“Your Majesty’s Friend”: Foreign Alliances in the Reign of Henri Christophe (2013)

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ABSTRACT

In modern historiography, Henri Christophe, king of northern Haiti from 1816-1820, is generally given a negative persona due to his controlling nature and his absolutist regime, but in his correspondence, he engages in diplomatic collaborations with two British abolitionists, William Wilberforce and Thomas Clarkson, in order to improve his new policies and obtain international recognition. This paper argues that the Haitian king and the abolitionists engaged in a mutual collaboration in which each party benefitted from the correspondence. Christophe used the advice of the British abolitionists in order to increase the power of Haiti into a powerful
black state, and Wilberforce and Clarkson helped the king position Haiti as a self-sufficient nation to fuel their abolitionist argument of the potential of post-emancipation societies.

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