Page:Haiti- Her History and Her Detractors.djvu/370
Haiti: Her History and Her Detractors
liberator Dessalines when his rule appeared to be growing too despotic. And the conflict between Pétion and Christophe was more the outcome of a difference of opinion as to principle than a matter of personal rivalry: it was a struggle of republican against monarchical ideas. And the Haitians, as fond of equality as they are of liberty, will give their firm support against all odds to that system of government which does not establish privileges and renders public offices accessible to all citizens according to merit.
The first civil war which took place in Haiti resulted in the triumph of the Republic; monarchy disappearing with Christophe in 1820. The new form of government was planned in accordance with the requirements of the day. The necessity of taking precautions against the possibility of an aggression from France, the absolute authority vested in the Governor-General still fresh in people's minds, and the natural inexperience of men just freed from slavery, all combined in deciding the people to invest the Chief Executive with extraordinary powers and prerogatives. And in order to avoid the disturbances provoked by too frequent elections, Presidency for life was established.
The circumstances which had necessitated a strongly organized Executive Power underwent a change when the independence of Haiti was fully recognized by France. As soon as they were relieved of the fear of an attack from the former mother country the people began to object to the amount of power of which their ruler was possessed, and desired to have his authority curtailed and adapted to the new state of things. At that time the exclusive right to introduce laws was held by President Boyer, the members of his Cabinet being like so many clerks. The House of Representatives wished to partake in the privilege of introducing laws, requesting also that public affairs be managed by responsible Ministers forming a Council of Secretaries of State, presided over by the President of the Republic. In their youthful enthusiasm this new nation demanded reforms which the Executive Power did not