Francois & Jean Claude Duvalier


How Does Francois Duvalier's ruling in Haiti Impact How His Son, Jean Claude, Was Seen?


Francois Duvalier was born in Port Au Prince, Haiti in 1907. He was born into a middle class black family. Once Francois was married he decided to go to medical school at the University of Haiti in 1934. Then for 10 years he worked as a physician at the school of medicine hospital. When he was a medical student he became active in black nationalist causes and joined a group called Le Group de Griots which embraces black nationalism. In 1946 He worked as a general director for public health. In 1950 - 1954 he worked for the U.S Sanitary Mission. At the same time he planned a political opposition to President Magloire. By the end of 1954 Francois feared government reprisals so he continued to overthrow the government secretly. Magloire resigned from presidency before he overthrew him. In 1956 Haiti experienced 10 different governments in which Francois group was apart of all of them. But Francois decided he did not want to be apart of it and decided to run for president in 1957. His ideas were social reform and black nationalism. His ideas were very popular in Haiti and he had won the elections. Francois had succeeded the expectations and the people were happy about it. Francois decided to reduce the size of his military and have secret police and a presidential guard because Francois did not have trust in the loyalty of his army. He created a group called Tontons Macoutes to help balance the army and terrorize the people who apposed him. He started to use voodoo to put fear into the people as well. He caused over 30,000 deaths during his presidency. Then in 1961 he rigged the elections so he could stay president. Francois Duvalier had created a cult of personality and the people loved and adored him and his family. Francois was in power the longest than any other past president in Haiti. April 1971 he died and gave the power to his son Jean Claude Duvalier. At the age of 19 Jean Claude became president of Haiti. He attended the University of Haiti to study law. After 15 years in office in 1986 a revolt broke out and Jean Claude imposed martial law but then violent protests began in the capitol, Port Au Prince, and 50 civilians were killed. Jean Claude was known for torturing, kidnapping, and extrajudicial execution and many other crimes against humanity in his 15 years as president. Duvalier put the military in charge and fled to exile in France, where he still lives today. The government was replaced with a constitutional democracy.

Father-Son Legacy in Haiti

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Francois Duvalier was a very political active man before he became president of Haiti. This photo shows that the people adored Francois because he is pictured like god with the sun behind his head. His son Jean Claude is pictured as the baby of the two. Their nicknames are actually "Papa Doc" and "Baby Doc". His father rewrote a part of their constitution so that Jean Claude could become the next president for life after he past away. Jean Claude, after 15 years as president, was sent to exile after many violent protests were happening. Francois is showed as the more powerful person in the photo because the people worshiped him more than they did Jean Claude.

Journal Entry

Dear Journal,

Tomorrow I am going to change the constitution and leave my job in the hands of my son, Jean Claude, for when the time comes and I have passed. I hope he will appreciate what I do for him and what I had to do to make this possible. With my popularity as president right now I want the legacy to continue after I am gone and I want my son to continue as president of Haiti to keep the Duvalier name. My son should be just as powerful as I am and he needs to be strong in order to keep Haiti under his control. I pray that he will not mess everything up and be the president until he dies. I have raised him to be strong and always do what you can to succeed. I hope he takes my words and uses them to create a stronger Haiti after I am gone.

~Francois Duvalier