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The 1st Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC)
Lesson Plan Competition
"The American Occupation of Haiti in 1915"
Michaelle Barjon Soucy
Jorse Mas Canosa Middle School
THE AMERICAN OCCUPATION OF HAITI IN 1915
This lesson will engage students in an analysis of a historical event by considering
two opposing points of view. Students will use the primary sources provided by the dloc
1- Report No. 794 submitted to the 67th Congress by Mr. Oddie from the select
committee on Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The title of this document is "Inquiry
into Occupation and Administration of Haiti and the Dominican Republic"
2- An opinion paper submitted by Marie Josee Mont-Reynard in March 2002
A-While reading both texts students will first use a graphic organizer to separate Fact
Students will continue their analysis by identifying each author's ponit of view with the
knowledge that that may include unsubstantiated beliefs, biases and assumptions.
Evidence of these personal judgments will be listed
C- In the final analysis Identify Possible Problem and Possible Solution on a two
column graphic organizer
D-Opinion / Position 300 to 500 word paper on the topic
Follow up activity:
Debate between those who would be for and those who are against.
AMERICAN OCCUPATION OF HAITI IN 1915 1934 LESSON
The following objectives and standards will be covered in this lesson:
A- As we begin the reading process of both texts students will use a graphic
organizer to separate facts from opinion statements.
Student evaluates statements of fact, inferences.and judgments/opinions in both reading
and discussions about reading, delineates strengths and weaknesses of an argument in
persuasive text, and distinguishes between logical and illogical and ethical and unethical
statements in text.
LA.A.1.3.1 LA.A.2.3.1, LA.A.2.3.8
B- Students will utilize tools geographers use to study the world. / Student will use a
map to identify major bodies of water of the world, and explain ways they have
impacted the development of civilization / Students will identify major regional
economic activities .
Students will understand how to use maps and other geographic representations, tools and
technology to report information.
Students determine how the people in a region meet their economic needs and wants;
methods of earning a living, distribution of wealth in the region, trade.
SS.A.1.3.2, SS.A.2.3.4, SS.A2.3.8
C- Students will continue their analysis by identifying each author's ponit of view
with the knowledge that that may include unsubstantiated beliefs, biases and
assumptions. Evidence of these personal judgments will be listed on a graphic
Student identifies persuasive and propaganda techniques in text.
D- In the final analysis students will identify Possible Problems and Possible
Solutions on a two column graphic organizer.
Applies reading/ critical thinking skills, such as generating questions, recognizing
propaganda, clarifying information, evaluating author's purpose and perspective toward a
topic, and using evidence from a selection to support opinions.
LA.A.1.3.1 LA.A 2.3.1, LA.A.2.3.3, LA.D.2.3.6
THE TRUTH ABOUT THE AMERICAN OCCUPATION OF HAITI IN 1915
The American Naval Forces descended upon the island of Hispaniola in 1915 and
undertook the occupation of the sovereign nation Haiti (1915-1934). This contentious
issue has scholars from both the Haitian and American perspective in a perpetual
debate over the legitimacy of the invasion given the reasons and furthermore whether
the means justified the end.
This unilateral action on the surface may have benefited the country in the short term the
anti-intervention debaters say. There are certain undeniable facts that the development of
permanent infrastructure such as the construction of roads eased transportation and trade
however those who lived during that time are quick to explain that the manpower used
for the construction was equivalent to slave labor. Many members of the 98% peasant
class were forced to labor long hours often at long distances from their families for no
pay. These workers had no recourse since all media in particular the newspaper Le
Nouvelliste had been suspended and their government replaced by a de facto
government/occupier who imposed martial law, censored the press and repressed all
opposition by military means.
Amongst the reasons stated in support of the invasion by the representatives of the
American Naval Forces based on their report were the following:
1- Haitians were free from impressment into the military and coercion by the
Cacos.(paramilitary organization in defense of sovereignty)
2-No protection or service was ever provided by the Haitian government prior to 1915
3-The people were no longer burdened by heavy taxes for which no account was kept.
