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Price-Mars’ Attempts to Organize the Haitians During the Early Years of the American Occupation, 1916–18

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Abstract

For Rear Admiral William B. Caperton, ordered to enter Haiti in 1915 as the agent of “gunboat diplomacy,” the country was a tragic land of disorder, “a land of seething discontent, professional revolutionaries, and a national and ingrained political dishonesty.”1 Rival factions had tried to gain his support in forming governments, and even the “better class” of Haitian, he was convinced, believed that only a permanent intervention could save Haiti from its social and political ills.2 At the time of the July 28 landing, Caperton assured the Haitian Committee of Safety that the action was “entirely friendly and for the preservation of order and protection of legations.”3 In effect, however, he became the nation’s governor. There was no Haitian authority with the power to resist or even protest;4 nor was there any uprising of fierce Haitian patriots from the stunned populace.5 The self-appointed Committee of Safety, consisting mostly of Sam’s adversaries,6 had seized authority in Port-au-Prince but, when assured that Caperton had come only to restore order, had cooperated with the US force in carrying forward the US administration’s design for pacification.

Keywords

Financial Adviser Marine Corps American Occupation Armed Resistance Treaty Negotiation 
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Notes

  1. 4.
    Dantès Bellegarde, La Résistance haitienne (Montréal: Editions Beauchemin, 1937), p. 34.Google Scholar
  2. 14.
    Ludwill Lee Montague, Haiti and the United States, 1714–1938 (Durham: Duke University Press 1940) p. 214; Beach, pp. 158–63; New York Herald (August 13, 1915), 3, col. 6.Google Scholar
  3. 16.
    Timothée Paret, Dans la mêlée … Pensées, Conférences, Discours, etc. 1916–1931 (Paris: Jouve, 1932), pp. 102–3; see also Patrick Bellegarde-Smith, Haiti: The Breached Citadel (Boulder: Westview Press, 1990), p. 74.Google Scholar
  4. 18.
    John W. Blassingame, “The Press and American Intervention in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, 1904–1920,” Caribbean Studies, 9, No. 2 (1969), 29–30, specially press comment in Outlook, World’s Work, and in the Chicago Tribune, “Retrograde Negro” (April 3, 1905). Milder comment appears in the Nashville Tennessean (August 22, 1915) containing editorial of the New York Sun, and in the New York Herald (August 22, 1915) Clippings File, William B. Caperton Papers.Google Scholar
  5. 20.
    Max Bissainthe, Dictionnaire de Bibliographie Haitienne (Washington D.C.: Scarecrow Press, 1951), p. 797, no. 401. Bissainthe notes that Guérin and collaborators Felix Viard and Louis Morpeau were arrested soon after the first issue was released. He adds that this was the first journal that raised the standard of revolt through the pen. See also Gaillard, Les Blancs débarquent, III, p. 208, August 23, 1915; Healy, pp. 174–5.Google Scholar
  6. 21.
    Jules Rosemond, La Crise morale et civique (Port-au-Prince: Impr. de L’Abeille, 1915).Google Scholar
  7. 22.
    Gabriel Le Rouge, Ou vivre libres et respectés ou mourir lamentablement décimées par la guerre civile (Port-au-Prince: Impr. de L’Abeille, 1916).Google Scholar
  8. 23.
    Dantès Bellegarde, Pour une Haiti heureuse, II, Par l’education et le travail (Port-au-Prince: Veraquit, 1929), p. 5.Google Scholar
  9. 26.
    Caperton, pp. 127–8; Dantès Bellegarde, Histoire du peuple haitien, 1492– 1952 (Port-au-Prince: Impr. Held, Lausanne, Switzerland, 1953) p. 255; Montague, p. 219; Corvington, IV, pp. 22–3.Google Scholar
  10. 45.
    Robert Debs Heinl, Soldiers of the Sea (Annapolis: United States Naval Institute, 1962), p. 242.Google Scholar
  11. 46.
    David Nicholls, From Dessalines to Duvalier (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1979), pp. 84–7, 108–11, 148–9; Sylvain, pp. 3–52.Google Scholar
  12. 48.
    Perceval Thoby, Union nationaliste; Dépossessions (Port-au-Prince: Impr. La Presse, 1930), pp. VII–XI; Nicholls, p. 148.Google Scholar
  13. 52.
    Ibid., p. 44. See also, Dantès Bellegarde, Haiti and Her Problems (Rio Piedras, P.R.: University of Puerto Rico Bulletin, September 1936), p. 36. See also, Michael-Rolph Truillot, HAITI: STATE Against NATION; The Origin and Legacy of Duvalierism (New York: Monthly Review Press, 1990), pp. 63, 68, 69.Google Scholar
  14. 54.
    Jacques C. Antoine, Jean Price-Mars and Haiti (Washington, D.C.: Three Continents Press, 1981), p. 101; Price-Mars, “La Vocation de l’Elite,” La Vocation, p. 58.Google Scholar

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© Magdaline W. Shannon 1996

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