[Scholar Series – Ep. # 64] Haitian Connections: Recognition After Revolution in the Atlantic World.
- Welcome to Nèg Mawon Podcast, where we uncover the interconnectedness of Haitian history and its global impact. In this episode, host Patrick Jean-Baptiste delves into a fascinating conversation with special guest Julia Gaffield, focusing on the complexities of Haiti’s diplomatic recognition post-revolution and independence. They explore Gaffield’s eye-opening research, challenging the prevailing narrative of Haiti’s isolation and shedding light on the country’s strategic diplomatic efforts. From international alliances to the influential role of foreign merchants, Gaffield’s insights provide a fresh perspective on Haiti’s historical narrative. Join us as we unravel the diplomatic intricacies of post-independence Haiti and celebrate the work of scholars like Julia Gaffield, whose passion for capturing Haitian history continues to inspire future generations of scholars.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:00:00]:
So it really is an honor to have you on, professor Garfield. So I I appreciate you coming here. Yeah. 2 years in the making. See, I never gave up. You know? I was like, I gotta have all because I keep running into you in the damn footnotes. You know? And just like
Julia Gaffield [00:00:13]:
Footnotes are the best place to look in most books.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:00:16]:
It is, isn’t it? Right.
Julia Gaffield [00:00:17]:
And I think, like, one of the one of the greatest compliments about a book is, like, you recommend the book and you’re like, and don’t skip the footnotes.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:00:31]:
Before we get into Haitian connections and the Atlantic world recognition after revolution, you’re writing a book a biography of this.
Julia Gaffield [00:00:39]:
I am. It’s true.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:00:41]:
Oh my god. You know? I I, I I you know? Where are you in this process? Are you almost done?
Julia Gaffield [00:00:49]:
That is that is the $1,000,000 question, isn’t it? And I’m almost done. At this point, it is out for its 2nd round of peer review. Those reports are coming back any day now. Fingers crossed. And, so we’ll see What the reviewers say, how much more editing needs to be done, kind of publication date is gonna depend on on that That work, but it’ll be either late 2024 or early 2025. There’s a full version of it, and it’s, You know, a decent full version of it, but there’s still a little bit of work to do.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:01:25]:
But lengthwise, what are we looking at here?
Julia Gaffield [00:01:27]:
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:01:29]:
It 300, under 300, 400 pages.
Julia Gaffield [00:01:32]:
Oh, I don’t know how it translates into pages. A 150,000 a 100000 words.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:01:37]:
Oh, okay. Okay.
Julia Gaffield [00:01:38]:
Which I think should be longer than Haitian connections, by about half. Like, yeah, one and a half times that. So it it’s it’s not a short biography.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:01:53]:
Julia Gaffield [00:01:54]:
Initially, a case of I had a really great professor in undergrad, Melanie Newton, at the University of Toronto. And I was sitting in her class, and it was it was the first time I had learned it was a kind of general intro to Caribbean history class. And it was the 1st time I was learning a lot, about a lot of this material. That semester, I very distinctly remember, like, at the start of the class, I was one of the students who sat at the back of the room. And by the end of the class, this was, a full year class. It was 2 semesters. There’s they do this in in Canada a fair amount. And by the end of the class, I was sitting in the front row of the class.
Julia Gaffield [00:02:35]:
I think That kind of physical progression just matched my interest in the material. And it was in this class that I first read an excerpt From the black Jacobins. It was basically I was reading about this, and I was I was just kind of blown away. I had never learned Anything about the Haitian revolution before this class, the the story of it, kind of broader impact, it really blew my mind. And that was also The same year. This was in 2004. And so there was a lot of talk about Haiti in the news, and professor Newton ensured that we kind of connected what we were learning about in the class to contemporary events through discussions in the class, but also outside the class with Community members, discussions about Haitian sovereignty, and kind of connecting history to the present. And this was the 1st time I’d really seen that done, And I I kinda never looked back.
Julia Gaffield [00:03:31]:
So it was just it was a really good class in undergrad, a really great professor at a very specific, moment in time. And the way the way professor Newton taught the class, it was kind of heavily dependent on essay writing that I that it turns out I actually love, and I didn’t really know that until, that class. And so it’s just the the and then, of course, after that, I took Every single class that professor Newton offered, and I just tagged along after her and, followed her around. And it’s it’s been nice kind of bumping into her at various academic events now. She very much remembers me being in the class, and I, You know, I’m like, basically, you changed my life.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:04:17]:
Julia Gaffield [00:04:17]:
It was such a great experience. Yeah.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:04:19]:
I taught this book on Clubhouse. 2, 300 people that attended over a 8 week period.
Julia Gaffield [00:04:26]:
That’s so great.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:04:27]:
That’s awesome. Yeah. Yeah. And everyone, Julia were, like, blown away. Some of them might have even contacted you already.
Julia Gaffield [00:04:34]:
Yeah. These kinds of feedback are just so great, and I’m really grateful for that.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:04:38]:
That feedback that I got from that audience who, at 7 PM on Wednesday night, showed up. Wow. Right? We were all taught that Haiti was completely isolated. Mhmm. So or is it more nuanced than that?