4-Inadequate hospital facilities and generally unsanitary conditions existed
5-Although compulsory education had been instituted since 1864; only 2% of the
population could read or write.
Many Haitian citizens as well as international observers will attest to the fact that these
criticisms could be made for several Caribbean nations and that many of these
conditions remain today. Many will also submit to the fact that the country had indeed
been unstable with successive coup d'etats and a society who for the majority had
reverted back to agrarian subsistence farming as a means of survival. The lack of social
political and economic progress was accentuated when compared to the previous very
profitable large scale sugar and coffee plantations that had been erected by the French
rulers. The question remains however to whom were these profits going and how was it
Can we achieve sustainable long term development through undemocratic coercive
means or with a more humane approach?
AMERICAN OCCUPATION OF HAITI IN 1915 TARGET AUDIENCE/REQUIRED
The target audience is 6-12 Grades. This lesson would be appropriate for a History
Class, Geography Class or Language Arts Class.
The required materials include:
1-Congressional Report No. 794 submitted by Mr. Oddie to the Select Committee on
Haiti and the Dominican Republic titled "Inquiry into the Occupation and
Administration of Haiti and the Dominican Republic"
2-An opinion paper written by Marie -Josee Mont-Reynaud titled:
"The failure of the American Occupation of Haiti, 1915-1934"
3-Roger Gaillard Premier Ecrasement du Cacoisme" Optional (French)
Several Graphic Organizers that can be obtained from the Toolbox for FCAT Success
and Cassandra Yorke Department of Multicultural Education
1-Author's point of view graphic organizer
2-Fact/Opinion two column graphic organizer
3-Possible Problem/ Possible Solution Graphic Organizer
4-Map and Flag Activity on Haiti can be found at Enchantedlearning.com
AMERICAN OCCUPATION OF HAITI IN 1915 TEACHING ACTIVITIES
1-A brief history of the country Haiti should be given using a historical timeline to
include Independence in 1804 to the present. Special attention should be given to the
events that followed the occupation, the rise of Duvalier's (when many mulatos were
assassinated in retaliation for privileges the American occupiers had bestowed upon
them.) The downfall of the Duvalier Regime in 1986 and the repeat of successive coup
d'etats which had prompted the invasion in the first place. A map/flag activity can be
included in that lesson to identify major cities and waterways as well as the relative
location of Haiti.
2-The invasion can be introduced by activating prior knowledge about occupations by
American forces in general. The most recent case in point is the Iraq war and occupation.
3-Students will then be guided to focus on a parallel situation that required similar actions
however whose time and context was entirely different. Thought should be given to the
diplomatic relations that existed between the two countries vis-a-vis the social/racial
situation in the U.S. in 1915.
4-Students will begin their analysis of the Congressional Report by using the graphic
organizers of fact and opinion and Author's point of view. I would suggest pages 1-10
be used for this analysis because it is a lengthy report.
5-Repeat for any other sources including the opinion paper by Ms. Mont-Reynaud and
Roger Gaillard's extensive accounts in his books.
6-Final Analysis will be to consider Possible Solutions to Possible Problems that are
apparent from the reading.
7-tudents should then be required to write a 300 to 500 conclusion to their findings taking
a position on the topic of occupation forces.
8-This assignment may take up to three lessons of 60min each with homework. The
readings may be done in class with follow up discussions.
Students will be graded on completion of all the graphic organizers which will be
submitted for a grade.
Students will receive a grade for their essay in support of their position. Clarity and
coherence of ideas as well as grammar and punctuation will be taken into consideration.
In general the 10th grade FCAT Writing Rubric is appropriate to evaluate the essay.
MEASURED IMPACT OF THE LESSON PLAN
The measured impact of the lesson will vary according to the level of interest and
understanding of the subject matter (prior knowledge) as well as by students' reading
comprehension levels. Students must have the ability to analyse different sources of
information to draw a conclusion that can be supported by logical argument and factual
statements. This lesson can be simplified for ESE classes and middle school students.
It is very well suited for high schoolers and gifted students.
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