French Refugee Life in the United States, 1790-1800: An American Chapter of the French Revolution

French Refugee Life in the United States, 1790-1800: An American Chapter of the French Revolution

French Refugee Life in the United States, 1790-1800: An American Chapter of the French Revolution

French Refugee Life in the United States, 1790-1800: An American Chapter of the French Revolution

Excerpt

The history of the New World has, at times in the past, been interpreted as something very different from that of the Old, and stress has been laid on the contrast in outlook, in social structure and political organization between the two. In our more closely knit society, deeper and more philosophical thinkers now point out the relation between the Old and New Worlds, emphasize the effect on America of European economic, political and social developments, and suggest that the New World has, in a sense, always been the frontier of the Old, as the unopened West was the American frontier throughout the nineteenth century. This phenomenon is amply illustrated by the waves of exiles that have rolled up on the shores of the New World in response to successive disturbances in the Old, from the politico-religious strife in seventeenth-century England and France, through the economic distress of nineteenth-century Ireland, to the religio-political problems of present day Germany. Some of the groups so arriving have been amply chronicled, their tradition upheld and their exploits honored. The more distinguished and influential the group, the more this has been true. Others have been inadequately portrayed. With one of the less well-known groups--those who came as a result of the French Revolution, the first political exiles welcomed by the United States--this study deals.

They have been called émigrés which means, technically, that they left France illegally; popularly, that they were aristocrats in exile for political reasons; in both cases too narrow a term to denote all the members of the group. For, contrary to public opinion, it did not consist only of a handful of titled gentlemen forced to earn a living by teaching French and dancing to the bourgeois society of the New World, but very truly of all sorts and conditions of men: Royalists, Republicans; Catholics, Masons; courtiers, artisans: priests and philosophers; slaves and freemen, who had . . .

Author Advanced search

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.