Julia Gaffield [00:04:52]:
I think it’s a little more nuanced. Isolated is not, the word I would use, because that suggests a kind of complete cutoff. And what I really wanted to emphasize in the book is that it was in fact much more complicated, and there were ways that People of various kinds engaged with Haiti, for various reasons. And that doesn’t mean That diplomatic nonrecognition wasn’t, like, important and significant. I think the emphasis on the isolation aspect kind of tells a narrative about Haiti that, you know, they were cut off from the world, kind of, you
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:05:36]:
Julia Gaffield [00:05:37]:
it’s a very parochial history that it’s very local. And it and it really undermines a lot of the work That various heads of state did to try to change the the diplomatic nonrecognition. Right? So there was a lot of Activism on the part of, various Haitian diplomats and heads of state to integrate Into the community of nations and empires in the Atlantic world. And so I I saw, like, a number of problems with the framing. And it erased, first. It erased, Dessalines as any kind of, you know, diplomatic leader. It kind of took away him as a as an actor who is trying to, negotiate with foreign governments to establish Haitian sovereignty. And then I think it creates this kind of narrative that after the revolution, Haiti was isolated, and then, basically, it was bad news from there on.
Julia Gaffield [00:06:34]:
It also puts diplomatic recognition on this pedestal that,
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:06:41]:
Julia Gaffield [00:06:41]:
don’t think it deserves to be on because even after they allegedly got diplomatic recognition, It didn’t really mean that they were accepted, that Haiti was accepted as an equal nation state among the family of nations, you know. Mhmm. So it’s not this kind of Before recognition and after recognition break, it’s much more of a spectrum. I think in the academic community, Some of the problem was that a lot of the research that was being done, you know, since in the last, 2 to 3 decades, A lot of that research was really focused on the revolution. And then, you know, they declare independence, and that’s the end of the story. Kind of my research program was, like, okay, you win you win the revolution, and and, like, then what? How do you Stay in this country. Right? Like, how did they maintain independence? Which I think if you think about the fact that Haiti did remain independent, In it in and of itself is kind of mind blowing. And so I really wanted to figure that out.
Julia Gaffield [00:07:45]:
The ability to sustain independence, To me, it didn’t really fit with this isolation thesis. This and the isolation thesis, PhD from York University where I got my master’s degree, his name’s, Thor Burnham, is the one who called it the isolation thesis. And his dissertation looked at marriage records in the 19th century. I don’t I to my knowledge, he has not published it as a book, but it’s an excellent dissertation. And so he called it this isolation thesis, and he had kind of started saying, like, no. All these marriage marriage records show that, in fact, Haney was not isolated, and he approached it from that, perspective. But he was looking a little more at the mid 19th century. As I was kind of starting this research program, There was not a lot of attention to the to the independence period.
Julia Gaffield [00:08:34]:
That was starting to change though. And and Marlena Dowd has, Obviously been, one of the people who has done a ton of research on this as well, and she was a a few years ahead of me in terms of Her career. So, kind of, you know, we started having these conversations when I was still a grad student. I met her, I met her for the 1st time at the Haitian Studies Association conference, in Montuhuis, Haiti, and she just kind of blew my mind. But so there there were there Wasn’t no. It wasn’t like nobody was having these conversations, but it wasn’t the the kind of accepted narrative about what happened after independence. And so I think there’s, like, a growing group that is kind of questioning what that means. And and I and I certainly don’t wanna Kind of emphasized complexity and ambiguity, but it’s a much more complicated story.
Julia Gaffield [00:09:28]:
And for various reasons, I think Acknowledging that complexity is is really important both for, Haitian history, but also for the kind of Broader age of revolutions history in terms of how people responded to Haitian independence.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:09:42]:
You all are sort of pretty much looking at the same materials, right, when you go to the archives. And how is it how is it that these kind of gaps Happened. How much of that is institutional that’s causing this sort of gap, if you will, versus how much of it is sort of a natural progression of disconnected people doing research on whatever interest
Julia Gaffield [00:10:05]:
them. Yeah. I I mean, I think it in a lot of ways, it depends on the on the Circumstance. So I’ll just, speak to to kind of my own, experiences. 1 of when I When I started saying that I wanted to study or wanted to research 1804 and after, one of the things that I heard Kinda most frequently was like, you’re not really gonna be able to write a dissertation about that because there aren’t any sources. Right. Happily, my adviser at Duke, Laurent Dubois, disagreed with that conclusion and was enough sources to do this project. Go ahead.
Julia Gaffield [00:10:45]:
But, you know, related to kinda relating source base To the the kind of the conclusion that Haiti was isolated, I think is very much if you if you start with the fact that Haiti was isolated, Then your source base is determined by kind of that relationship.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:11:06]:
Julia Gaffield [00:11:07]:
And and then and then the next step to that was, well, there’s no sources in Haiti, which is not entirely true. Yes. Archives in Haiti, for various reasons, don’t have robust collections. Some of that is legacies of colonialism, you know, underfunded institutions, Various reasons. If you start with the idea that Haiti was not isolated, then that opens up a kind of much larger geography of of kind of archival possibilities. The the first kind of inkling that I got of this and and one of the reasons why I was like, This isolation thing, I don’t know. There’s a couple pages in I think it’s Thomas Madhu. It could Could be it could be Beau Crabbe, but I think it’s Thomas Madue where he talks about a diplomat from Jamaica coming to Haiti To negotiate a trade agreement.
