From Cape Tiburon to Cape Samaná - A United Hispaniola Timeline

10. Breaking the National Party: Presidency of Paul Tirésias Augustin Simon Sam (1878 - 1882) and Lysius Salomon (1882 - 1888)

From Cape Tiburon to Cape Samaná - A United Hispaniola Timeline

10. Breaking the National Party: Presidency of Paul Tirésias Augustin Simon Sam (1878 - 1882) and Lysius Salomon (1882 - 1888)

“Riding high from their string of political victories, and the effective blocking of the Liberal agenda of President Gregorio Luperón, the National Party assumed full control of Haiti under Tirésias Simon Sam. No one could have predicted that by the end of his rule, the National Party would be broken beyond repair.”
-A Young People’s Guide to Haitian History


The National Party had thundered back to resurgence, following their surprising upset loss to the Liberals in 1873. Under the guidance of Paul Tirésias Augustin Simon Sam the National Party would block, defang, and neuter the Liberal legislation of President Gregorio Luperón, effectively breaking the back of the party.

With Simon Sam at the head of the party, the National Party secured the 1878 election, and for a moment it seemed as if the National Party had secured perpetual single-party rule. Fate would have other plans; however, the National Party would die with President Simon Sam and his Vice President Lysius Salomon.

Fall of the Liberal Party, Election of 1878

The Presidency of Luperón had been a massive disappointment for both poor Afro-Haitians and even Mixed Race Haitian intellectuals who had bankrolled his rule. While some important reforms like secularism were introduced, legal inequality and voting rights restricted to the upper classes persisted, and dominated the social issues of the day.

Paul Simon Sam had risen through the ranks of the National Party after the failures of the elder Lysius Salomon to rouse the populace to vote, leading to a humiliating victory twice in a row against Luperón, and the liberals. As the party reoriented itself, Simon Sam presented himself as a firebrand populist. Not leaning heavily into the racialism of Boisrond-Canal and his clique, or the more status quo conservatives of Lysius Saloman, Paul Simon Sam presented himself as the moderate populist for the majority of the people.

Lysius Salomon would become Paul Simon Sam’s VP, as an olive branch to the nearly decade-long leader of the National Party. Simon Sam used the populist tactics of former President Luperón, to deliver rousing speeches to especially Mixed-Race Haitians who had been disaffected by the implosion of the Liberal Party, as it struggled to find a new leader.
By the time of the actual election, the National Party was the sole party with any chance of victory, as the Liberal Party splintered into the True Liberals, Old Liberals, and New Liberal Parties respectively, all pointing at each other as traitors, and themselves as the true leader of Haiti. Most Haitians, upset with this infighting, and division, either did not vote or were sucked into the National Party, on the backs of Simon Sam’s nationalistic promises of “A United Haiti.”

The First Nationalist President

Oftentimes Haitians are derisively teased as the most nationalistic inhabitants of the Caribbean. While much of that can be attributed to deliberate government policy after the 1940s revolution, much of Haiti’s nationalism stems from President Simon Sam.

Stylizing himself as an all-Haitian president, Simon Sam distanced himself from the Europhilia of Mixed Race Haitians or the Afrophilia of Afro-Haitians. Instead, the new President would set about transforming Haiti into a state, with its own national identity.

Under his presidency, Haitian cultural festivals, and cultural holidays would become more widely promoted and celebrated. Cultural activities like cockfighting and barbecue would be officially recognized not only as Haitian, but integral to the identity of the Hispaniola islands. His efforts were at first resisted by the Boisrond-Canal clique within his own National Party. These men argued by celebrating the cultural practices of the unenlightened Afro-Haitians, that the government would begin to slowly weaken, and dilute the nation, and Haitian racial identity as a whole.

Nonetheless, Simon Sam would extend protections to even Afro-Haitian voodoo, and cultural practices, recognizing them as equal to those of the “pure” Roman Catholic Church, mainly Mixed-Race Haitians. While a far cry from a sort of legal equality, especially in true positions of power, the beginning of Afro-Haitian pride in their own culture, and view of it being equal to Mixed-Race Haitians would send ripples through Afro-Haitian intellectual communities, especially those who would begin to develop the idea of Noirisme.

By 1880, Haitian National Clubs, called for a “Nationalistic Education” that emphasized the importance of the Haitian Revolution, the triumphs of the supposedly lesser Haitian people over the more “advanced” European empires, and that even the mighty Napoleonic Armies could not subdue the yearning for freedom, of the Haitian people. These ideas would be expressly resisted by the Europhile Boisrond-Canal clique who argued that it had been White Haitians, and Mixed-Race Haitians, European blood that allowed them to triumph over their invaders, pointing to the relative “barbarity” and disorganization of “enslaved rabble.” President Simon Sam’s decision to side with the more revolutionary romanticist nationalists would cause a split in his party.

The Boisrond-Canal Party would split forming the ominously named Party of the Regeneration. This far-right party would espouse the racialism and pseudo-scientific racial science that would epitomize the later party, especially under the Trujillo regime. For now; however, the National Party remained ascendant, courting romanticist nationalists, Afro-Haitian, and Mixed Race Haitian intellectuals, and most of the upper class. Had things remained this way, perhaps Simon Sam would be remembered as among Haiti’s best presidents.

The German Scandal, National Dream Extinguished?

As the German Empire unified, it went from an important Haitian partner that circumvented the iron hold of European imperialists over trade, to a nationalistic, and imperialist Empire that eyed its friend of convenience with growing envy. Looking for provocation, the Germans would find one in March 1882.

A disagreement between a Haitian merchant house, and a group of German merchants would lead to a massive brawl between German, and Haitian merchants. When the Haitian police arrived, they would arrest both the German, and Haitian merchants, and sentence them both to a stint in the local prison. In response, German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck under pressure from inside the German Imperial Reichstag would send warships to Port-au-Prince.

