The Haitian Exception

  • Rick Rodriguez
Part of the Pivotal Studies in the Global American Literary Imagination book series (PSGALI)


This chapter examines U.S. writing about the Haitian Revolution (1791–1804), with emphasis on the affective dimension informing the dominant genres (sensational and sentimental) that frame the response to the events transpiring in the former French colony. The mixture of fear and sympathy that characterizes U.S. perceptions of the Haitian Revolution troubles attempts to immunize its impact on American culture by rendering it as a nonevent in the history of modernity.


Haitian Revolution Slavery Empire American literature Lenora Sansay Aaron Burr Immunity 

Works Cited

  1. A Sketch of the War of St. Domingo, from the Invasion of Leclerc to the Death of Toussaint. The Literary Magazine and American Register. November 1804: 604–613.Google Scholar
  2. Annals of Congress: Debates and Proceedings, 1789–1824.
  3. Barthes, Roland. 1977. Image, Music, Text. Trans. Steven Heath. London: Fontana Press.Google Scholar
  4. Blacks of St. Domingo. Balance and Columbian Repository. April 10, 1804: 119.Google Scholar
  5. Brown, Charles Brockden. 1803. An Address to the Government of the United States, on the Cession of Louisiana to the French; and on the Late Breach of Treaty by the Spaniards; Including the Translation of a Memorial, on the War of St. Domingo, and the Cession of the Mississippi to France. Drawn up by a French Counsellor of State. Philadelphia: John Conrad.Google Scholar
  6. Brown, Gordon S. 2005. Toussaint’s Clause: The Founding Fathers and the Haitian Revolution. Jackson: University of Mississippi Press.Google Scholar
  7. Buck-Morss, Susan. 2009. Haiti, Hegel, and Universal History. Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Burke, Edmund. 1958. A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of the Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, ed. James T. Boulton. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press.Google Scholar
  9. Burr, Aaron. 1983. Political Correspondence and Public Papers of Aaron Burr, ed. Mary-Jo Kline et al. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Dayan, Joan. 1998. Haiti, History, and the Gods. Berkeley/Los Angeles: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  11. Dessalines, Jean Jacques. Liberty or Death. Balance and Columbian Repository. 10 April 1804: 3.Google Scholar
  12. Dillon, Elizabeth Maddock. 2007. The Secret History of the American Novel. Novel 40 (1–2): 77–103.Google Scholar
  13. Drexler, Michael. 2007. Introduction. In Secret History; or, the Horrors of St. Domingo, ed. Michael Drexler. Ontario: Broadview Press.Google Scholar
  14. Dun, James Alexander. 2016. Dangerous Neighbors: Making the Haitian Revolution in Early America. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Egerton, Douglas R. 2002. The Empire of Liberty Reconsidered. In The Revolution of 1800: Democracy, Race, and the New Republic, ed. James Horn, Jan Ellen Lewis, and Peter S. Onuf. Charlottesville/London: University of Virginia Press.Google Scholar
  16. Ferrer, Ada. 2014. Freedom’s Mirror: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution. New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Fischer, Sybille. 2003. Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution. Durham: Duke University Press.Google Scholar
  18. Geggus, David. 2016. The Louisiana Purchase and the Haitian Revolution. In The Haitian Revolution and the Early United States: Histories, Textualities, Geographies, ed. Elizabeth Maddock-Dillon and Michael Drexler. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  19. Isenberg, Nancy. 2004. The ‘Little Emperor’: Aaron Burr, Dandyism, and the Sexual Politics of Treason. In Beyond the Founders: New Approaches to the Political History of the Early American Republic, ed. Jeffrey L. Pasley et al. Chapel Hill/London: The University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  20. James, C.L.R. 1989. The Black Jacobins. Toussaint L’Overture and the San Domingo Revolution. New York: Vintage.Google Scholar
  21. Johnson, Sarah E. 2012. The Fear of French Negroes: Transcolonial Collaboration in the Revolutionary Americas. Berkeley/Los Angeles: U of California P.Google Scholar
  22. Levine, Robert S. 2008. Dislocating Race and Nation: Episodes in Nineteenth-Century American Literary Nationalism. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Maddock-Dillon, Elizabeth, and Michael Drexler. 2016. The Haitian Revolution and the Early United States: Histories, Textualities, Geographies. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  24. Our Next Door Neighbors. The Balance and State Journal. 7 May 1811: 1.Google Scholar
  25. Popkin, Jeremy D. 2010. You Are All Free: The Haitian Revolution and the Abolition of Slavery. New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  26. Sansay, Leonora. 1971. Secret History Written by a Lady at Cape Francois to Colonel Burr. (1808). Freeport: Books for Library Press.Google Scholar
  27. Trouillot, Michel-Rolph. 1995. Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History. Boston: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
  28. White, Ashli. 2010. Encountering Revolution: Haiti and the Making of the Early Republic. Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rick Rodriguez
    • 1
  1. 1.Baruch CollegeNew York CityUSA

Personalised recommendations