The Journal of Caribbean History: Volume 50, Issue 1

Article 4
The Morant Bay Rebellion, British Colonial Policy, and Travelling Ideas about Haiti

Jack Webb


In this article, I examine how Haiti was deployed by Governor Eyre and his supporters in the debate over the Morant Bay Rebellion in Britain. I argue that Eyre’s defence was bolstered by proliferating notions of scientific racism. Scientists, such as members of the Anthropological Society of London, that included many politicians and colonial administrators amongst it ranks, promoted the notion that Haitians and Jamaicans were inherently united through shared racial characteristics. As events at Morant Bay took shape, both Eyre and observers in Britain looked to Haitian history for an analysis of the motives of the protestors.