Michel Domingue was born in Les Cayes in 1813. He graduated from military training and became commander of army units in the Sud Department.
From May 8, 1868 to December 1869, he was president of the autonomous states of the south of Haiti. On June 11, 1874, General Domingue was elected for a term of eight years as president of Haiti.
Domingue, who was primarily a soldier, had neither the stature nor the tact of a statesman. He therefore issued a decree on September 10, 1874 appointing Septimus Rameau to manage public functions as the Vice-President of the Council of Secretaries of State. Septimus Rameau thus became the true ruler of Haiti. Rameau was dictatorial and domineering by nature, while Michel Domingue was more of a figurehead.
One of Domingue's first acts after his election to the presidency was the signing of an agreement with the Dominican Republic. The agreement established the countries' mutual recognition and in particular an end to the long and bloody border war between them. Septimus Rameau also led negotiations with the President of the Dominican Republic Ignacio María González. The Chief of Staff of President Domingue, General N. Léger, was sent to Santo Domingo to prepare a new agreement. Upon his return to Port-au-Prince on November 9, 1874, he was accompanied by Dominican negotiators to seal a treaty of friendship and an accord on trade and navigation. Haiti recognized and accepted the full independence of the Dominican Republic, and on January 20, 1875 the treaty of friendship was signed between the two countries.
Despite this success in international politics, Haiti's domestic financial situation was devastating. Domingue tried to negotiate a loan with France, which would strain Haitian finances for years. Finally, corruption and fraud were so great that Domingue issued a decree, dated May 15, 1875, for the arrest of Generals Brice and Pierre Monplaisir Pierre. His political opponent Pierre Théoma Boisrond-Canal criticized this financial policy and the loan. He took refuge at the embassy of the United States. Brice and Pierre Monplaisir Pierre were killed while Boisrond Canal and other opponents fled abroad. Septimus Rameau was accused of being responsible for the deaths of the two generals. He was himself assassinated on a street in Port-au-Prince.
Domingue resigned on April 15, 1876 and went into exile in Kingston, Jamaica, where he died a year later.
Domingue's surviving family still resides in Haiti and the United States, though their last name has changed.