We Dream Together

Dominican Independence, Haiti, and the Fight for Caribbean Freedom

Book Pages: 400 Illustrations: 11 illustrations Published: December 2016

Author: Anne Eller

Caribbean Studies, History > Latin American History, Postcolonial and Colonial Studies

In We Dream Together Anne Eller breaks with dominant narratives of conflict between the Dominican Republic and Haiti by tracing the complicated history of Dominican emancipation and independence between 1822 and 1865. Eller moves beyond the small body of writing by Dominican elites that often narrates Dominican nationhood to craft inclusive, popular histories of identity, community, and freedom, summoning sources that range from trial records and consul reports to poetry and song. Rethinking Dominican relationships with their communities, the national project, and the greater Caribbean, Eller shows how popular anticolonial resistance was anchored in a rich and complex political culture. Haitians and Dominicans fostered a common commitment to Caribbean freedom, the abolition of slavery, and popular democracy, often well beyond the reach of the state. By showing how the island's political roots are deeply entwined, and by contextualizing this history within the wider Atlantic world, Eller demonstrates the centrality of Dominican anticolonial struggles for understanding independence and emancipation throughout the Caribbean and the Americas. 


"In doing away with simplistic, jingoistic evaluations of relationships between and among Caribbean actors, Eller allows readers to better appreciate the relationship of the eventual Dominican overthrow of the Spanish annexation to Puerto Rican and Cuban struggles for independence from Spain. Highly recommended." — W. J. Nelson, Choice

"Anne Eller’s pathbreaking study provides the first social history of the Restoration War, moving purposefully away from elite accounts to explore what the Haitian and Domimnican people on the ground were thinking and feeling." — Gavin O'Toole, Latin American Review of Books

"Eller’s book is an important addition to the historiography on anti-colonial struggles. Her globalized perspective is insightful as it offers the reader a fresh way of looking at events in Hispaniola within the context of global competition for interests in the Caribbean." — Bekeh Utietiang, Journal of Global South Studies

"For those of us descended from the island that is now Haiti and the Dominican Republic, We Dream Together offers historical lessons that should encourage a reconfiguration of identity that centers the social, economic, and political relationships forged between oppressed communities on both sides of the island’s internal border." — Sandy Placido, Black Perspectives

“With We Dream Together, Anne Eller has produced not only an invaluable contribution to the academic field of history, but also a forceful manifesto.” — Milagros Ricourt, American Historical Review

“Exhaustively researched and eloquently argued. We Dream Together is an important work for everyone interested in Haiti and the Dominican Republic to absorb and to ponder.” — Eric Paul Roorda, Hispanic American Historical Review

"A thorough, panoptic study of the sociopolitical dynamics at work in the Dominican Republic . . . . The strength of the scholarship is astounding." — Sophie Maríñez, H-Haiti, H-Net Reviews

"One of the greatest strengths of Eller’s book is precisely its demonstration of a connected history between two nations that have been, and perhaps continue to be, separated by history." — Marlene L. Daut, Reviews in American History

"Successful in dealing with the challenge of keeping all the various protagonists, political forces and international events in play along with foregrounding the everyday lives of inhabitants. . . . A welcome addition to an important new direction in the nineteenth-century Caribbean history. . . . She proves that a full understanding of the past is not possible without unearthing the sometimes surprising network of connections that underpin historical events." — J. Michael Dash, Slavery & Abolition

"Eller’s book not only provides an original and timely contribution to the island’s social history; it is also the first systematic description and analysis of the Spanish annexation as a crucial part of Caribbean history." — Michiel Baud, New West Indian Guide

"Anne Eller’s richly researched, intricately built book takes us to the 1844 to 1865 period during which Dominican independence was twice won, first against Haiti and then from Spain. . . . With a stereoscopic vision that encompasses both minute local details and the regional context, We Dream Together succeeds in raising the stature of the Dominican War of Restoration within the larger context of Caribbean post-emancipation struggles against racism and colonialism." — Samuel Martínez, European Review of Latin American and Caribbean Studies

"Eller’s book is an insightful and engaging examination of race, national identity, state formation, and agency in resistance to European imperialism." — Wayne H. Bowen, Itinerario

"Rooted in deep archival research, exhibiting a wonderful analytic and stylistic sensibility, and narrating a story that is largely overlooked, We Dream Together makes a signal contribution to Caribbean studies and the broader history of struggles for independence and emancipation in the Americas. This is the book that tells the story of the Dominican Republic's independence." — Laurent Dubois, author of Haiti: The Aftershocks of History

"Anne Eller’s pathbreaking study provides the first social history of the Restoration War, an uprising that ended the Spanish annexation of the Dominican Republic in 1865. In the first transnational study of the period, Eller highlights how Haitians and Dominicans found common cause in the struggle against racism and imperial aggression, and how the Dominican struggle against slavery and for sovereignty was a truly Caribbean affair." — Lauren Derby, coeditor of The Dominican Republic Reader


Availability: In stock
Price: $29.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Anne Eller is Assistant Professor of History at Yale University.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Timeline  ix

Acknowledgments  xv

Introduction. Roots and Branches of the Tree of Liberty  1

1. Life by Steam: The Dominican Republic's First Republic, 1844–1861  21

2. Soon It Will Be Mexico's Turn: Caribbean Empire and Dominican Annexation  59

3. The White Race Is Destined to Occupy This Island: Annexation and the Question of Free Labor  87

4. The Haitians or the Whites? Colonization and Resistance, 1861–1863  117

5. You Promised to Die of Hunger: Resistance, Slavery, and All-Out War  144

6. The Lava Spread Everywhere: Rural Revolution, the Provisional Government, and Haiti  178

7. Nothing Remains Anymore: The Last Days of Spanish Rule  207

Epilogue. Between Fear and Hope  229

Notes  237

Bibliography  335

Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing

Honorable Mention, 2017 Avant Garde Prize, presented by The Haitian Studies Association

Honorable Mention, 2017 Isis Duarte Book Prize, Haiti-Dominican Republic Section of the Latin American Studies Association

Winner, 2018 Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication, presented by the Humanities Advisory Committee at Yale University

Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-6237-1 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-6217-3
Publicity material