Issuing a set of ridiculous demands to the Haitian government, the German navy demanded Haiti give Germany unfettered access to Haitian ports, a principled place in the Haitian market, repayment of the merchant's debts, and diplomatic immunity for Germans in Haiti.

While German Chancellor Bismarck was largely mixed on colonies, the Imperial Reichstag was filled with German imperialists, many of whom had specific desires and designs upon Haiti. They believed the Haitians would make a perfect protectorate if not an outright colony to the German Empire, due to their long history of trading, and German influence.

Meanwhile, President Simon Sam and the Haitian Parliament were in a state of chaos. Filling the entire parliament with romanticist nationalists may have had a positive effect on Haitian unity, but did not produce sane, and stable foreign policy decisions. Hawkish members of the National Party favored readying the Haitian Army and people for a new war against European outsiders in a supposed second Haitian Revolution. Dovish members of parliament called to seek a middle ground, and while not completely giving in to the Germans they should instead negotiate. Finally, the small but noisy Party of the Regeneration saw the Germans as a potential steward into a more racially pure future.

As the Haitian Parliament raged, and the German Imperial Navy grew more impatient in Port-au-Prince, an international hand came into the mix. The United States of America, under President Chester A. Arthur, still reeling from the assassination of his predecessor James Garfield, found himself increasingly pressured to act. Unwilling to start his term being seen as a weak and ineffectual leader, President Arthur dispatched U.S. Ambassador to Haiti, John Langston to deliver an ultimatum to the Haitian government, while a U.S. ambassador in the German Empire would dispatch one as well. This ultimatum would call for both Haiti and Germany to come to the negotiating table, overseen fairly by the United States.

Being called to the negotiating table, and unable to stand against both the German Empire, and the United States, President Simon Sam would agree to negotiate, and accept whatever humiliating concessions would be extracted. Haiti and Germany would meet in New York, and agree on a set of mutual terms. The German merchant would be released from jail, and compensated for losses in property, and Haiti would pay the debts covering the merchant house in Port-au-Prince. Germany would pull back the merchant who had been arrested, reign in further behaviors from rowdy merchants, remove its naval ships, and respect “U.S. interests in the Caribbean.”

Haiti was forced to accept the terms of this hastily drawn-up arrangement lest they be invaded. Most worryingly, the final point of the agreement seemed to indicate Haiti was in the U.S. sphere of influence, and so could be seen as little more than a vassal for the U.S. to project its power onto.

The Fall of President Paul Simon Sam

Returning home at the start of April, President Simon Sam was greeted with immediate vitriolic hate from Haitians. After spending nearly 4 years cultivating Haitian pride, and nationalism, the supposed “All-Haitian President” had gone to New York, and surrendered the nation’s sovereignty, and ability to enforce its laws and prison sentences to the United States.

From Santo Domingo to Cap-Henry, Haitians were calling for the resignation of the President, while in the Parliament, National Party members stood side by side with the opposition to call for the arrest of Simon Sam. Haitian newspapers were abuzz with rumors that the President had been paid off by German or American interests to surrender the nation to a collection of foreign banksters, and corporations.

President Simon Sam himself was in conflict within his cabinet. Vice President Lysius Salomon, perhaps seeing a chance to step out of the shadows finally, and retake his position in the party, began orchestrating the downfall of the President.

Even if not a populist, Salomon was an old hand at politics, he knew where to put money, and who to talk to to bring the President down. With a ferocity that was conspicuously absent during his previous presidential campaigns, the long-scorned Salomon bribed, intimidated, and blackmailed everyone he had to. Overnight Simon Sam saw his friends dwindle, and the opposition against him rose like a tidal wave.

Nationwide protests rocked Haiti, as overnight it seemed as if the entire nation had turned against the populist President. Turning towards begging, Simon Sam would beg the various liberal factions, all of whom would turn their heads away from him. Even the europhiles in the Party of Regeneration felt Simon Sam was too weak, and unpopular for even them to support. Without any allies, and the increasing likelihood he would be impeached, or worse, Paul Simon Sam would turn to his Vice President.

Despite knowing Lysius had likely betrayed him, Simon Sam offered a simple proposition. He would resign without issue, and leave politics forever; however, he would require that Lysius Salomon pardon him for any crimes, or wrongdoing that happened during his presidency. If Salomon refused or reneged on their offer, Simon Sam would reveal their corrupt bargain and would bring down the Vice President with him.

Initially hesitant to accept the offer, Salomon would accept, realizing if he refused, the President may replace him with a Vice President who would accept the deal. Biting the bullet, and accepting the political fallout that would follow with it, Lysius Salomon would become the next President of Haiti, his long-coveted dream, and he only had to cut the legs out from under an ally to do so. The corrupt bargain was signed on an official document, one which Simon Sam kept hidden so if the new President broke their promise it could be leaked.

Accepting his fate, Paul Simon Sam would announce his resignation on December 20, 1882, before a roaring crowd of protesters, and supporters. The populist had proven unable to control the beast he helped foster. Now, it was up to the elderly, and bitter President Lysius Salomon to guide the increasingly divided country.

The Presidency of Lysius Salomon


Had this been the end of the chaos, the National Party may have survived. Beaten and bruised yes, but it was still relatively stable with the resignation of Simon Sam; however, it would be the corrupt bargain itself that broke the National Party, and the First Republic as a whole.

Immediately facing the onset of an election, President Salomon would be forced to oblige the demands of the populace and not withhold an election. Thankfully, this would not be a repeat of 1873, Lysius Salomon and the National Party, while certainly weaker than in 1878, was not on the verge of breaking. Paranoid, and unwilling not to be humiliated again in his career, Salomon would do everything in his power to rig the 1883 elections. Ballot stuffing, voter intimidation, and National Party harassment gangs ensured the still-divided liberal parties were unable to unify or mobilize against him. This sole focus on crushing the liberals; however, would lead to the growing power of the Party of Regeneration, a group which Salomon did not think to be a true threat to his power. From their previous low of a few seats in the National Assembly, the Party of Regeneration under their leader Monpoint Jeune, a close confidant of Boisrond-Canal, would amass enough votes to become the 3rd largest party in the Haitian parliament, making them a sizable kingmaker in passing legislation.

