France and the United States: Their Diplomatic Relations, 1789-1914

France and the United States: Their Diplomatic Relations, 1789-1914

France and the United States: Their Diplomatic Relations, 1789-1914

France and the United States: Their Diplomatic Relations, 1789-1914

Synopsis

In his discussion of political, economic, and ideological questions, Blumenthal emphasizes the period since 1870, and in his analysis of expansionism, colonialism, imperialism, and political strategy, he relates Franco-American diplomacy to the interactions of Great Britain, Russia, Germany, Japan, and other powers. This book is essential for an understanding of contemporary relations between France and America.

Originally published in 1959.

Excerpt

In the past, historians have written about limited aspects and periods of the diplomatic relations between France and the United States. Franco-American foreign affairs for the entire period from 1789 to 1914 have heretofore not been discussed in their total historical perspective. This is strange because France, after all, has been one of the most important countries with which the United States has maintained active and significant ties. It is doubtful that the United States could have won its independence without French assistance. Throughout the nineteenth century the two nations recognized the mutual benefits they derived from their cultural and commercial exchanges. Even in international questions involving the interests of France and the United States respectively they exercised considerable indirect influence on each other.

Throughout the century it was the stated policy of the United States to remain aloof from strictly European issues, as if it could operate in an international vacuum. In fact, not only was its own security related to the balance of power on the European continent, America's attitudes and policies with respect to major European developments usually reflected its awareness of the interdependence of the Old World and the New. Its Monroe Doctrine indirectly helped to channel Europe's expansion to other continents. As a matter of record, all major powers felt the economic and political impact of the United States especially from the later part of the nineteenth century on. Throughout the period under consideration, moreover, the accomplishments and shortcomings of the model republic were of conscious concern to European monarchists and republicans alike. At no time did the French people and their monarchical and republican governments lose sight of this major aspect of the age. The shadow of the United States seemed to be ever present on the European continent. America's policy of aloofness was thus more an impossibility than a failure. Various French attempts, on the other hand, to stop the territorial growth of the United States ended in . . .

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