Though founded in the wake of a revolution that embodied its slave population's quest for freedom and equality, Haiti has endured a history marked by an unending pattern of repressive dictatorial regimes. Exploring that history, Robert Fatton offers a rigorous explanation of how and why the legacy of colonialism, the struggle against slavery, and the intersection of the domestic and world economies have contributed to both material scarcity in the country and the entrenchment of authoritarian rule. Fatton illuminates the culture of authoritarianism that, coupled with conditions of extreme underdevelopment, continues to undermine Haiti's recent struggle to establish a meaningful democracy. While offering some hope for the emergence of a more accountable political system, he underscores the profound difficulties of freeing Haitian society from the structural legacy of its long history of despotism. Fatton explores the historical legacy that has contributed to both material scarcity in Haiti and the entrenchment of authoritarian rule.