Julia Gaffield [00:11:59]:
And I was like, what? And and there’s a couple pages on it. Right? So, You know, this opens the door. That’s not that’s not isolation to me.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:12:10]:
Julia Gaffield [00:12:11]:
That’s that’s diplomatic engagement, international diplomacy. So, I went to, visit the archives in Jamaica, particularly, the National Library of Jamaica, where they have The records, the letters from the governor of Jamaica at the time when Haiti became independent. And, this is one of these these kind of moments in the archive that, you know, like, a lot of people think that the archives are, like, really cool and exciting. And they are To some degree, but they’re also very, like, institutional and bureaucratic and, you know, not all that exciting. But this was one of those moments where, You know, the the kind of you’re picturing yourself and sitting at a table and they bring out these, like, 3 enormous wooden boxes That look like, you know, somebody in a Hollywood film would describe the archives. Like, they’re kind of amazing. And in these boxes are, you know, like, Ten inch high stacks of folded up letters that are tied with string. And so there’s just all this material that’s like Original letters from Dessalines writing to the governor of Jamaica and, you know, correspondence back and forth.
Julia Gaffield [00:13:21]:
And so to me, that was like, There there was clearly engagement with the world outside of Haiti, and so we just need to start looking. And so my strategy kind of became, like, What other archive can I go to? You know? What other does it make is there kind of a Like, a very sliver a small sliver of evidence to suggest that something could be in this archive, and I would go. And I would inevitably find things, either about Haiti or, material from Haiti, that have then helped me put together this broader picture of Haiti in the Atlantic world, rather than Haiti is isolate.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:14:13]:
What time period are you covering in this book?
Julia Gaffield [00:14:16]:
I start I start a little bit before, the declaration of independence Because Dessalines kind of began began planning for independence in, like, June of 18 03, And so he’s kind of setting the the groundwork for the next months in terms of preparing for independence. So I I start with With that as the beginning of independence because I really see that as the push for the independence movement. Around 18 10 ish depending on, the the moment. And I see this you know, it’s a very it’s kind of a a bigger geographical perspective and a smaller chronological perspective.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:14:57]:
Julia Gaffield [00:14:58]:
And the reason why I I chose to do that, was because I wanted to show these kind of various strands of non isolation. I kind of figured that after about 18/10, The policies that got put in place, both within Haiti and by foreign governments, kind of stayed pretty constant until The 18/25 ordinance. To me, it made sense to kind of dig deep on on those years, the 1st decade, Almost decade after, around independence, and then what gets figured out there kind of stays in place. You know, 18/25 and on, it’s a bit of a different story.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:15:41]:
Mhmm. Oh, yeah. Right.
Julia Gaffield [00:15:45]:
I mean, I think just also During that time period, there’s also the a lot more possibility in terms of in terms of outcomes. And the Mhmm. The expectation, Maybe not expectation, but the possibility of becoming an accepted and recognized nation Among the family of nations of Europe and America. You know? The the trade treaty that I talk about that Dessalines and the governor of Jamaica, George Nugent, were trying to negotiate was an example of how a European empire was trying to kind of Put Haiti in a kind of, an unequal status among the among the family of nations. And Dessalines’ response is like, absolutely not.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:16:35]:
Julia Gaffield [00:16:35]:
We we did not declare independence to now kind of lose our sovereignty through this treaty with you guys. Mhmm. But by the 18 by 18/25, it’s kinda become clear that there’s not a whole lot of other options. And this is one of the things that I find, kind of very telling about the Haitian case is that In the Haitian case, the only case in the Americas in which the former colonizer was the first to extend official diplomatic recognition To the former colony. Right? So in in the case of the US, France recognizes the US before The British do. In the case of Latin America, the British recognize, independent countries before, the Portuguese or Spanish do. Right? So everybody waits and kind of respects hate or France’s, ongoing claims To, dominion over Haiti. And that puts them in a position where this kind of compromise Agreement with France is the is the becomes the only option.
Julia Gaffield [00:17:43]:
Whereas earlier, there’s it’s not clear that that’s that that’s gonna be the case.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:17:47]:
Because you did a a compare and contrast between, like, the United States after the US declared its independence. They they didn’t necessarily automatically get a free pass on the international stage. You had to wait, right, in the same way that Haiti did. Can you talk about that? I forgot what term you use. Is it the laws, or what was it that you called it?
Julia Gaffield [00:18:08]:
There’s either the law of nations or, the comparison with the US case is treaty worthiness.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:18:16]:
Yes. Treaty worthiness. Yes. That’s right. Yeah. Mhmm.
Julia Gaffield [00:18:19]:
Yeah. In a lot of ways, the Haitian case is similar to how, the US declared independence. In a lot of other ways, it is very different. And I think what’s what’s interesting in the time period that this book covers is that it’s not clear that it’s going to be that different, immediately. When the US declared their independence, as the historian Elijah Gold has has written about, Recognition was not a given. Equality among nations was not a given, and so the US had to embark on a project To secure what Elijah Gold calls treaty worthiness. And so Haitian leaders also, tried to secure treaty worthiness. Right? And this is The the the idea that a country could be could be expected to reliably follow international treaties and to follow the Agreed upon rules of, the law of nations.
Julia Gaffield [00:19:18]:
Agreed upon might not be the right word. To follow the, customary practices of the law of nations. And so securing an international treaty was a really important way for a country To secure recognition. Right? Signing a treaty would have amounted to diplomatic recognition. There’s a lot of other things that kind of help Diplomatic recognition and to like, sending a consul, is one way, addressing the leader of the country by their title, calling the country by its name. These are all, this is all kind of evidence of of statehood. So there’s, you know, a kind of an effort on the part, beginning with Dessalines, to secure treaty worthiness. See, he doesn’t use this terminology, but this is why his negotiations with the governor of Jamaica were so important.
