Acadian to Cajun: Transformation of a People, 1803-1877

Acadian to Cajun: Transformation of a People, 1803-1877

Acadian to Cajun: Transformation of a People, 1803-1877

Acadian to Cajun: Transformation of a People, 1803-1877

Synopsis

A study of unusual documentary resources that disclose the processes of cultural evolution that transformed the Acadians of early Louisiana into the Cajuns of today.

Excerpt

Because of the lingering influence of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Evangeline, students of Acadian history have been aware of the dispersal of Nova Scotia's Acadian population in 1755, the group's subsequent wanderings, and the reestablishment of one group of exiles in Louisiana's bayou country. The transformation of the exiles' transplanted culture in this new and radically different subtropical environment, however, has been largely overlooked by scholars of Acadiana. This work is the first to examine comprehensively the demographic growth, cultural evolution, and political involvement of Louisiana's large Acadian community during the nineteenth century.

The product of twelve years of intensive effort, this book was spawned by an interest in the Acadian involvement in the Civil War. It soon became apparent, however, that the Acadians' wartime experiences could be understood only from the vantage point of a much broader chronological perspective. The present study thus examines the evolution of three generations of Acadian society. Beginning with the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, when the transplanted culture began to take on a decidedly Louisiana character, the investigation extends to 1877, the end of Reconstruction in Louisiana, by which time ascriptive distinctions between Acadians and neighboring groups had become blurred, giving rise to the creation of a new people -- the Cajuns.

The latter development serves as a major watershed in the society's . . .

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