Alexis Beaubrun Ardouin (1796–1865) was a Haitian historian and politician. He is best remembered for his eleven-volume Etudes sur l'Histoire d'Haïti (Studies on the History of Haiti), published in the 1850s and 60s. His Etudes have served as a valuable resource for later historians. Beaubrun Ardouin also wrote the first Haitian textbook, Géographie de l'Ile d'Haïti (Geography of the Island of Haiti) and Instruction sur le Jury.
Ardouin's historical writing attempted to put the Haitian Revolution in the context of other nationalist revolutions in the Americas. He was a man of Euro-African ancestry, from a family that was free before the revolution. He has been criticized by 20th-century scholars for championing free people of color as the leaders both of the revolution and of post-independence Haiti. The historian Thomas Madiou, who sought to repair the reputation of the great black heroes of the Haitian revolution, especially Toussaint Louverture, and to portray the revolution as a successful slave uprising instead of as a national independence movement, is often cited as Ardouin's intellectual opponent. Historian and writer Hénock Trouillot describes the conflict between nineteenth-century Haitian historians in more complex terms in his biography of Ardouin, claiming that Ardouin lacked historical resources to assess the significance of Louverture. Trouillot also describes Ardouin's intense involvement in Haitian politics in the 1840s and his exile to Paris. While in Paris, Ardouin was responsible for editing and publishing Emeric Bergeaud's novel Stella with Dentu in 1859, one year after Bergeaud's death. The novel is widely known as Haiti's first and portrays the Haitian Revolution as a movement demonstrating the unity of Haitian citizens and the importance of the formation of Haiti as an antislavery state.
Growing up during the revolutionary period, Beaubrun Ardouin was not able to attend school regularly; he was self-taught. He had a strong interest in French literature, especially the works of Voltaire, Montesquieu, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Ardouin's brothers, Céligny and Coriolan, were also well-known; Céligny as a politician and historian, Coriolan as a poet. The three Ardouin brothers, along with the Nau brothers, Emile and Ignace, were members of the literary society "The School of 1836," which was founded by Ignace Nau. Coriolan died young in 1836, while Céligny ran afoul of Faustin-Élie Soulouque's government and was executed in 1849. Beaubrun published Céligny's Essais sur l'Histoire d'Haïti (English: Essays on the History of Haiti) in 1865, just before his own death.
- The first volume is available at this link: http://gallica.bnf.fr/ark:/12148/bpt6k828725
- See the work for David Nicchols and Colin Dayan on this debate among nineteenth-century Haitian historians.
- Beaubrun Ardouin, Hénock Trouillot, 1950. https://books.google.com/books?id=UdU6MwEACAAJ&dq=h%C3%A9nock+trouillot+ardouin&hl=en&sa=X&ei=wt5WU9i_KsjPsASmkYDYBA&ved=0CCsQ6AEwAA
- Emeric Bergeaud, Stella, Paris: Dentu, 1859. A digitized version of its 2nd edition is located here: http://www.dloc.com/UF00089373/00001?search=stella. A translated critical edition is forthcoming with NYU Press, edited and translated by Lesley S. Curtis and Christen Mucher.