Julia Gaffield [00:20:08]:
To to a degree, though, He wanted a treaty, but it had to be a treaty that reinforced Haitian statehood, Haitian independence, Haitian sovereignty. It it couldn’t be a treaty that established Haiti as an unequal nation. And so kind of thinking about the process of Haitian independence in the context of US independence is It’s really enlightening because they’re they’re trying to do similar things, but, of course, they’re very different, histories, the very different revolution, and the Kind of deep racism of the international community means that the outcome is is drastically different. The Napoleonic wars are absolutely central To the the story of Haiti’s independence, kind of situating Dessalines’ diplomatic negotiations with the governor of Jamaica, within that bigger context of the British being at war with the French, is essential. Right? Because they they are both Kind of neighbors, potential allies, as well as being a threat to the economic system of of the British colonies. And there there was kind of a a much longer history of negotiations and treaties. What Dessalines was doing is building on an agreement Between, Leuvelteau in Jamaica in Maitland, sorry, a general from from Jamaica, but also kind of taking into consideration that we We are no longer a French colony. Right? So in terms of reactions, right, like, it’s this this isn’t an event or A series of events that’s happening in a vacuum.
Julia Gaffield [00:21:55]:
You know, they could kind of see eye to eye in terms of their deep hatred for France. And there’s some strategy. Right? Dessalines was was willing to at least publicly overlook the fact to that, slavery was still legal in Jamaica at this time. He was willing to say, like, you know, oh, your your system wasn’t as bad as what the French did. At least, you know, he was doing this publicly. He was doing this in his correspondence with the British, so that he could kind of Foster these these relationships and possible alliances. So there’s a practical nature to it. You know, we can’t sadly, he hasn’t left Much evidence in terms of how these kind of public proclamations either matched or didn’t match, his own personal Perspectives, but, if you’re thinking about him as a head of state, right, this is this is strategy.
Julia Gaffield [00:22:48]:
This is How you sustain your country’s independent
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:22:51]:
Can you talk about the the part where I think it was the British official was concerned CERN that, that he was just basically on a warpath to kill all white people. So if there was a treaty with Haiti. I think it was the the British official that, can he guarantee that the British citizens coming to Haiti We’ll be protected. And he said something to the effect of, no. It’s the French that I don’t hate all white people. I just hate the French.
Julia Gaffield [00:23:23]:
And, I mean, I think this ties into The the text of the declaration of independence. Right? He says eternal hatred to France, and he’s very specific about his unwillingness to forgive the French for what they’ve done. Again, I think that’s strategic. Right? Saying, you know, The British, you you we have no problems with you, even though they have a a parallel and similarly, horrific System of, slavery in their colonies. The evidence shows that, British people, people from the US, People from other colonies who were in Haiti after 18/04, were in fact protected. Their lives were not at risk, and this was in in the interest of kind of sustaining these other international relationships.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:24:13]:
What what is, what is the role can you talk about the role of of of the merchant lobby? How influential were they in in in the negotiation process?
Julia Gaffield [00:24:22]:
The merchant lobby is absolutely essential. There were a lot of, foreign merchants who were unwilling To give up the economic opportunities simply because there had been a change of government. Many Americans, many British merchants, did not care from whom they were buying, the products as long as they could buy it and sell. What’s really interesting is that because Of, the insistence on diplomatic nonrecognition, these merchants end up serving as Kind of unofficial diplomats, in Haiti. And they’re corresponding and interacting with, Haitian politicians and heads of state And then reporting back to their governments about what’s going on, and pushing for recognition because it would help them. Right? If if they did sign a treaty, it might help get, help them get better trade duties or whatever, you know, make it easier to trade with them, Allow for protection for their for their ships. So, they become they fill this void Foreign diplomats in Haiti and end up being kind of semi representatives of their country. Although, of course, there’s, continual denial that they are in fact diplomats and serving in any official capacity even though that’s kind of what they’re doing.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:25:49]:
Where are the Haitian sisters in all of this?
Julia Gaffield [00:25:53]:
Yeah. I think this this book, admittedly, did not do a great job in terms of thinking about The women involved in this story. Right? It was very kind of heavy heavily diplomatic history, some legal history in there, and a lot of that is just men doing things. I’ve tried as I’m writing the biography of Dessalines to find as much as I can and include as much as I can About Marie Claire Erez later, madame Dessalines. I I think she’s such a fascinating Figure because she is always there.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:26:29]:
Julia Gaffield [00:26:29]:
And this includes in state ceremony. This includes in, I think kind of diplomatic events, this also includes on the battlefield. There’s some kind of amazing sources that mention that She is very nearby during the battle of and that she kind of escapes with some of the other military wives. And there she’s just kind of always around, but it’s also extremely frustrating because few accounts Really describe her involvement and and kind of what the contributions were in terms of these stories. So I’m trying to to incorporate her Her narrative,
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:27:12]:
Julia Gaffield [00:27:12]:
contributions, as I move forward in my research. But, you know, she’s clearly An important figure in terms of this is, I think, one remarkable And and perhaps unique, situation is that she is, like, universally loved. Like, both at the time And ever since then, like, everybody who has ever written about her has nothing but amazing things to say, which which for somebody, For for any character in the Haitian revolution, I think is remarkable. But she, I think in some ways gets used What people see at the time and since then as, kind of Dessalines negative characteristics. So she ends up serving as, Like an opposite to to Jean Jacques Dessalines. You know, she is wonderful and thoughtful and, Compassionate and beautiful, and, you know, this is often contrasted, with other descriptions of Dessalines that portray him as, you know, all of this is in quotations like barbaric and savage and uncivilized and ugly, you know, all these other things, that People attribute, to Dessalines. So she’s she’s, I think, a remarkable figure, and it’s really interesting to see how, She gets portrayed particularly in the context of, you know, trying to condemn De Salin too. So I think in in certain circumstances, The the wives of Haitian leaders, Haitian generals, would stand in for their husbands If they were unable to attend, particularly kind of ceremonies, you know, these kind of big or festivities, dinners, And, those tights.
