The redistribution of government land which converted Haiti from a plantation economy to a peasant country was the outstanding exception to a pattern which was to crystallize during the nineteenth century. The dominant attitude of the Haitian governments towards the agricultural sector was to become one of non-intervention or, rather, passivity (except in matters of taxation). In the present chapter we will examine the historical evidence behind this contention, and begin an attempt (to be continued in Chapter 8) to trace the reasons behind the reluctance to initiate agricultural change.