Blog Post 11/20

Q: How does the Haitian Constitution reconcile its ideals of liberty and freedom with the formation of an Empire led by a singular monarch?

The Haitian constitution unsurprisingly emphasizes freedom and individual liberty, but interestingly creates a system of monarchy accordant with the norm of the time period rather than a republican government akin to the United States or revolutionary France. However, it does take measures to avoid a tyrannical system of government. Some of these measures include a system of elective monarchy, through which the issues inherent in hereditary monarchies and the potential resulting tyranny can be avoided. The constitution also states clearly that the children of the Emperor will be treated the same as any other citizen and can’t be placed into high military or political ranks without achieving that honor of their own merit, showing that the writers were very conscious of nepotism, possibly in part due to Napoleon’s habit of putting his relatives on conquered thrones. However, the emperor’s children and wife do have the favor of being given a ‘stipend’, so there are some issues of wealth inequality. Another article provides that the Emperor will not be allowed to surround himself with a group such as an Honor Guard, and that he will not be allowed to undertake wars of conquest or infringe on the rights of foreign people or countries, thus avoiding colonial entanglements or unjust wars. All together, the constitution is pretty decent about keeping the individual freedoms of the people provided for and avoiding hereditary monarchy or nepotism, but it does have a lot of issues in terms of making the Emperor all-powerful and wealthy.

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