Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies

Article: Forde

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James Forde
Griffith University

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Saint-Domingue ‘Remembered’: Marcus Rainsford and Leonora Sansay’s
Lessons for Atlantic World Governance

By January 1804, Saint-Domingue—the ‘pearl of the Antilles’—had been lost to colonial France and the independence of the newly-named ‘Haiti’ had been declared. This paper argues that where the majority of contemporary observers framed the Haitian Revolution in discussions of slavery, others emphasised the perceived failures of the French as evidence that the New World represented a geo-political space in which traditional forms of governance demanded re-evaluation. This paper focuses on the work of two writers who witnessed the Revolution first-hand and who argue that the biggest mistake France made was appointing leaders who were ill suited to the unique demands of the New World. For these two authors, the perceived mishandling of the Revolution by the French drastically called into question what constituted effective and legitimate governance in the Americas and served to provide pertinent lessons for leadership in Britain’s colonies and the early American republic.

Keywords: Haitian Revolution, legitimacy, governance, memory, British Caribbean, early America, slavery

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Updated 26 Jul 2017


Limina: A Journal of Historical and Cultural Studies

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