Revolution, Class and the Centenary of Independence
Chapter Four interrogates British reactions to Haitian performances and demonstrations of national sovereignty at the beginning of the twentieth century. As the chapter explores, Haitians performed and enforced their sovereignty through the celebration of the centenary of independence, through exercising their rights to act on the international stage in the capacity of diplomats, and through adopting new citizens. To many elite British observers, who were concerned with the expansion of democracy in Britain, Haiti presented an excessively democratic state, populated and governed over by a lower-class of people. Such a view was challenged and made complicated in British interactions with Haitians. Ideas about Haiti were, this chapter illustrates, paradoxical as British state actors conversed with and respected the authority of their Haitian counterparts in some respects, while simultaneously arguing that Haitians lacked the credentials for government.
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