For Salomon himself, he had to wrangle his party together. He did not believe in the nationalist cause but recognized the importance of his base. Promising to promote nationalist ministers, especially in areas of foreign affairs to avoid a repeat of the “German Scandal” as it was being called in Haitian media, Salomon was able to establish an uneasy understanding and partnership with the increasingly nationalist bent National Party itself. With the party rallied, ballot boxes stuffed, and the opposition cowed, the National Party swept into victory once again, with Lysius Salomon proudly staring on.

Upon actually becoming President, Lysius Salomon finally put into place his dream pet projects. For years Lysius had called for greater attempts to integrate the island, and been largely ignored by the mainstream establishment. Among his first acts would be the solidifying and creation of a pan-island postal system, known as the Haitian National Post Service. Even today, Lysisus Salomon often adorns Haitian postage stamps due to his central role in its creation. Also under his term the Pan-Haiti Railway would be complete with any citizen being able to start in Santo Domingo, go to Port-au-Prince, Cap-Henry, Puerto Plata, and back to Santo Domingo without ever leaving the train. For the first time goods, and people could travel across the nation at speeds unheard of until planes and automobiles became more widespread.

All of this would not come without suffering. Railway building had always been particularly hazardous in Haiti, casualties would increase as Salomon demanded his so-called Salomon Rail Line be finished by the end of his term. Throwing mass amounts of money, and bodies into the proverbial meat grinder cost significant amounts of wealth to the Haitian state, in his single-minded desire towards “modernity” not seen since the days of Fabre Geffrard, Salomon would commit money the Haitian government did not have to spend, causing the Haitian government to borrow ever-increasing amounts of debt from foreign banks, especially the United States. This only served to further fuel paranoid discussions that the National Party had long since sold the nation out to American banksters, and corporate interests.

Today, President Salomon is widely considered an opportunist, and not a true believer of Haitian nationalism, or Haitiness, yet he would preside over an important development that helped in further solidifying the ideas of Haitian nationalism. In 1888, when the Papacy approached President Lysius Salomon, shortly before his fall, they offered the Haitian President a deal. Accept the Catholic Church as the state religion, and grant the Haitian Catholic Church access to National funding, and support. While there was some pressure from the Catholic Church inside Haiti, to try and push Salamon into surrendering, he would stand firm asserting the secular reforms of his one-time political rival Gregorio Luperón, and the doctrine of national sovereignty, espoused by his predecessor Simon Sam. While it would do little to halt the coming storm, it was perhaps the best send-off that the First Republic and Salomon could hope for. From here, there would be only the deluge of chaos.

The Corrupt Bargain, Impeachment, and Assassination of President Lysius Salomon

Lyisus Salomon perhaps thought himself invincible. Riding upon the highs of his triumph over his political opposition, and the slow repair of his National Party image, the President grew more bold, and arrogant.

In a move that would spell the end of his political career and life, Lysius Salomon would order the arrest, and trial of former President, Paul Simon Sam. When Simon Sam was arrested, he would hide the documents that traded the presidency for a pardon and would be arrested by the Haitian Police. Meeting with a journalist during his trial, Simon Sam would reveal the location of the document to the journalist Jean Robert Marcelin.

Jean Robert Marcelin would recount the events of finding the document:

“Upon arriving at the former President’s humble country estate in Grande-Rivière-du-Nord, I was confronted with a shocking sight. It seemed that before my arrival, members of the Haitian police, or perhaps more likely, the National Party, had ransacked Mr. Simon Sam’s estate. Furniture upturned, upholstery torn, and shelves knocked over. This only furthered my suspicion that the former President had been telling the truth about the “corrupt bargain” he and President Salomon had made. They had attempted and failed, to seize the documents before anyone else could find them, and leak the information. Luckily for myself, and the Republic as a whole, they did not know the hiding place Mr. Simon Sam had informed me of. In the fireplace, which rarely saw use due to the heat, and humidity of the countryside, there was a compartment, in it rolled up, and carefully preserved, the documents. Hurriedly, I made my way back to Port-au-Prince, and unrolled the document, spelled out in plain letterhead, “From the Office of President Simon Sam”, it detailed the deal in which in exchange for granting Lysius Salomon his long sought-after office of President, he would pardon Simon Sam, regardless of guilt, or public demand.

Since publishing the details of the document, the President and National Party have done everything in their power to intimidate, suppress, and harass me. Nonetheless, I will continue to persevere until the corrupt tyrant falls.”

The breaking of the initial story sent shockwaves throughout Haitian society, while the government may have been able to hold firm and delegitimize the rumors made by Paul Simon Sam, and Jean Marcelin after the second story broke of deliberate intimidation and threats made by the National Party, and Haitian Police, the populace new, the story was true.

Almost immediately calls for Salomon’s resignation were pushed forward. Unlike the former President, Lysius Salomon openly refused any calls for his resignation. To make matters worse, he would fire his Vice President, and refuse any calls from Parliament to step down or appoint a new Vice President. As the crisis mounted, protests turned to riots in the streets of Port-au-Prince, and Santo Domingo, as many feared Haiti may be returning to the civil war days of Thomas de Belliard.

As the Parliament began to hold a vote for the impeachment of President Salomon, he would send a group of National Party members to harass, and attack the Parliament building, immediately, this caused chaos as the President had effectively launched a self-coup. Then, on April 17, 1889, a contingent of soldiers called in to suppress the riots that followed Salomon’s self-coup, under the command of Spanish Haitian general, Ulises Heureaux launched a coup d'etat, marching his soldiers on the Executive Residence, killing President Lysius Salomon, who was found slumped over his desk with a bullet to the chest.

