Francois & Jean- Claude Duvalier

By: Aislyn Kenealy & Allison Gilbert

Essential Question

How were Francois & Jean - Claude Duvalier an influence to Haiti's culture and nationalism and why was this significant?

Personal History

Francois was born April 14, 1907 in Port-au-Prince, Haiti

He was President of Haiti for 14 years, longest presidential reign in Haiti’s history

Supporter of black nationalism and voodoo

He Completed his secondary education at a private school, then went on to enroll in medical school, and graduated from the University of Haiti School of Medicine in 1934.


Physical Characteristics

1956 Duvalier won elections by, ‘the greatest majority in Haitian history’. He was nicknamed, ‘Papa Doc’. He was a black nationalist and was supported by many. His many intelligent achievments made him admirable and confident.

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Commitments and Achievements

During the publishing of a newspaper named, Action Nationale, the activist group encouraged voodoo as a vital piece of Haitian culture, Duvalier’s participation appealed to the lower-classes of Haiti, helping the cause gain support.

During his college years he joined a black nationalist group called, Le Group de Griots. The group protested against ‘non-Haitian’ culture such as Mulatto, which was a European introduced culture. He worked in a hospital until 1943 then joined a U.S. campaign to cure the yaws disease. In 1946, Francois was the general director of public health under President Dumarsai Estime, in 1948, Duvalier was re-assigned to secretary of labor, but in 1949 Estime and his cabinet were overthrown from power by Paul Magloire, head of Haitian Guard.


During Presidency...

In 1961, Francois rigged legislative elections to extend his term in office. To ensure his rule, Duvalier created a ‘Cult of Personality’, the followers of the cult proclaimed Duvalier to be, “...the perfect embodiment of the Haitian nation.” He also during presidency created a secret police to enforce the act of Voodoo.

He Ruled with an extremely authoritarian government. An example of this is when a new constitution was constructed in 1964, in which, Duvailer declared himself "president for life".

Near the end of his presidency, Haiti experienced dramatic isolation from diplomats, and saw steep economic declines, as well as revolutionary plots building up.



CIA Archives: Haiti's François Duvalier Dictatorship (1971)