Marie-Madeleine Lachenais

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Marie-Madeleine Lachenais
Marie-Madeleine Lachenais.jpg
Marie-Madeleine Lachenais
Born Haiti 1778
Arcahaie, Haiti
Died 22 July 1843
Kingston, Jamaica
Other names Joute

Marie-Madeleine Lachenais, known as Joute (Arcahaie, Haiti 1778 – Kingston, Jamaica 22 July 1843), was a de facto Haitian politician. She was the mistress and political advisor of president Alexandre Sabès Pétion and president Jean-Pierre Boyer and exerted a significant influence over the affairs of state during their presidencies, for a period 36 years (1807–1843). She was called "The President of two Presidents" and regarded to have been the most politically powerful woman in the history of Haiti before the introduction of women suffrage.

Biography[edit]

Marie-Madeleine Lachenais was the daughter of Marie Thérèse Fabre and the French colonel de Lachenais. She had a relationship with Alexandre Petion, with whom she had two daughters, Celie and Hersilie. In 1807, Alexandre Petion became president, and she acted as his adviser. Petion appointed Jean-Pierre Boyer as his successor with her support.

After the instalment of Jean-Pierre Boyer in 1818, she functioned as mistress and political adviser to Boyer as well and had a daughter, Azema, with him. Her will affected the acts passed in parliament between 1818 and 1840. In 1838, she persuaded Boyer to remain as president when he contemplated to step down. She also revealed and prevented a planned coup, in which Faustin Soulouque was involved.

After the deposition of Boyer in 1843, Lachenais and her daughters, referred to as Boyers family, were escorted to a ship to follow Boyer in his exile to Jamaica. She and her daughters lived on a pension from Haiti, which were officially only granted to her daughter Cecile. Boyer are reported to have married her, or to have had plans to marry her, shortly before her death. She died shortly after her arrival in Jamaica.

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