Legacy of Lysius Salomon

Joining the ranks of the most reviled Haitian Presidents, Lysius Salomon would be reviled by later historians and even most modern-day historians. An elder, and long-respected politician, Salomon had never been content being just a party leader, or just a respected statesman. He desired more, and as he was scorned three elections in a row, either by voters or his party, he finally broke. His rise, and fall would become a legendary tale within Haiti, often retold, and acted out in movies, plays, and even music.

His predecessor, Paul Simon Sam is often seen in the reverse. An upstart populist, who was corrupt, greedy, and willing to use whatever tactic he needed to use to win, Simon Sam transformed from a relatively repugnant character to repetent, and willing to sacrifice himself, and President Salomon, if it meant the corrupt tyrant fell with him. Unlike Salomon, Simon Sam would live until 1919, being repentant, especially in his role in bringing down the Haitian Republic, and opening the door for the American dictatorship, and occupation that followed. While never truly being forgiven, or achieving political office again, Simon Sam would become a relatively respected elder statesman, a role he was content with, and found peace in, unlike his erstwhile ally.

Either way, both men in equal measure brought the end of the First Republic of Haiti. From here began the dictatorship of Ulises Heureaux, and eventually the U.S. occupation. Haiti would enter into a great darkness, from which an end would not be seen until 1946. The Haitian Republic, while limping on until 1891, was for all intents, and purposes dead. The Second Era of Haitian History is over.
11. Ulises Heureaux, End of the First Republic of Haiti, and the Start of the 20 Years Humiliation (1889 - 1891)

From Cape Tiburon to Cape Samaná - A United Hispaniola Timeline

11. Ulises Heureaux, End of the First Republic of Haiti, and the Start of the 20 Years Humiliation (1889 - 1891)

“Yes, I may fall here, but the liberty of Haiti will never be extinguished. As long as people yearn for the days in which they once again are free from the control of dictators, and European empires, they will buck against your rule. Gentlemen, you may revile me today, and you may speak ill of me tomorrow, history will prove me right, and will cast you all down into the pits of hell.”
-Ulises Heureaux before being executed (1891)


The villain of the First Republic, Ulises Heureaux has been mischaracterized, misattributed and deliberately lied about for decades. Painted as a power-hungry tyrant, among the many infesting the rotting corpse of the Republic like maggots, Heureaux was for much of modern Haitian history among its most hated leaders.

Much like Henry II, and Paul Simon Sam, recent history has made a more concerted effort to recontextualize and parse the truth from nearly 50 years of propaganda. While a dictator in practical terms, Heureaux never saw himself as one, still styling himself as a Caretaker President of Haiti, operating under the provisions of emergency rule, and a genuine mandate from the Parliament.

If he lived in a different age, perhaps Heureaux might be remembered as a Ceasar or Cinncinatus, but instead, he lived in the dying days of a Republic that had been moribund for decades.

“I Did What I Had To”

Up until now, Heureaux had largely existed in the background of Haitian political, and military life. Joining the military a few years after the end of the Haitian Civil War, Heureaux rose through the ranks of the military that had largely been hollowed out by nearly 5 years of conflict both internally, and externally.

Becoming a lieutenant, Heureaux met and befriended future President Gregorio Luperón, the two became close friends, and when Luperón started his political career, lieutenant Heureaux would avidly campaign for his fellow liberal populist Luperón. When he was eventually elected in 1873, Luperón would ensure his friend was well rewarded, with Heureaux being elevated to the rank of General.

While a naked display of clientelism, General Heureaux would prove himself an able leader. Beloved by the soldiers under his command, and keeping his nose out of the political scene, Heureaux kept his image clean, especially when the National Party came back to power in the aftermath of the collapse of the Liberal Party. Long dissatisfied with his old allies' inability to pass meaningful reforms, Heureaux had abandoned his belief in democracy as a path to political reform in the face of continuous failures. Changing his skin, he was among the first Spanish Haitian liberals to switch sides and throw his support behind the ascendant National Party, all but assured a place in the new administration.

Keeping himself aligned with the new government, Heureaux followed orders, standing down when Paul Simon Sam refused to fight the German Empire, though his popularity would soar after loud declarations affirming his belief the Haitian Army was ready and able to drive the German menace back into the ocean if needed. Heureaux stood aside as the political crisis led to the fall of Simon Sam, he was even prepared to sit idly by and watch as Haiti fractured in the corruption scandals that rocked the presidency of Lysius Salomon.

After over a decade of watching; however, Ulises Heureaux saw his chance to strike forth and seize the initiative. President Lysius Salomon would order Heureaux to march his army into Port-au-Prince and crush the rioters, in effect protecting the self-coup Salomon had just launched. Instead, General Heureaux would launch a coup against Salomon leading to the would-be dictator's death, from an unknown assailant's wound to the chest.

Taking the mantle of Caretaker President of Haiti, Ulises Heureaux unknowingly became the last President of the First Republic of Haiti, in a special address, Heureaux would justify his actions as necessary to protect the Haitian Republic and save the institutions of the state.

But Perhaps I Did Not Do Enough”

President Heureaux faced Haiti in a state of total collapse. Reckless spending by the previous 5 governments, had increasingly ballooned the debt of Haiti, the nation that had just recently finished paying off French creditors, and now was massively in debt to German, American, and British bankers.

The Haitian government struggled to make payments on its loans leading to a spiraling economic crisis. This brought the government under the ire of the American government, and more worryingly American Imperialist policies. U.S. President Benjamin Harrison looked upon Haiti with growing hunger, and even worry. If Haiti refused or was unable to pay back its loans, European empires may have a necessary casus belli to justify an invasion, putting colonial empires not only back on the continent, but in America’s backyard, pressing a knife right on the nation’s exposed underbelly of Louisiana. Unable to find a reasonable course to justify a war in 1888, Harrison would soon find his justification from his admirals.

President Heureaux for his part was a military man. While he understood war, organization, and appealing to his soldiers, he did not understand economics. To make matters worse he was surrounded by sycophants and political grifters who used their proximity to reap the rewards of his rule.