Julia Gaffield [00:29:03]:
So she was probably the kind of host of this ball, because De Celine couldn’t attend. And and there’s an interesting moment where, a few years earlier, Chusali Beltierl’s wife, Suzanne, did the same thing for a celebration of, Desaline’s, wedding. It wasn’t his actual wedding. It was A celebration of the wedding, but she stood in for her husband who, had to leave early to be, somewhere else. Right. So they they kind of, there’s a ceremonial role that they play Mhmm. At these these very public events. And there’s there’s dinners, that she hosts with Henri Christophe later.
Julia Gaffield [00:29:47]:
But I think, you know, what is what is always, fun to imagine, but that is hard to do as a historian, is to kind of go beyond, you know, what their ceremonial role Mhmm. Wise and think about the conversations that might have been happening During those events or before those events, and that’s really hard to access. Right. There’s there’s a lot of different kinds of governments that that get established after 18/04. And I think that that the nuances between them, right, as Chelsea Seaver has insisted, the calling Haiti a republic in 18/0 Or, is is kind of wrong and bad for a number of reasons.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:30:33]:
Julia Gaffield [00:30:34]:
And the decision to establish first the state of Haiti with With Dessalina’s governor general and then the empire of Haiti with Dessalina’s emperor and then, later under Petion to establish a republic. And Christophe goes back to the state of Haiti before establishing the kingdom. I think there’s there’s a lot of kind of details, within these different forms of government in terms of what they’re trying to do, I obviously connect a lot of this to securing international recognition. Right? Different forms of government that are legible to outsiders. I think there’s a lot of continuity between them. It’s not like, Petion’s republic was, based on kind of universal democratic participation. Right. There’s still kind of leadership class in each of these instances that are really making the decisions.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:31:28]:
Mhmm. And they’re not necessarily working together, the 3 of them. Right?
Julia Gaffield [00:31:32]:
They are often not very much not working together.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:31:36]:
Right. Although there’s some point in there you did say that I don’t figure who sent the because it says, yes. We’re having our own internal issues here, but we’re all thinking of 1, Haiti. Right? Was it this Aileen who said that, or is it Christophe that that because there were some concerns by either the by the British officials about, You know? What about this civil war you guys, you know?
Julia Gaffield [00:32:00]:
Yeah. You you can’t I mean, you can. They tried to negotiate a treaty While your country is embroiled in a civil war because, you know, from an outside perspective and this is this was the response of the British from an outside perspective. If we sign a treaty with you, how do we know that it’s applicable to other parts of the country? Mhmm. And so both you know, it’s it’s often described as, yeah, Christophe was president and then king of the North and and Petion was President and later Boyer was president of the South. But both all of them were were claiming To be the the legitimate head of state of the entire country.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:32:45]:
Julia Gaffield [00:32:46]:
So there, you know, kind of there weren’t, You know, there wasn’t a recognition that this was like, oh, I’m president of the North. It was I’m president of the entire country. And so there is Mhmm. They’re very much at odds.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:32:58]:
Why is it so important to have international diplomacy after the independence?
Julia Gaffield [00:33:03]:
Right. During the period that I’m studying, international diplomacy was essential because France was still claiming That Haiti was or Saint Domingue, as they continue to call it, was still their colony. Right? And they were threatening repeatedly that they were going To reinvade and reconquer the colony and kind of get it back. They were also, like, attacking Ships going to and from Haiti, therefore, undermining, potential economic agreements. So securing Recognition from other countries would would have protected Haitian independence, would have helped To protect them from France, but have undermined France’s claims to dominion over over the territory.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:33:52]:
Julia Gaffield [00:33:52]:
So creating these alliances, whether they be economic or military, political, kind of all of these forms, would have helped would have helped them kind of would have bolstered their claims to sovereignty, would have Support given evidence to their independence. Mhmm. And and the informal ways That they kind of did secure these these agreements and negotiations, did help sustain their independence. Right? As I, kinda go through with, for example, the British Admiralty courts
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:34:30]:
Julia Gaffield [00:34:31]:
You know, the fact that there was Legal and regulated trade with Haiti, had implications for, Haitian sovereignty or kind of an understanding of Haitian sovereignty. These it it required you know, like, Haiti was Haitians were saying they were independent. The French were saying absolutely not. And had they been able to secure outside recognition, right, then then that doesn’t put them in the spot that they ended up being in in 18/25. They had no other options in 18/25 because everybody else was like, nah. We’re we’re gonna wait for the French. We’re not gonna step on their toes, especially after the end of the Napoleonic
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:35:11]:
Julia Gaffield [00:35:12]:
So had they been able to get those, other And I and saying had they been able had had other nations been been willing to agree, also is to to kinda recognize Haitian sovereignty. Right? Like, I’d I’d like to put some of the emphasis most of the emphasis on the unwillingness of other nations To recognize Haiti as an equal.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:35:39]:
Did Dessalines recognize, didn’t he go over the head of of of that that that, that governor in Jamaica, to talk directly to to the British crown. Didn’t at some point, he wanted to Well, like, why don’t you go ask your bosses? You know? I know, Right.
