Much like the United States, the colonists of Saint Domingue (present-day Haiti) sought their independence from France by fighting a war and waging a revolution. However, unlike the Americans, the Saint Dominguans who fought the war and waged the revolution were predominantly African and Caribbean-born slaves.
Today, we explore the Haitian Revolution and the quest of both the United States and Saint Domingue to establish diplomatic and trade relations with each other. Our guide for this exploration is Ronald A. Johnson, a history professor at Texas State University and author of Diplomacy in Black and White: John Adams, Toussaint Louverture, and Their Atlantic World Alliance.
About the Show
Ben Franklin’s World is a podcast about early American history.
It is a show for people who love history and for those who want to know more about the historical people and events that have impacted and shaped our present-day world.
Each episode features a conversation with an historian who helps us shed light on important people and events in early American history.
In this episode we explore the Haitian Revolution and the diplomatic relationship between the United States and Saint Domingue with Ronald A. Johnson, a history professor at Texas State University and the author of Diplomacy in Black and White: John Adams, Toussaint Louverture, and Their Atlantic World Alliance.
During our exploration, Ron reveals: Details about the Atlantic World during the 1790s and the place of the United States and Saint Domingue in that world; Why the United States and Saint Domingue wanted to forge diplomatic ties with each other; And, what relations between the United States and Saint Domingue looked like.
What You’ll Discover
- Ron’s experiences as a United States foreign service officer in Luxembourg and Gabon
- How being a foreign service officer influenced Ron’s research and writing of Diplomacy in Black and White
- The role food plays in diplomacy
- Details about the Atlantic World in 1797
- The world stature of the United States and Saint Domingue in 1797
- The Haitian Revolution
- Why the slaves in Haiti were able to stage a successful revolution
- American reaction to the slave rebellion in Saint Domingue
- Why the United States wanted to forge diplomatic ties with Saint Domingue
- The Quasi-War between the United States and France
- Why the people of Saint Domingue wanted to establish a diplomatic relationship with the United States
- Whether the people of Saint Domingue saw contradiction in fighting to end slavery while forging diplomatic relations with a slave society
- How John Adams viewed ties with Saint Domingue
- How the United States and Saint Domingue forged diplomatic relations
- Debates over the Intercourse Act, a trade agreement between the United States and Saint Domingue
- The legacy of United States-Saint Domingue relations
Links to People, Places, and Publications
- Ron Johnson
- Ron’s Texas State University webpage
- Ron’s Twitter Handle: @RonAJohnson
- Diplomacy in Black and White: John Adams, Toussaint Louverture, and Their Atlantic World Alliance
- Episode 17: François Furstenburg, When the United States Spoke French
Time Warp Question
In your opinion what might have happened if John Adams and his administration had not forged diplomatic and commercial ties with Toussaint L'Ouverture and Saint Domingue? What would the outcome of the Haitian Revolution and the United States’ Quasi-War with France have been?
Questions, Comments, Suggestions
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