The United States and Europe, 1815-1823: A Study in the Background of the Monroe Doctrine

By Edward Howland Tatum Jr. | Go to book overview

CHAPTER IV
French Policy and the United States

FRANCO-AMERICAN relations and the factors involved in their determination have already been touched upon. They may be grouped as moral, commercial, and political. The wide divergence of the political thought of the French government from that of America has been mentioned. There was almost nothing upon which they agreed, and there was much that produced the most determined opposition. This was recognized by keen thinkers on both sides, and there was a mutual desire to minimize its effect.1 Americans might differ from the French on many points of theory and yet be tolerably good friends in the realm of international diplomacy. However, the growing nationalism of each country and the need of France to recover the prestige which she had lost were to bring about uncertainty and apprehension and to make association with her quite difficult.

In the commercial field, French interests demanded rehabilitation and the creation of an independent economic system. Her financial situation and her international obligations made necessary the expansion of trade in a peaceful world. It must also be remembered that France looked upon the world from the point of view of a third-rate maritime Power. Facing her as a rival was the winner of the European war, the only first-class naval Power in the world, and the only great colonial Power. France must

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1
Hyde de Neuville to Richelieu, October 3, 1816. Hyde de Neuville, Mémoires et souvenirs, II, 263. Jefferson to Gallatin, April 11, 1816. Gallatin , Writings, I, 692.

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