Julia Gaffield [00:35:59]:
I mean, I think Dacellyn very much Recognized that there’s, you know, like, a chain of command, within empires. And if he wasn’t getting The response that he wanted from the governor of Jamaica, he was quite willing to say, okay. I’ll I’ll, contact Your boss is in London, and see what they have to say.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:36:22]:
Mhmm. And that’s been kind of what what’s most I find most fascinating about your book too is be because of a lot of that stuff that was going on. This idea that, you know, Haiti was isolated also implied, I guess, in the mind of of a lot of readers, me included, that, you know, like, the the leaders didn’t know what was going on, and they were fully aware and engaged with what was going on in the world. Right? And and and the structures of these other governments and the metropoles and so on and so forth. Right? So I think that’s probably one of the biggest thing you did. You sort of kinda blew this this book kinda blew that out of the water to say they were fully engaged with what was going on, you know, to to the extent that, Salim would say, hey. Good talk to your boss. They might feel differently about that.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:37:11]:
Julia Gaffield [00:37:12]:
Right. And I think that this is, part of a much broader attempt among People at the time, but in the the centuries since then to right. And this and this ties into the the isolation thesis. Right? If if they’re isolated, Bladed, you can’t recognize Haitian leaders as diplomats. Right? You can’t frame them as Kind of in the same or you can’t talk about it in the same conversation as all of the other founding fathers. Right? Mhmm. It’s part of The Michel Rolf Trouillot’s very famous, you know, silencing of the Haitian revolution. It’s also, it spills over into the, independence era.
Julia Gaffield [00:37:58]:
And if you’re not recognizing Haitian heads of state as, you know, politicians, as diplomats, then you’re you’re kind of contributing to this, the historic moment that that refused to recognize Haiti.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:38:13]:
How much did, did Celine’s death have on that on on the the negotiating process for for for Haiti as a whole.
Julia Gaffield [00:38:25]:
It I think it it weirdly, His death specifically does not kinda register as a big moment in international diplomacy. What is what is more important is the civil war that follows Mhmm. For the reason that, you know, Signing a treaty with with 1 leader or another, still kind of leaves it Up in the air as to whether it’s gonna apply throughout the country. I in in a surprising way, it kind of registers as a nonevent. And and I and I think it’s surprising because, you know, a political assassination does not kinda reflect well, a country’s, you know, ability to, follow law rules of international law or law of nations at the time. You know, this is, this is, a narrative that has been repeated, up to very recently that, You know, it kind of it reflects poorly on the country. Mhmm. And so in in my research, in the early 19th century, it surprisingly did not kind of occupy that much space In terms of, yeah, foreign decisions to to engage with Haiti or not.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:39:48]:
Julia Gaffield [00:39:49]:
I I think I’ll have to think more about that, particularly in the in the biography. Thank you for the question.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:39:55]:
No. No problem.
Julia Gaffield [00:39:56]:
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:39:57]:
Yeah. What’s that?
Julia Gaffield [00:39:58]:
I’m gonna keep thinking about it, so thank you.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:40:00]:
So so 1 final question for you. What what is the did you have were you able to quantify how much trade in terms of numbers, you know, import export that occurred, during the the 10 years post independence that you covered. How much actual trade did go on? Did you ever put a number to it, Or is that somewhere? I don’t remember seeing it in the book.
Julia Gaffield [00:40:28]:
I have not.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:40:29]:
Julia Gaffield [00:40:31]:
And some of that has to do with, the records that are available. I think the closest to kind of, you know, import export numbers comes Raiford Logan, whose book, The Diplomatic Relations of United States. Sorry. I’m looking at I’m looking over at my shelf, to see See the full title. It’s a UNC Press book from the mid 20th century, and it’s amazing. But he did a lot of work in terms of quantifying, important export numbers From Haiti. But for the early independence period, I really wasn’t able, to do that kind of calculation. I didn’t Totally try.
Julia Gaffield [00:41:13]:
It’s possible that from, you know, newspaper accounts or or other types of shipping records, that somebody could do it. I hope somebody could do it. That’d be awesome.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:41:26]:
You said Wayford Logan. Right?
Julia Gaffield [00:41:28]:
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:41:28]:
What what’s the the diplomatic
Julia Gaffield [00:41:31]:
Let me sorry. I’ll grab the whole book. They cut off half the title on the okay. It’s the diplomatic relations of the United States with Haiti 1776 to 18/91. Okay. And it’s and it’s, is it like a kind of old school diplomatic History, and it’s amazing.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:41:52]:
Oh, that’s awesome. You know, the the next evolution of this, you know, of this podcast is for it to go video. Remember remember MTV Cribs back in the day? I wanna do, like, a scholarly crib, Loewell. I just
Julia Gaffield [00:42:09]:
Show me your bookshelf.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:42:10]:
Yeah. I look at y’all’s bookshelves. You all just talk about your bookshelves.
Julia Gaffield [00:42:14]:
That would be good. That would be great.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:42:18]:
Wait for the look. I appreciate it. I hope we can do this again.
Julia Gaffield [00:42:23]:
I hope so too.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:42:25]:
The audience have been asking about that. I’m like, where’s the where’s the biography on? We’re keeping, you know, Christophe and and and and Toussaint. That’s fine. But what about? What about? Sally. And then the conspiracy theorists, you know, they’re just they’re just filling up that space. You know?