Internal resistance to the President’s rule was rife. Parliament demanded the restoration of elections, government ministers demanded reform, and the populace wanted alleviation of their economic burdens. Radical politicians promised land reform, child labor laws, and even voting rights to Afro-Haitians. These radicals pulled at the fabrics of an already fraying society, as Heureaux’s only recourse was to crack down upon their demands.

Even when Heureaux did open dialogue with protestors, and began to hear their concerns, he was met with opposition from right-wing reactionaries who considered any changes to the economic system, or voting rights as tantamount to treason.

The only way President Heureaux managed to keep hold of power during these 4 years was to turn back to a trusted ally, clientelism. Taking massive loans, Heureaux paid, and bought every ally, and supporter he could. Even as the train approached the cliff, the President kept funneling in money, pushing his nation, and the economy closer, and closer to the brink of bankruptcy, entirely because he could not stop, if he stopped printing money, he could no longer pay his supporters, if he could not afford bribes he’d lose support, if he lost support he’d be replaced by someone who would promise to pay them. Haiti had entered into an economic death spiral.

By 1890, the Haitian economy was entirely tapped. There were no new loans to take out, no creditors willing to do business, and no aid from any nation without humiliating vassalage attached. Heureaux turned to something illegal, and something that would doom his entire career. The President would print 10 million unsecured Haitian Gourde, virtually ruining every merchant in the country overnight. The Haitian economy would finally collapse by 1891, with no signs of salvation.

“Those Who Would Prey Upon Our Misery”

The Americans watched the collapse of Haiti with growing concern, and also excitement. Benjamin Harrison, a largely forgettable President by American standards, was about to become the most reviled man in Haiti. Finally having a casus belli for invasion, the President would order rear guard admiral Bancroft Gherardi, to sail into Port-au-Prince. There he would deliver a simple ultimatum to the Haitian government, sell the U.S. the port of Môle Saint-Nicolas, Frederick Douglass, who had been named American ambassador to Haiti would begin to exert immense pressure against Heureaux to negotiate the transfer of the desired American port, and numerous other concessions that would establish an American economic and steamship monopoly over Haiti.

Douglass attempted to get Haiti to recognize the dire financial straits it was in, and realize that selling the port would be of economic and trade interest to Haiti, revitalizing the island's trade. The arrival of American gunships further put pressure on the situation. Blame has been passed around for years over the reason for the failure of negotiations. Douglass asserted the arrival of Bancroft Gherardi scared the Haitians away from the negotiating table, while the American military blamed Fredrick Douglass’ passiveness towards the Haitians. Either way, negotiations broke down, Douglass was expelled, and Heureaux prepared for war.

Without money, a tired, and broken populace, and crumbling governmental institutions it was unlikely the Haitian Army could effectively stand against the United States; however, Harrison agreed with Douglass that a full-scale invasion would be costly, and likely provide little in the way of tangible benefit. Instead, of giving Douglass a final chance, the ambassador was ordered to find someone more amenable to the American cause.

Frederick Douglass would find this person in Florvil Hyppolite, a general, and underling to President Heureaux. Often accused of being sympathetic to American interests, Hyppolite had been evicted from his position by Heureaux when the
Môle Saint-Nicolas Affair started. Douglass would reach out, promising that if Heureaux could form enough opposition, and lead an armed uprising against the government, the United States would provide help in the “occupation and reconstruction of the Haitian nation.”

Accepting the American offer, Hyppolite had little difficulty in securing support. Merchants despised Heureaux for throwing them into economic ruin; the military and political allies of Heureaux had long since found the bribes they had been paid were useless due to rampant inflation. Gathering a large rebel force, Hyppolite would meet the Heureaux forces near Jacmel, Heureaux’s armies suffering from massive desertions would be greatly outmatched by the Haitian rebels who had received generous American support. The Battle of Jacmel would be a crushing defeat, with the President barely escaping being captured.

Retreating to Port-au-Prince, Heureaux was captured by American marines who had recently landed in the city to little opposition. The last President of the First Republic of Haiti was captured attempting to escape the capital under the cover of darkness.

Dragged before an angry crowd, Ulises Heureaux gave his final statement:

“So you people of Haiti wish to see me dead? Despite the vitriol you now level against me, I did what I had to do. Surrounded by you all now, your traitorous faces, I see perhaps I did not do enough to prevent the coming storm. Now, the Americans, and those who would prey upon our misery have arrived to feast upon our dear lands. To my fellow Haitians, I apologize that I failed you all. To those of you who took arms against me under your little caudillo, yes, I may fall here, but the liberty of Haiti will never be extinguished. As long as people yearn for the days in which they once again are free from the control of dictators, and European empires, they will buck against your rule. Gentlemen, you may revile me today, and you may speak ill of me tomorrow, history will prove me right, and will cast you all down into the pits of hell.”

On July 28, 1891, Ulises Heureaux was executed by firing squad in front of the National Assembly. With him the First Haitian Republic ceased to exist as Florvil Hyppolite was propped onto the throne, naming himself “Dictator (Caudillo) of the Haitian State.”

“History Will Prove Me Right”

As soon as Heureaux’s body hit the ground he was descended upon by the angry crowd. Surging forward, after 4 years of worsening hardship, the populace took to the now corpse as an object of hate and ridicule. The former president's corpse would be mangled and dismembered by the mob. The only thing stopping the carnage was eventually a supposedly “wild woman” named Aline Casseus beseeched the crowd to stop, which by this point was mainly angry youths.

Casseus has been a deep admirer of President Heureaux, and upon finding what little remained of him, gathered his body into a sack. In perhaps a final show of respect, or attempted benevolence, Florvil Hyppolite would sponsor Aline Casseus’ trip to Puerto Plata, where she returned Ulises Heureaux’s remains to his wife Catalina Flan.

