DEMOCRATIZED REPUBLIC: HOW HAITI'S FAILED EMIGRATION PROGRAM DESTABILIZED ITS DEMOCRACY
Lagrenade, Stanley Jean
The Republic of Haiti has been in a perpetual democratic transition since its independence on January 1, 1804. Its revolution was the final step in its emancipation from France, which prompted its nation building process and democratic transition. Democratic transitions are a country's organic process of establishing democratic rule after a revolution or regime change, and they consist of creating the fundamental institutions of a democratic government. Haiti has been unsuccessful in establishing a democracy in the course of its two hundred year independence. Haiti's failure to establish a stable democracy has trapped it in a vicious socio-political cycle in which the government has vacillated between a dictatorship and a fledgling democracy. Many of the analyses that have been done on Haiti's democratic transition after its independence have examined its transition strictly from a socio-political perspective. These studies have postulated that Haiti's failures are a result of a lack of gubernatorial organization, social fragmentation, and geopolitical isolation. While all of these assertions are valid when examining Haiti's democratic failures, they do not consider the possible effects of immigration on democratic transition.This thesis explores Haiti's democratic transition and nation building process in order to determine if immigration could have positively affected the formation of democracy in Haiti. It explores the failures of the Emigration Movement, enacted in the 1820's, to relocate freed African American slaves to Haiti, to illustrate the ways in which a successful campaign could have aided in its democratization. This is accomplished through an analysis of the movement's potential impact on the establishment of Haitian civil society, economic modes of production, social class organization, and political process through a variety of methods. First, there is a historical look at the Haitian revolution in order to gain perspectives on the origins of democracy in Haiti and to obtain a thorough understanding of Haiti's pre-revolutionary social, political and economic structures. Next, there is an exploration of the transition after the revolution that examines the creation and transformation of all structures mentioned above. The transition period for any nation is particularly important due to its lack of institutional stability, the potential for conflict, and social fragmentation. Ultimately, this thesis demonstrates that while not necessary for the establishment of a stable democracy in all developing nations, Haiti's social, political and economic structures would have benefitted from the positive effects of a vibrant immigration movement.
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