Julia Gaffield [00:42:40]:
Well, that’s why I mean, that’s why I wanted to write it because, you know, there’s been, like, I don’t know how many, 50,000,000 biographies of 2 Sunday World Chiro in, like, the last 5 years. Maybe not. Like, 10 years. Whatever. But there’s been a whole bunch of them. And, you know, I think, Christophe is now. He gets 2 biographies, which is, like, not that many.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:43:10]:
Julia Gaffield [00:43:12]:
And so I, you know, I think I think Desalyn deserves at least One biography and probably many more. You know? Like, I hope this is, I hope other people decide to also write Biographies of Dacellyn because I think there’s room for, a lot more scholarship on him.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:43:33]:
So this is going to be the 1st, at least in the English speaking world. Right? Or period. This is the fur this could be the 1st biography on this, period.
Julia Gaffield [00:43:44]:
I think other some of like, I think there’s a couple that might have been translated into English. But yes. Although I’m I’m hoping to try to encourage, the Pressed not to try to be like the first this, the first whatever, because I don’t wanna, you know, discount a lot of The biographies did have been written about him just, you know, not in English. But it is you know?
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:44:10]:
It’s foundational. Is it gonna be foundational?
Julia Gaffield [00:44:12]:
I don’t know about that.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:44:15]:
You know, it’s just between us. You know? I just won’t get pumped. You know?
Julia Gaffield [00:44:18]:
You’re still recording, I think. So
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:44:22]:
No. I mean, would you put your design boot instead of the same foundational space as, say, the the making of Haiti? There’s gonna be a lot of new materials for future scholars to mine. Right?
Julia Gaffield [00:44:37]:
I’m hoping so. I’m, yeah, I’m hoping that yes. To bring it back full circle, I’m hoping that people will say, don’t miss the footnotes.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:44:47]:
Julia Gaffield [00:44:48]:
You know, that’s that’s a hope. You know? That’s what I’m kind of aspiring to, because I think there’s a lot of material that it would be really great if, you know, other people Analyzed it and wrote about it and wrote new narratives.
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:45:05]:
Okay. Awesome. Great. Thank you. Thank you, Julia. Thank you for
Julia Gaffield [00:45:13]:
Patrick Jean-Baptiste [00:45:13]:
For educating me and and the audience. I really appreciate it.
Julia Gaffield [00:45:18]:
Thank you for all the work that you do and for your patience with me, and I look forward to continuing the conversation.
02:35 Class sparked interest in Haitian revolution, connected history to current events.
05:37 The text criticizes a narrow, local view and erasure of Haitian diplomatic efforts and Jean-Jacques Dessalines as a leader.
06:41 Research on Haiti’s diplomatic recognition and independence after revolution, shifting focus within academic community, maintaining independence post-independence.
12:11 Researcher discovers diplomatic records related to Haiti’s independence in Jamaica’s National Library.
15:45 Haiti’s potential as a recognized nation, trade treaty disagreement.
16:35 Haiti faced limited options after independence, with compromise with France as the only choice due to diplomatic recognition.
20:08 Haitian leader seeks treaty reinforcing independence, navigates international politics.
24:22 Merchant lobby in Haiti served as unofficial diplomats, pushing for recognition and trade benefits.
27:12 A remarkable, universally loved figure contrasted with Dessalines.
30:34 Haiti’s government transitions and aim for international recognition.
34:31 Legal trade with Haiti impacted Haitian sovereignty and outside recognition impacted their position in 1825.
38:25 The death of a leader didn’t impact international diplomacy as expected.
40:31 Few records available for early Haiti import/export, Raiford Logan’s work significant but incomplete.
43:44 Encouraging reading about someone not widely known in English.
Primary Topic: Julia Gaffield’s Research and Book
- Complexity of Haiti’s diplomatic recognition and acceptance after the revolution
- Lack of attention to the period after Haiti’s independence
- Need to understand how Haiti maintained independence
- Challenges in obtaining sources related to Haiti
- Exploration of various archives to find evidence of Haiti’s diplomatic engagement and international diplomacy
- Discussion of Julia Gaffield’s upcoming biography and its length
- Potential publication date and the focus of the book
- The spark for Julia Gaffield’s interest in Haitian history
- The framing of post-revolution Haiti as isolated
- Emphasis on the complexity of Haiti’s diplomatic relations in the Atlantic world
- Critique of the perception of isolation erasing diplomatic efforts
- Contention with unequal status imposition by European empires
- Dessalines’ refusal to lose sovereignty through a trade treaty
- Negotiations with the governor of Jamaica
- The role of the merchant lobby in Haiti’s diplomacy
- Influence on recognition that would benefit trade interests
- Acknowledgment of the lack of focus on the role of Haitian women in historical accounts
- Desire to include their narratives in the biography
- Discussion of Marie Claire Erez’s significant role in Haitian history
- Her ceremonial involvement in public events and diplomatic functions
- The complexity of the forms of government established post-1804
- Pursuit of international recognition through legible forms of government
- Lack of unity and cooperation between the leaders of the North and South
- The importance of international diplomacy after Haiti’s independence
- Emphasis on the need for recognition and legitimacy
- Challenges presented by the lack of unity in Haiti and the civil war
- The significance and focus of Gaffield’s book
- Hopes for inspiring future scholarship and providing new materials
- Plans for a future video format for the podcast
- Interest in showcasing guests’ bookshelves
- The potential impact of Gaffield’s book in the English-speaking world
- Hopes for it to provide new materials for future scholars
Primary Topic: Diplomacy and International Relations After Haiti’s Independence
- Comparison between Haiti’s struggle for international recognition and US’ efforts
- Emphasis on the importance of securing diplomatic recognition
- The role of diplomacy in protecting Haitian independence from France’s claim
- The significance of creating alliances and securing economic, military, and political support
- Informal negotiations and agreements to sustain Haitian independence
- The impact of Dessalines’ death and the civil war on international diplomacy
- The possible sources for quantifying import/export numbers for Haiti in the early independence period
- Mention of Raiford Logan’s work and its relevance to quantifying trade data
Primary Topic: Academic and Scholarly Endeavors
- Discussion of Julia Gaffield’s book “The Diplomatic Relations of the United States with Haiti 1776 to 1891”
- Emphasis on its focus on diplomatic history
- Hopes for inspiring future scholarship through Gaffield’s work
Primary Topic: Recognition and Legitimization of Haitian Independence
- The need for Haiti to become an accepted and recognized nation
- France’s ongoing claim over Haiti and threats of reconquest
- Importance of securing recognition from other countries to protect Haitian independence
This sequence provides a comprehensive overview of the key topics and sub-topics covered in the text, focusing on Julia Gaffield’s research, Haiti’s diplomatic relations, academic endeavors, and the recognition and legitimacy of Haitian independence.