For the next half-century, Ulises Heureaux would be subject to immense besmirchment on the part of the U.S.-backed dictators, and Rafael Trujillo. Portrayed as a traitor, and corrupt pilferer of the Haitian economy, the entire collapse of the First Republic was placed solely upon his shoulders. While the Caudillos of Haiti escaped criticism.

When the period of Caudillos ended in the 1940’s, Haiti would reevaluate Ulises Heureaux and his rule. While yes he had been corrupt, spending millions on bribes, and bankrupting the Haitian economy, it was not solely his fault. The previous administration's reckless spending had brought Haiti to its knees, so it would be unfair to pin the blame on Heureaux. More importantly, while some had claimed Heureaux was a despotic tyrant, who seized power, most neglected the fact, that he had taken power from the corrupt, and dictatorial Lysius Salomon, who had nearly brought down the Haitian Republic due to his own bruised ego. Had the coup not happened, it’s likely Haiti would’ve broken into a second civil war and ended up occupied anyway. Nowadays, Heureaux is seen as a tragic hero, a final attempt to hold back the chaos and stem the tide. Sadly, he never really had a chance. The Haitian Republic was gone, the so-called “Twenty Years Humiliation” had begun under the traitorous Caudillo, and American marines that were now marching their boots in Port-au-Prince, and Santo Domingo.


This whole series of events is the fate that befell Jean Jacques Dessalines after he was assassinated irl. A crowd dismembered him, with kids being the final defilers until a supposed mad woman managed to gather his remains and bury them with the support and patronage of one of those men who plotted against him, Alexander Pétion, the irl and in this timeline rival of King Henri.
A more educated Haiti will likely see the period of US occupation in a similar light to South Korea's view of Japan.
12. The 20 Years Humiliation Part 1: Florvil Hyppolite (1891-1896)

From Cape Tiburon to Cape Samaná - A United Hispaniola Timeline

12. The 20 Years Humiliation Part 1: Florvil Hyppolite (1891-1896)

“A different Haiti is—always, and still—possible. But only if we grapple with its history and the outsized role that the United States has exerted upon it. The centennial of the occupation offers the ideal opportunity to do so. The invasion of Haiti by U.S. Marines transformed U.S. culture and foreign policy. It changed black and mixed-race thought. It devastated Haiti. Any thought of a “different” Haiti must, then, proceed from the acknowledgment that contemporary Haiti is not ahistorical. Instead, it is a product of imperialist intervention. It is the result of Pan-African solidarity. It is the consequence of past decisions made by outsiders who also envisioned a “different” Haiti, for better or worse. I hope, then, that this series becomes just one part of a larger conversation about the material and intellectual effects of an occupation that is more present than the past.”

-Laurent DuBois: Haiti: The Aftershocks of History (2012)


As the Haitian Republic was swept into the dustbin of history, a new state was born. The State of Haiti, often called derisively the U.S. colony of Hispaniola, was guided in its early years by Florvil Hyppolite, the Benedict Arnold of Haiti, who would lead the nation to suffer, and plunge the nation into starvation, corporatocracy, and insurgency.

The American Bootlicker

Born in Cap-Henry to a mixed French-African family, Florvil Hyppolite had an elitist background and upbringing. Hyppolite was from a young age enamored with and educated by Western academics. Studying in New York he became an Americanophile, after seeing the affluence, and wealth of New York, especially its high society. He also became a believer in the works of Pierre Boisornd-Canal and other promoters of racial science.

Hyppolite saw, and approved of the racial stratification of New York, with the less enlightened African Americans on the bottom rung of society, while mixed-race, and new immigrants occupied a somewhat higher position, with wealthy white Americans on top. Hyppolite was somewhat more of a believer in social mobility, believing if Africans, and Mixed Race people became educated and proved themselves worthy could rise to the rank of Mulatto, or even culturally white.

Of course, these ideas were insane even in the heyday of American occupation. It was a useful tool for those in power to always keep the option of integration, and raising the underclass, but holding it just out of reach.

Returning to Haiti, Florvil enrolled in the Haitian Army, distinguishing himself as an intelligent, and thoughtful soldier. Being promoted by Lysius Salomon he would be among those who would later coup Salomon when he tried to launch a self-coup and consolidate a dictatorship.

While initially being friendly with the new President Ulises Heureaux, the two gradually fell out as Heureaux drove the Haitian economy into its final descent towards bankruptcy. When U.S. Rear Admiral Bancroft Gherardi sailed the White Squadron into Port-au-Prince, and Santo Domingo, General Hyppolite would be among those promoting that the government capitulate to the Americans and handing over Môle Saint-Nicolas. In response, Heureaux had Hyppolite demoted and sent to Puerto Plata where he would stay out of government affairs.

The Fall of the First Republic

Unfortunately, the Haitian government underestimated Florvil Hyppolite and the Americans whom he had been favoring. U.S. Ambassador to Haiti the famous Fredrick Douglass would approach Hyppolite on the orders of U.S. President Benjamin Harrison. The United States would agree to provide arms, and military support to Hyppolite should he launch an armed rebellion against Ulises Heureaux and install a more friendly pro-American regime.

Seeing an opportunity to secure his place in a new Haiti, Hyppolite would contact military garrisons around Santo Domingo, and Puerto Plata. Growing unrest, useless currency, and lax rule by Heureaux angered many of his once loudest supporters in Spanish Haiti, opening up a spot for Hyppolite to secure their loyalty with American arms and funding.

Rising in rebellion, in June 1891, Hyppolite, and the Santo Domingo garrison seized the city, opening the port to American marines who quickly landed and secured the location for the American navy who would help crush unrest in the city against Hyppolite’s rule.

Marching West, the better-supplied, and higher morale forces of Hyppolite crushed Heureaux’s army at the Battle of Jacmel, routing and annihilating his army. Heureaux would be later captured, and executed by American marines in Port-au-Prince. Florvil Hyppolite would march into Port-au-Prince at the head of an army, and be announced as “The First Caudillo of the Haitian State.” The First Republic of Haiti had been swept away under the rapturous applause of the Haitian crowd, begging for relief from the catastrophe, and instability of the past decade. Sadly, the Haitian populace would experience a far greater level of suffering than anything they had before.

