tv French Influence on 1790s Philadelphia CSPAN April 24, 2016 3:35pm-4:01pm EDT
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history news. top andxt, john university history professor talks about five aristocrats who fled the french revolution in the 1790's and settled in philadelphia. french influence on the then american capital the relationship these men formed with political figures of the early republic. at the annualewed meeting of the organization of american historians in providence, rhode island. this is about 15 minutes. >> your book, when the united states over french, focuses on five french aristocrats. were upper-level aristocrats that ascended from the highest french nobility. all of them were liberals who participated in the early stages of the french revolution and
supported until it became too radical and they were forced to flee the country. all of them came to the united talleyrand became the french foreign minister under several regimes and spent a couple of years in the united states. he had been archbishop in the french church and he proposed the nationalization of church land. was left eye at's mother-in-law who participated in the american revolution. he fought alongside lafayette to had gone back to france lead some of the noble reforms and presided over the constituent assembly on the night feudalism was abolished in fresh -- in france. he was charming and said to be merry and 20 at's dance partner
and he charmed the women in total fear. that there was a travel writer and intellectual who later became a senator in france. he had written on egypt and the --dle east and became an became an influential figure under napoleon. there was one of the wealthiest aristocrats -- he had massive landholdings and had participated in these landholdings in the french revolution and he was sort of movie and depressed. he wrote a lot and traveled around the back countries and wrote eight volumes. he kept a diary where he expressed his own moodiness and sadness about being exiled from france and his family. last was not an aristocrat
but socialized with aristocrats and had been in a constituent assembly in the early stages of the french revolution. he opened the book store in philadelphia which became a center of french social and electrolyte in philadelphia, kind of a hub of this world that emerged. next to these men know one another or did they come separately? >> they had known one another and had been political allies. some of them came through england. amongt, they had friends the english nobility and planned to spend some time in england. once england and france went to war with each other, they had to chase them out of a were forced to free -- forced to flee to the united states.
heardhey came here, they immediately about each other and socialized together. they forged and intimate community in french village lcf comedies aristocratic refugees. what time are they arriving in the united states? >> they came after the war between france and britain, in 1792. they spent those years -- these were incredibly turbulent years in the world and the french revolution was causing wars across europe and the united states was in a state of mader -- of major political turmoil over the response of the french revolution. the jeffersonian party would become the democratic party, they were forming in response to the french revolution, should the united states take a
political response or diplomatic the last major event contributing to this turmoil was the haitian revolution which started in 1791 and was continuing in these years as a major uprising of slaves in the northern frontiers which turned into a revolution against the institution of slavery itself. in towere people pouring the united states during these middle years of the 1790's. >> you said the french revolution had become too radical for these men. happening in the french revolution drove them away mark did they see themselves that way?
ask technically, they were emigrating. during the time known as the terror when the party came to viewed -- some of them fred -- fled france immediately. they were opposed to it and reactionary and wanted to reinstall the old regime. these were liberals, so i think of them as centrist. they were pro-revolution and wanted a constitutional monarchy based on the english model and similar to the american model with checks and balances. when they came to power, they were forced to flee. they would have an imprisoned or executed. threat offlee under
imprisonment and his father was executed. so there were times of violence against the aristocrats who were seen as counterrevolutionary. in a sense, this centrist vision for a constitutional monarchy hadn't held and the radicals had come to power and force them out of the country. there was a list of emigres and had to be taken off before they could return to france. when some of them fled in the 1790's, they returned to hamburg and once napoleon came to power, more and more were welcome back into the country as they were not seen as the most reaction -- most reactionary. next you refer to french philadelphia. was there an established community there?
next yes. this was one of the most extreme anything -- to discover the wealth of the french community -- i don't mean the wealth in the sense of money, i mean diversity for top thousands of people settled in philadelphia during the 1790's. people came directly from france and this gave a different aspect to the city. the city had been an old quaker important anglican elements but dominated by anglophone and german elements. thisf the sudden, you had influx of french people, catholic, white and colored. with completely different traditions and food cultures. this represented somewhere around 10% of the population. the city was about 40,000 people
and densely compact. you could walk from one side to the other in 15 minutes. i think of it like a really crowded college campus. you recognize faces as you walk the street. roughly 5000 french people arrived during this time and would change the nature of the city, opening bakeries and printing french newspapers. there were french silversmiths and artisans all kinds. then people catering to the elite with dance instructors. became a much more cosmopolitan place than it had ever been. mean lack? haiti, therein were considered to be three classes.
there were whites, there were slaves of african descent and then people of color who were generally mixed and often free. often had slaves themselves and some of them were white wealthy. these aristocrats make any prominent connections in total fear? americans like george washington, for example? >> philadelphia was the capital of the united states. we sometimes forget that. and was a major metropolis when they came, the they were well-known years. cornwallis'sated surrender and new hamilton quite well in hamilton became a good friend of these figures and would spend long nights discussing politics and economics with them.
washington -- they all admired washington. they all looked up to washington as a kind of model of the leader they had failed to become an france. this was the kind of vision they had in mind. washington had to be careful because he was president of the united states in these people have been chased out of france. the french ambassador looked at them with great suspicion. he thought they were fomenting counterrevolution and so he did not want washington socializing or meeting with them. i came across a nowhere washington passed a message to the secretary of war but he did not want to invite them to dinner because he had to be careful about the diplomatic consequences. >> was there any lasting influence? what's that's a great restaurant.
