"The Twilight of Popular Revolutions"

Marvin Chochotte has peer reviewed article published in The Journal of African American History

Marvin Chochotte is currently a 2018-2020 Mellon Faculty Fellow and in 2020 will assume an Assistant Professor appointment. Fresh off the press, his recent publication is a peer-reviewed essay in the The Journal of African American History, titled: “The Twilight of Popular Revolutions: The Suppression of Peasant Armed Struggles and Freedom in Rural Haiti During the US Occupation, 1915–1934." His essay demonstrates that in nineteenth-century Haiti, traditions of popular revolutions arguably fostered one of the most egalitarian post-emancipation societies for black rural people.  But all that would change in the twentieth century. In 1915, President Woodrow Wilson ordered the U.S. Marines to invade Haiti and suppress traditions of revolutions. U.S. armed forces would also impose coercive methods of control that established sustained modes of authoritarianism in Haiti. The manner in which they imposed control eerily resembled the treatment of African Americans in the Jim Crow US South.

For far too long, Haitian governments have been suspiciously depicted as extraordinarily despotic, while ruling over irrational and passive black subjects. Drawing from records in hidden archives throughout Haiti, his essay, “Twilight of Popular Revolutions,” contends that systematic practices of authoritarian governance, contrary to conventional wisdom, were not historically intrinsic to actual political practice in Haiti. Rather, U.S. military intervention in Haiti suppressed egalitarian traditions of revolution and reinvigorated post-emancipation laws that established the political and social conditions for the later rise of the notoriously repressive François and Jean Claude Duvalier dictatorship.