Bloody August, First Cacos War, U.S. Marines Tighten Their Hold

Seizing power did not; however, endear the new American occupation, or their puppet Caudillo Hyppolite for very long. Within the first weeks of the occupation, protests by the National Party, and even the various Liberal parties began. These parties, once divided by petty partisan politics, quickly united against the common foe of American rule. The Nationalists angry about the infringement on Haitian sovereignty, and the Liberals incensed by the loss of Haitian democracy, both began to protest against the new Caudillo. The American and Hyppolite response was swift and brutal. In a month that would become immortalized as Bloody August, the Haitian-American forces would open fire on protestors, who responded with escalating protests that quickly became riots.

By the end of “Bloody August”, an estimated 292 Haitians were killed in the streets of Port-au-Prince, and Santo Domingo. Even defeated, the spirit of the Nationalists, and Liberals was not broken. Forming insurgency groups known as the Cacos, Liberals, Nationalists, farmers, and anyone else opposed to the occupation would take to the hills and form an armed revolutionary band led by Dr. Pierre François Joseph Benoit Rosalvo Bobo. Named Cacos for the plumed bird that hid in the Haitian forests. The Cacos became prolific in the art of ambush, and hit and run tactics.

From August to November 1891, the period of the First Cacos War began. The Cacos rebels under the command of Rosalvo Bobo would make some gains, capturing Fort Rivière and making it a base of operations. Hyppolite and the American marines would occupy strategic locations across the interior of the island, attempting to fortify and prepare against a rebel offensive.
Suddenly, in October 1891, the Cacos would launch a massive offensive on the U.S.-Haitian-held Fort Dipitie, the Haitian Cacos would come close to breaching and capturing the fort; however a surprise arrival of American reinforcements, and fierce hand-to-hand fighting saw the Cacos defeated with 75 killed, and 325 captured greatly weakening the Cacos rebels who retreated to Fort Rivière pursued by the U.S. marines, and Haitian loyalist forces.

Finally, at the Battle of Fort Rivière, the loyalists, and marines breached a small opening in the Haitian walls, opening fire upon the rebels from behind. This allowed the combined forces of the U.S. and Haiti to advance, breaking through the front gates of the fort. In total 80 Cacos rebels, including rebel leader Josaphat Jean-Joseph were killed in the siege, to a single US-Loyalist casualty. The First Cacos War had officially ended; however, the leader of the Cacos Rosalvo Bobo eluded capture, retreating into the mountains to prepare a new campaign.

With the Cacos crushed, at least for now, American control over Haiti became more entrenched. U.S. marines occupied major forts, and cities across Haiti, while Hyppolite’s forces were directed to occupy less strategically valuable, and more remote locations. This, of course, caused some outrage amongst Haitian soldiers who were being subordinated, and mistreated within their nation, in comparison to the guest occupiers.

Swift Retaliation, The Return of Forced Labor, and “Jumping Jim Crow”

The American Commander and Chief of the Haitian intervention force, William Banks Caperton, would order “swift retaliation” against villages, and towns that supported the Haitian rebels in their cause. Caudillo Hyppolite would issue a protest to the American forces, but would nonetheless do nothing to stop U.S. marines, and even allow his forces to take part in the slaughter.

Much of this retaliation would be aimed at the Afro-Haitian populace living in eastern, and northeastern Haiti. American marines and Haitian soldiers would strike fast, and viciously. Men, women, and children would not be spared in one of the most appalling, and disgusting examples of American brutality during its campaigns in Latin America.

Afro-Haitian villages would vanish overnight, being replaced by smoldering ruins, with a raised U.S., and the Haitian flag left as evidence of a “victory over barbaric rebels.” Oftentimes, these villages had not taken part in the rebellion whatsoever, being targeted purely based on their race. Mixed-race Haitians were largely spared upon the request of President Harrison, and Caudillo Hyppolite. Nonetheless, some who lived alongside Afro-Haitians would be caught in the crossfire, and by the end of the “swift retaliation” campaign, thousands of Haitians would die.

On top of violence, many villages, and towns were emptied to take part in “Forced Labor programs” reminiscent of the Kingdom of Haiti. These laborers were unpaid, exposed to brutal slavelike conditions, and deployed to repair infrastructure, build new railways to connect the island, and cut down forests to make room for new American companies' interests.

American company men, Haitian Mixed-Race overseers, and white Haitian administrators would plunder the Haitian countryside, slicking the soil with the blood of Afro-Haitians, and Mixed-Race Haitians who had the gall to be poor, and illiterate. Thousands of Haitians' bones were crushed, and bodies were blown apart within the tunnels carved out of the Haitian countryside to make way for the so-called modernity of railways, and American companies. New corporate towns professed the new ideas of welfare paternalism, and quashing labor unions in exchange for “benevolent corporate overlords” who would graciously guide their workforce towards a prosperous life. In reality behind these glittering idealistic endorsements, corporate towns in Haiti were little more than slave pens, where workers often paid back companies with their own money for rent and food.

As American tendrils slithered across Haiti, a new unwelcome arrival would bring down the full brunt of racial violence against Afro-Haitians. Jumping Jim Crow in all its disgusting cruel mockery would reach Haiti, being entertained by the mixed-race, and white Haitians the so-called Jim Crow Laws adopted by the United States would reach the ears of Haitian legislators who would sponsor similar legislation.

The Haitian Racial Hygiene Laws of 1896
[1] would establish a firm separation of the races in Haiti. According to the new acts, Afro-Haitians would be entirely prevented from having children, or otherwise “mixing” with either Mixed-Race Haitians or White Haitians. Further laws would crack down on Vodou, African cultural practices in public spaces, and even barbecue which originated in Afro-Haitian communities. Finally, segregation that prevented Afro-Haitians from living near, going to school with, or even using the same restrooms, or restaurants as Mixed-Race and White Haitians were implemented.

