By 1804, Jefferson told John Quincy Adams that he was determined to end trade with Haiti. Having helped the Haitians gain their freedom, he then sought to strangle the new-born nation. He sought to quarantine the island and opposed official trade because that would mean recognizing its independence. And that could inspire slave insurrections throughout the American South. The embargo on Haiti remained in force until the spring of 1810; trade fell from $6.7 million in 1806 to $1.5 million in 1808. Non-recognition of the republic remained official American policy until 1862.
Abraham Lincoln signed the bill to recognize Haiti, at long last (and Liberia, too, by the way) in June 1862. The bill passed both houses of Congress only after long and heated debate. James Redpath, the head of the Haitian emigration bureau and an abolitionist, had pressed Massachusetts statesman Charles Sumner to introduce this legislation, for one reason: to encourage the emigration of freed slaves and free blacks to both countries, which remained a dream of Lincoln’s even a month before he signed the Emancipation Proclamation.
The American occupation of Haiti lasted between July 28, 1915, and August 15, 1934. As James Weldon Johnson concluded as early as 1920, “If the United States should leave Haiti today, it would leave more than a thousand widows and orphans of its own making, more banditry than has existed for a century, resentment, hatred and despair in the heart of a whole people, to say nothing of the irreparable injury to its own tradition as the defender of the rights of man.” As W.E.B. Du Bois, ever the speaker of truth to power, put it in a debate over American foreign policy 1930, the United States invaded Haiti to protect the financial interests of the National City Bank. The audience demanded that he be “thrown out.”