Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Paul W. Mapp

Committee Member

Joshua A Piker

Committee Member

Guillaume Aubert


“Native Citizens!” Citizenship, Family, and Governance During the Haitian Revolution, 1789-1806 Given the upheaval of the Haitian Revolution, and first head-of-state Jean-Jacques Dessalines’s insistence on divesting Haiti from all French influence, it is unsurprising that many historians have depicted Dessalines’s rule as a dramatic rupture; the end of an old state, and the beginning of a new one. However, despite Dessalines’s stated desire to divest from French influence, he continued to use the language of citizenship in legal texts, speeches, and proclamations, despite its strong association with French republicanism. By examining legislative texts and proclamations from 1793 to 1806, I argue that Dessalines used the language of citizenship as a shorthand for duty, obedience, and unity, in order to ensure the security both of the nation, and of his own authority. In doing so, he continued a trend set by pre-independence administrators, who used citizenship rhetoric in their attempts to establish order after the proclamation of emancipation in 1793. “Thrown into this Hospitable Land:” French Refugees in Virginia, 1793-1810 I explore the experiences of French refugees from the Haitian Revolution in Virginia, tracing several members of one refugee household in order to understand how refugees negotiated the opportunities and limitations that they faced upon arrival in the state. French refugees were received in the state with a combination of enthusiasm and suspicion, with the latter being particularly directed towards enslaved refugees, who were feared to carry the “contagion” of slave revolt. By piecing together the archival traces left by two members of the Burot family – planter Alexander Burot, and enslaved domestic Julia Ann Burot – and their immediate relatives, I speculate on the ways in which they addressed the obstacles they faced in Virginia, and argue that their ability to exploit personal and professional relationships, together with sheer good fortune, was instrumental to their achieving some level of socio-economic success in the state.



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