communityand diverse stated after the 1790's. many of them went back to france and some of them went act to haiti to re-inaugurate their plantations. was anhink there important legacy left on the city in terms of the cultural life and in terms of the connections forged between these figures and wealthy americans. them began not just socializing together but collaborating in land deals and economic deals. they became a way of funneling european capital into the united states. large amounts of money from dutch and swiss investors who thesenew quite well and led to some major land acquisitions. book. about this in my
relationships forged in philadelphia helped to lead to the louisiana purchase. look out west and look at this former french territory as a possibility for a new french empire and they help to persuade napoleon that this was a good idea and the financing of the louisiana purchase happened through the same personal networks and contact that these people had been engaged in when they were buying land in the united states. they lay the groundwork for financing the louisiana purchase. there were some major legacies. theur five aristocrats and back in france. why did they leave?
>> they never really had the intention of staying. they understood themselves as frenchmen. depressedm was quite when he arrived and others came with an interest in exploring the country and learning about it, but they all go back to france. hisonly person who stayed, father and wife were executed and he seemed to have given up hope at that point. embittered ands connected with the philadelphia elite. he stayed until 1802 when he went down to the caribbean and participated in the attempt to conquer haiti and for the former slaves back into slavery in a desperate attempt to reconquer haiti and he died on admission. he's the only one who never made
it back to france. it's a sad coda to his life because this is the tricky part because some of them he spent years researching and writing and reading their paper were and you get charmed by them. disappointment, on this mission to put people back into slavery. all of them went back to france and some of them had distinguished careers. it was always a funny thing for me because these people along to french history and here, they had this moment where they were appearing in american history, which is my field and it helped me think about american history and its connection between withe, the caribbean, other parts of the world and realize the solidity of these boundaries that we think of as fixed, to think about american history as part of this larger french world is an interesting
exploration for me. >> thank you very much. >> interested in american history tv? visit our website and you can see our of coming schedule or watch a recent poll that watch a recent program. at c-span.org/history. touringr, c-span is cities across the country exploring american history. up next, a look at our recent visit to tuscaloosa, alabama. you are watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. we are at the murphy column house which houses the murphy african-american museum. it is a historic house. it gets its name from the two
owners. the murphys built the house and vivian colin bought the house from the murphys. this two-story, beautiful bungalow was by will murphy and his wife around 1923. as you know, the capital of alabama was here in tuscaloosa from 1826 through 1846. around 1923, the capital burned and that is when will murphy got material from the ruins of the capital to build this house. this particular area was the area where most of your professional african-americans lived. beautiful houses. where a district professional that had houses in this area had these white laced
curtains and it was called the lace curtain community. you probably notice in this house, all the windows are done with lace curtains. he would license african-americans and he was a business and. he had about four different businesses. mr. murphy was a businessman, but his wife had a career. back then, even if things were segregated, i think it was a very good living for them. and built a house in 1923 when he passed in 1943, his wife tried to hold down -- hold on to the house.
later, he sold the house to miss colin and she owned the house until the city audit in 1986. house in love with the and reading the material it was here and bringing in groups to tour the building, they get excited by the equipment we have here, the artifacts and exhibits and other items that we have. i didn't knowy you had all that information in there. one of the things we talk about his levy tuesday. one of the main things that happened during the civil rights movement in tuscaloosa, the first african baptist church at
was the, the pastor who main leader of the civil rights , theent here in tuscaloosa church is just across the street so we can look out the window and see the first african-american baptist church from here. on bloody tuesday, they had met and they were going to march to the courthouse to integrate the facility. had heard they were going to march and told them not to. but they told him they were still going to march. when the leader left to lead the group out of the church, they were confronted at the front of with tear gas and other weapons to make sure they
did not march. they went back into the church and tear gas was thrown into the church to make sure they stay there. they took the leaders to jail when they thought the ones inside the church were not going to march anyway because the leaders were put in jail, somelet them go home and had to go get medical attention because they were injured during the confrontation with the police. to clean up the mess, they were made to chase the tear gas and other debris. the windows were broken and they had to be replaced. tuesday, ind bloody
64, i was a member of the first african baptist church and i teaching, so i was a way that number in summer school. it was in the news and on the radio and tv and where i was in summer school, a lot of people wanted to know what was going on in alabama and what were they doing? did we have relatives and did they get hurt and so on about bloody tuesday. i -- dr. king came to first african baptist church. there was a lot that went on during that time. this the time of unrest
because people wanted to bring --ut changes and as a result that's one of the main things young people need to know -- the sacrifices made by the people before them in order for these changes to take place. >> our cities wars staff travel to tuscaloosa to learn about it rich history. learn more about the other stops on our tour at c-span.org/cities tour. you are watching american history tv all weekend, every weekend on c-span3. "q&a" the hit broadway musical hamilton based on the biography of alexander hamilton. as he said i was reading your and on vacation in mexico
as i was reading it, hip-hop songs started rising off the page and said hamilton's life is a classic hip-hop narrative. >> he had a world-class hip-hop knowledge on his hands. my first question to him was, ken hip-hop be the vehicle for telling this kind of very large and complex story. he said, i am going to educate you about hip-hop and he did on the spot, pointing out that hip-hop can pack more information than any form of music. he started talking about the fact that hip-hop not only has rhymesndians, internal and all of these different devices that are very ior