The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Haiti and the United States, 1714-1938. By Ludwell Lee Mon-
Durham: Duke University Press, 1940. Pp. xiii, 308. Bibliography,
maps. $3.00.
Professor Montague is particularly well qualified to write on
the subject of our relations with a country the location of which
causes such relations to be based primarily on strategic consid-
erations. By training and profession, the author of this book
is both an historian and a military man. He is a reserve officer
as well as an assistant professor of history in Virginia Military
After a somewhat inadequate background of the history of
the island, Professor Montague follows three general themes in
tracing our relations with Haiti. The first deals with the eight-
eenth century colonial period, when English attempts to pre-
vent her continental American colonies from carrying on a very
vital and profitable trade with the foreign West Indies, did
much to bring on revolution. The next general theme is the
inseparable connection between our relations with Haiti and the
negro question at home. No official recognition of a negro re-
public by the United States was possible so long as legal slavery
existed in the United States or while the "Slavocracy" had a
voice in the formulation of our foreign policy. After our Civil
War and the emergence of the United States as a world power,
the exigencies of Caribbean naval strategy provide the theme.
To understand the United States Haitian relations during the
last half century is to understand most of the United States-
Caribbean policy during that period. Professor Montague's
study of this relation deals with our application of the Monroe
Doctrine, a search for naval bases, efforts to secure negative
control over strategic sites, and intervention in Haiti both to
secure these aims and as an outlet for our zeal in reforming
backward neighbors.
This work is the only definitive study of United States-Haitian
relations from 1851 to 1910, and contains several contributions
to an understanding of the events of that period. Perhaps the
most notable of these contributions is the presentation of James
G. Blaine's part in the "Mole Affair"--a part that further tar-
nishes the armor of the "plumed knight."
This reviewer feels that this very timely book has one weak-
ness that could have been avoided. The background of Haitian
history prior to independence is insufficient. This is due to


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed October 13, 2015.