!! History Commons Alert, Exciting News

Context of 'November 11, 1915: US Pressures Haiti into Signing Disadvantageous Treaty'

This is a scalable context timeline. It contains events related to the event November 11, 1915: US Pressures Haiti into Signing Disadvantageous Treaty. You can narrow or broaden the context of this timeline by adjusting the zoom level. The lower the scale, the more relevant the items on average will be, while the higher the scale, the less relevant the items, on average, will be.

July 18, 1915: US Sends Troops to Haiti

US President Woodrow Wilson sends US forces to Haiti in an attempt to prevent Germany or France from taking it over. Haiti controls the Windward Passage to the Panama Canal and is seen as strategically critical. The Haitian government is near insolvency at this time and is significantly in debt to foreign corporations. German companies control almost 80 percent of Haitian trade. US forces will occupy the country until 1934. [Rogozinski, 1992, pp. 238-239] A few weeks later, the US State Department installs Senator Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave as the head of state. “When the National Assembly met, the Marines stood in the aisles with their bayonets until the man selected by the American Minister was made President,” Smedley Butler, a Marine who will administer Haiti’s local police force, later writes. [Rogozinski, 1992, pp. 239; Common Dreams, 3/10/2004]

Entity Tags: Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave, Smedley D. Butler, Woodrow Wilson

Timeline Tags: US-Haiti (1804-2005)

Under pressure from the United States, Haitian President Sudre Dartiguenave signs, and the Haitian senate ratifies, a treaty legitimizing the US occupation and putting Haitian finances and government under the control of the US for the next 20 years. The act also disbands the Haitian army, creating in its place a single US-led, 3000-man police force known as the Gendarmerie d’Haiti which answers to the US Secretary of State. [Rogozinski, 1992, pp. 239; Common Dreams, 3/10/2004] The Gendarmerie oversees the implementation of a US law reviving the practice of conscripted labor, or corv�e, which requires Haitian peasants to work on roads for three days a year. However, in some cases workers are forced to work bound with ropes for weeks and even months. The practice reminds Haitians of their slavery under the French and inspires a rebellion in 1918 (see Late 1918-1920). [Heuvel, 1990; Rogozinski, 1992, pp. 240]

Entity Tags: Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave

Timeline Tags: US-Haiti (1804-2005)

The US drafts a constitution for Haiti, which notably excludes a provision from the country’s previous constitution which had prohibited foreign ownership of land. Under the US-drafted constitution, foreign investors would be able to purchase fertile areas and establish sugar cane, cacao, banana, cotton, tobacco, and sisal plantations. But the Haitian legislature finds the US-proposed constitution unacceptable and continues working on a new document which would reverse the terms of the 1915 treaty (see November 11, 1915), giving control of Haiti back to its own government, and which would leave the previous constitution’s land restrictions intact. When a copy of the document is sent to Washington, it is quickly rejected by the US State Department which complains that it is “unfriendly” and instructs that its passage be prevented. But the Haitian lawmakers continue their work with plans to quickly ratify the new constitution and then impeach Haitian President Dartiguenave on the basis of the new document’s provisions. To prevent its passage, Dartiguenave orders US Marine Smedley Butler to dissolve the Haitian legislature, which he does as they are preparing to vote on the new constitution. Smedley claims that the measure is necessary in order “to end the spirit of anarchy which animates it [the Hatian legislature].” [Rogozinski, 1992, pp. 240; Common Dreams, 3/10/2004]

Entity Tags: Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave, Smedley D. Butler

Timeline Tags: US-Haiti (1804-2005)

The US authorities in Haiti submit the US-drafted constitution (see Early 1917) to a popular referendum, which approves it in a landslide. Less than 5 percent of Haiti’s population participate in the vote. [Rogozinski, 1992, pp. 240; Common Dreams, 3/10/2004]

Entity Tags: Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave

Timeline Tags: US-Haiti (1804-2005)

Haiti’s new constitution (see Early 1917) goes into effect. Sudre Dartiguenave remains president, though his position is nothing more than that of a figurehead. Real power remains with the US occupiers. [Rogozinski, 1992, pp. 240; Common Dreams, 3/10/2004; Encyclopedia of World History, 6th ed., 1/2/2006]

Entity Tags: Philippe Sudre Dartiguenave

Timeline Tags: US-Haiti (1804-2005)

Angered by a US-instigated law requiring forced labor (see November 11, 1915), as many as 40,000 Haitians in the north led by Charlemagne Peralte and Benoit Batraville, attack and defeat the local gendarmerie and take control over much of the northern mountainous region. US forces are called in to repress the rebellion in March of 1919. For the first time ever, airplanes are used to support soldiers. The fighting continues until November 1920. The official US record of casualties shows that thirteen US soldiers and 3,071 Haitians are killed. [Haiti Progres, n.d.; Rogozinski, 1992, pp. 240]

Entity Tags: Charlemagne Péralte, Benoit Batraville

Timeline Tags: US-Haiti (1804-2005)

Ordering 

Time period


Email Updates

Receive weekly email updates summarizing what contributors have added to the History Commons database

 
Donate

Developing and maintaining this site is very labor intensive. If you find it useful, please give us a hand and donate what you can.
Donate Now

Volunteer

If you would like to help us with this effort, please contact us. We need help with programming (Java, JDO, mysql, and xml), design, networking, and publicity. If you want to contribute information to this site, click the register link at the top of the page, and start contributing.
Contact Us

Creative Commons License Except where otherwise noted, the textual content of each timeline is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike