessionist plot led by Aaron Burr and the “Essex Junto” which strove to unite the U.S. “free” states with the Canadian provinces.

Without understanding these dynamics then it is impossible to comprehend such things as the murder of Louverture-ally Alexander Hamilton at the hands of Aaron Burr in 1804 or the nature of America’s (and Haiti’s) evolution over the next 200 years.

This lecture is part of a larger series sponsored by the Rising Tide Foundation entitled “A Harmony of Interests: Inquiries into the True Nature of the American System“.

Supplementary Material

Much of the material introduced in this class is outlined in Therrien’s recent Essay: The Unveiling of Canadian History vol. 4 : Ireland, Haiti and Louisiana and the Idea of a Continental Republic (1797 – 1804)

Gerry’s new book published by Canadian Patriot Press is also now available in paperback here.

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