Viral Topic: The Impact of Learning History on Current Events
Quote: “The story of it, kind of broader impact, it really blew my mind.”
— Julia Gaffield [00:02:56 → 00:03:00]
The Aftermath of Haitian Independence: “How do you Stay in this country? Right? Like, how did they maintain independence? Which I think if you think about the fact that Haiti did remain independent, In it in and of itself is kind of mind blowing.”
— Julia Gaffield [00:07:32 → 00:07:42]
Viral Topic: Rethinking Haiti’s Independence
Rethinking Haiti’s Independence: “I think there’s, like, a growing group that is kind of questioning what that means. And and I and I certainly don’t wanna Kind of emphasized complexity and ambiguity, but it’s a much more complicated story.”
— Julia Gaffield [00:09:14 → 00:09:27]
Viral Topic: Uncovering Historical Archives
Quote: “And in these boxes are, you know, like, Ten inch high stacks of folded up letters that are tied with string. And so there’s just all this material that’s like Original letters from Dessalines writing to the governor of Jamaica and, you know, correspondence back and forth.”
— Julia Gaffield [00:13:04 → 00:13:21]
Viral Topic: Haitian Independence and Treaty Compromise
Quote: “In the Haitian case, the only case in the Americas in which the former colonizer was the first to extend official diplomatic recognition To the former colony.”
— Julia Gaffield [00:16:56 → 00:17:08]
Haiti’s Independence and Diplomacy: “He wanted a treaty, but it had to be a treaty that reinforced Haitian statehood, Haitian independence, Haitian sovereignty. It couldn’t be a treaty that established Haiti as an unequal nation.”
— Julia Gaffield [00:20:10 → 00:20:21]
The Diplomatic Strategy of Jean-Jacques Dessalines: “You know, they could kind of see eye to eye in terms of their deep hatred for France. And there’s some strategy.”
— Julia Gaffield [00:21:55 → 00:22:01]
The Role of Merchants in Diplomacy: “The merchant lobby is absolutely essential. There were a lot of, foreign merchants who were unwilling to give up the economic opportunities simply because there had been a change of government.”
— Julia Gaffield [00:24:22 → 00:24:37]
The Likability of Suzanne Sanite Belair: “She is, like, universally loved. Like, both at the time And ever since then, like, everybody who has ever written about her has nothing but amazing things to say, which which for somebody, For for any character in the Haitian revolution, I think is remarkable.”
— Julia Gaffield [00:27:28 → 00:27:44]
The Impact of Political Assassinations: “A political assassination does not kinda reflect well, a country’s ability to follow rules of international law or law of nations at the time.”
— Julia Gaffield [00:39:05 → 00:39:10]
- How did Haiti’s struggle for international recognition after independence compare to that of the United States, and what were the key factors in securing diplomatic recognition for both countries during this time period?
- What were the challenges faced by Julia Gaffield in obtaining historical sources related to Haiti’s post-independence period, and how did the perception of Haiti’s isolation affect the availability of such materials?
- What was the role of foreign merchants in Haiti’s diplomacy, and how did they influence the country’s pursuit of recognition in the international community?
- In what ways did informal negotiations and agreements help sustain Haitian independence, and how did the lack of recognition from other nations limit Haiti’s options in the realm of international diplomacy?
- How did the portrayal of post-revolution Haiti as isolated erase the diplomatic efforts of Haitian leaders, and what were the implications of this narrative on historical accounts of the country’s early independence period?
- What were the key diplomatic strategies utilized by Haitian leaders, such as Dessalines, in building relationships and alliances with neighboring nations, and how did these strategies impact Haiti’s quest for international recognition?
- How did the lack of unity and cooperation between the leaders of the North and South in Haiti, especially during the civil war, present challenges for international treaty negotiations and the country’s pursuit of recognition?
- What were the significance and impact of Marie Claire Erez’s role in Haitian history, and how does the inclusion of narratives of influential women like her enrich the understanding of Haiti’s post-independence period?
- To what extent did the lack of quantified import/export numbers for Haiti in the early independence period affect historical accounts and the understanding of the country’s diplomatic and economic relations with other nations?
- Why is it important to challenge the notion of Haiti’s complete isolation after the revolution, and how does this shift in perspective contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the country’s diplomatic engagement and international diplomacy during this period?