Francois Duvalier
By: Dan Johnson

1) Profile: Francois Duvalier (Papa Doc)

Francois Duvalier grew up in the middle class with his parents and believed that his African people's traditions should be preserved and protected from the Europeans. Duvalier graduated from the Haitian National Medical School in 1934 and was dubbed the nickname "Papa Doc" for this reason. Papa Doc's campaign started with support from the countryside and his views to rebuild the country with a new beginning. He then won the election and was one of the most honest campaign's in Haiti's history. His former candidates refused to take orders from him and listen to him so the government was burdened with many problems. From this, Duvalier created a secret society of "loyal" soldiers to search for and kill anyone who was deemed as an opponent to him. The downfall of Duvalier began and was only more deeply hurt when he rigged the election of 1961 to put him in office for another 6 years. From this the population of Haiti thought that they could not win so he became the president for life until he was succeeded by his son, "Baby Doc". Many were able to forgive Papa Doc for his wrong doings and he began to improve the country after he became president for life resulting in being a successful leader for the developing Haiti.

2) Audio/Visual/Artistic Element

  • Papa Doc in this video is shown as a strongly opinionated man who always has a response or put back for every question. He never lets any piece of information go unnoticed and when he is being interviewed one on one by a news reporter, he speaks slowly and firmly to show effectiveness in his words and makes it seem like he always knows what he is saying. Another interesting fact about him the video is how he always carried a tommy gun with him and a pocket full of money when he was walking through common streets. This shows that he was not scared of anyone and could defend himself while still believing in what he wanted and thought true.

3) Creative Piece

Duvalier Poem:

Francois Duvalier was born into the middle class,

It started off so innocent but took a turn for the mass,

of people he had affected by turning the election upside down,

but was able to be forgiven after he showed a frown,

He became president for life and began to improve the country,

and was able to forget what he had done to bounty the country.

4) Essential Question

Duvalier was accused and guilty of many wrong doings in his career in office, but why did the country of Haiti forgive him so easily?