This essay grapples with the problem of how to think Haiti's nineteenth century, analyzing a range of literature that has tackled the question and exploring key themes in these works. Understanding this period in Haiti's history is critical for any comprehension of the long-term trajectory of institutions, practices, social structures, and ideas in the country, and yet scholars writing about the period face a range of empirical and methodological challenges. Both older work and recent research, however, illuminates greatly this important period and offers examples for future scholarship.

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