Constitution of Hayti, 1805

Jacques Dessalines: Constitution d’Haïti. 20 mai 1805.
Courtesy of Bibliothèque nationale de France

In the constitution of the newly founded “Empire of Hayti,” slavery was “abolished forever” (Art. 2). At the same time, it was stipulated that only “blacks” belong to the state people of Haiti. “Black” here denotes a political concept. Thus, Polish mercenaries who had defected during the fighting, or German settlers, could become citizens. They were considered “black”.

Art. 12: No white person, of whatever nation, shall set foot in this territory with the title of lord or possessor; nor shall he acquire any property therein in the future.
Art. 13: The preceding article cannot in the least affect White women who have been naturalized by the government – not even children who have already been born or who will be born by said women in the future. Germans and Poles naturalized by the government are also included by the injunction of this article.