The result of these Racial Hygiene Laws would be devastating for the Afro-Haitian populace. The Afro-Haitian population would slowly begin to decrease as mortality remained high, and many no longer had access to healthcare. Generational wealth, educational attainment, and wages, which were already lower for Afro-Haitians before the formal implementation of restrictions from the central government, all fell drastically across the board. The radicalization effect the Racial Hygiene Laws would have upon the populace would also be massive, as Afro-Haitians, and Mixed-Race Haitians readily began approaching ideologues calling for the burgeoning movement of Black consciousness, and nationalism, or the whitening movements of the Regeneration Party.

Internal Resistance, Second Cacos War Begins, Death of Florvil Hyppolite

Even if some of society had happily become co-opted by Hyppolite, and the American occupiers, many Haitians openly were resistant to the Haitian state. It is said by the start of the Second Cacos War in 1896, 25% of Haitians were in some way. It became a growing crisis that even Caudillo Hyppolite could not effectively defend against.

Within intellectual circles of Haiti debate raged. The most important figure in the fight for intellectual pseudo-science was Anténor Firmin. This Afro-Haitian who had been born in the ever-shrinking Haitian middle class became a well-known intellectual writing a succinct but eloquent rebuttal of Boisrond-Canal. Later when the ideas of racial hygiene were growing more prominent in Haiti, Firmin would write a criticism called “The Equality of Races” This book would assert the ideas of Aryanism, White Supremacy, and Racial division were based upon pseudoscience. Firmin would point to the lack of evidence of skull shape, and brain size as strong correlative factors in evidence of intelligence. To further reinforce his point, Firmin would point to Chinese people having a heavier brain than Europeans, this directly refuted the points made by so-called Aryanists as being the most intelligent, or advanced race. Unfortunately, Firmin was largely yelled down by the “scientific community” many of whom had staked political careers upon proving their pseudoscience, even if they had to lie, or misread data.

Anténor Firmin even though he would have little impact in halting the ruling government in Haiti, or convincing the upper classes, he would have far more success within Afro-Haitian communities and abroad. His most influential ideological contribution would be the foundation of Pan-Africanism, which would promote common unity amongst African people culturally, socially, and in some cases politically to defeat European colonization, and white supremacy. Alongside Benito Sylvain, and Henry Sylvester Williams they would hold the 1900 Pan-African Conference would lay the foundations for the eventual formation of the African Union. Another ambition of Firmin; however, less successful would be the Pan-Caribbean unification project between Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico. The idea would fail to materialize between 1875-1898. His final contribution would be the development of Noirisme. While initially merely calling for the empowerment of Afro-Haitians, it would eventually be bastardized by François Duvalier and his TonTon Macoute terrorists and become a black supremacist ideology calling for the elevation of Afro-Haitians as superior to Mixed-Race and White Haitians, and the militarization of vodou culture to strengthen Duvalier’s insane cult of personality he fostered amongst his drug-addled followers.

For now, the aggressive and high-profile debates of Firmin, alongside the Racial Hygiene laws, pushed Haiti into a Second Cacos War (1896-1898) and would see the death of Hyppolite himself in battle.

By 1896, Caudillo Hyppolite was already an extremely old, and sick man. When a rebellion broke out near Santo Domingo, Hyppolite would gather an army to march east. During the Battle of El Carretón, the Caudillo in his arrogance would only bring a relatively small force with him against the rebels. In a complete ambush near the village of El Carretón, the Haitian army would be routed by rebel forces. Hyppolite himself was supposedly killed fighting rebels; however, rumors abound that he was killed on the orders of his successor
Juan Isidro Jimenes Pereyra, or even just by disgruntled soldiers. Nonetheless, Hyppolite’s body was never found, though according to traditional legend, his head adorned a pike carried at the front of the Cacos rebel battalion, not unlike what was done to slaves during the Haitian Revolution.

Succession, and A Traitor’s Due

When reports trickled back to Port-au-Prince about the death of the Caudillo, temporarily the Haitian government panicked. With most of the government being reshuffled, and staffed with white nationalists, racial supremacists, and other degenerate ideologues, there was little in the way of a positive, or even a sane leader to choose to lead the nation. Instead, the U.S. occupiers would look to the Haitian military to select a new ruler. They found Juan Isidro Jiménes Grullón, a Haitian general, and firm believer in the ideas of the new state, especially racial whitening.

Often described as the “First Whitened Leader of Haiti”, Juan Grullón was swiftly named the Second Caudillo of the Haitian State.

Occasionally, some Haitians would attempt to keep the idealized image of Florvil Hyppolite as a savior of the Haitian nation against the degradation of the previous Republic. Despite their attempts, Hyppolite would be reviled, even amongst those in the eventual Party of Regeneration-led government. He was seen as a weak-willed moderate by nationalists, and racialists, a traitorous lout by liberals, and republicans, and an imperial enabler by socialists, and leftists.

The new Caudillo Grullón would do little to memorialize Hyppolite, no statues would be raised, and no songs of mourning sung. Instead, the monstrous machine Florvil Hyppolite built, and quickly lost control of, would continue forth, exterminating, and annihilating in a churning mass of blood, gore, and tears.


Based upon the 1895 Book by quack Alfred Ploetz, Racial Hygiene Basics, would be crucial in promoting racial hygiene laws in Germany. Later, Ploetz would become a member of the Nazi Party and influence much of their pseudoscientific beliefs on race.
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A more educated Haiti will likely see the period of US occupation in a similar light to South Korea's view of Japan.
It will be somewhere between South Korea's view of Japan, or Nazi Germany's occupation. Especially with how much many of the "Whitening" movements borrowed from German quack scientists, many of whom later joined the Nazi Party, or Proto-Fascism, and Mysticism.