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tv   French Influence on 1790s Philadelphia  CSPAN  April 17, 2016 12:30pm-12:51pm EDT

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hopkins university history professor talks about five aristocrats who fled the french revolution and the early 1790's and settled in philadelphia. we will hear about french influence on the then american capital and the relationships these men formed with political figures of the early republic. c-span's american history tv interviewed mr. furstenberg at the 2016 meeting of american historians in providence rhode island. this is about 15 minutes. your book focuses on five french aristocrats, who were they? these were upper-level aristocrats. they descended from the highest level of the french nobility. all of them are liberals who had participated in the early stages of the french revolution. until it became too radical and
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a sense for them and they were forced to flee the country. ,or the five that i focused on all who came to the united istes, the most famous today one who later became the french foreign minister under napoleon. he spent a couple years in the united states. he had been an archbishop in the french church and he was the person actually who proposed the nationalization of church land during the french revolution. duke whoigure was the was lafayette's brother-in-law. he had actually participated in the american revolution. he had fought alongside lafayette and washington. he had gone back to france to lead some of the noble reforms here it he in fact, provided -- presided over the constitution assembly on the night that it was formally abolished in france. he was a charming guy. he was a wonderful dancer. he was supposed to be marie antoinette dance partner.
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teach on the women. there was a travel writer, and intellectual, and he later became a senator in france. and onwritten on egypt the middle east. he became an influential thinker under napoleon. another duke, one of the wealthiest aristocrats and old regime france. he had massive landholders. he also participated in these reforms in the french revolution. he came to the u.s. and was sort of moody, sort of depressed. he wrote a lot. he went on these travels around the back countries. he wrote eight volumes on his travels. he kept a diary while in philadelphia, where he expresses his own sadness about being exiled from france and from his family. his wife was still in france. who was not someone
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an aristocrat actually, but he socialize with them and he had also been in the constituent assembly along with them. he came with his family. he was the only figure to come with his family. he opened a bookstore in philadelphia, which became a center of french social life and intellectual life in philadelphia. a kind of have of this french world that emerge in philadelphia in 1790. men know one another and come together, or did they come separately. another,ad known one they have been political allies, but came separately. they had different routes. one came to england. in fact, they had friends in england among the liberal nobility. they had planned to spend their time in england, but once t england and france went to work together, they were forced to flee to the united states. others came directly to united states. and once they came here, they
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knew they heard immediately about each other, and they had a social life together. of intimatehis sort community and french philadelphia, these aristocratic liberal refugees. >> about what time are they arriving in the united states? >> they came after war between france and britain started. so they came in 1792. 1792-1793. they spent those years, these incredibly turbulent years in the atlantic world. the french revolution is causing wars across europe. and the united states was in a state of major political turmoil over the response to the french revolution. parties in the saints, the jeffersonian party, which become the democratic party and what would eventually become the federalist party performing precisely in response to the french revolution. or how the u.s. should take a response.
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or just in terms of popular opinion, there's were strongly in support of the french revolution and those who were thengly in opposition to french revolution. the last major event that was continued into all the turmoil with the haitian revolution, which started in 1791 and was continuing in these years. this major uprising of slaves in the northern plantations, which eventually turned into a revolution. against slavery itself. thousands of french, white and colored fled into the united states. there were people pouring into that united states during these years of the 1790's. frenchsaid that the revolution had become too radical for these men. what was happening in the french revolution drove them away? why do you call them refugees? or did they see themselves that way?
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immigratedlly they that way. they were reactionary and wanted to reinstall the old regime. these were liberals. , i think of them as centrist. they are pro-revolution. they wanted to install a constitutional monarchy based on the english model. in many ways similar to the american model. a system of checks and balances. and so when the jacobins came to power, they were forced to flee. they would have been a prisoner executed. one frenchman had to flee under threat of imprisonment. another one's father was executed.
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so there were periods of violence against aristocrats, who were seen as counterrevolutionaries. visionnse, this centrist for a constitutional monarchy that they had wanted to implement had not held. the center had not held and the radicals had come to power and force them out of the country. so they immigrated. they would've been executed if they return to france. they've had actually been taken off of the list of official immigrants. when some of them left united states in the late 1790's, they return first to hamburg. once appointed to power, more and more emigres were welcome back to the company particularly these, because they weren't seen as the most reactionary kind. you refer to french philadelphia. was there a established
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community there? was there an established communitthere? >> there were thousands of people who fled haiti and settled in philadelphia during the 1790's peo. four people came directly from france. so this gave an entirely different aspect of the city . the city had mostly been an old quaker city with important anglican elements, but dominated by anglophone, german elements. all of a sudden you had this influx of thousands of french ,eople, catholic and colored with completely different traditions and completely different language, food, and culture, etc.. this represented somewhere around 10% of the population. philadelphia was a small place at this time.
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walk from one side of the other within 15 minutes. i think of it as like a really crowded college campus. all the sun, somewhere between roughly 5000 people arrived in philadelphia in this time. of theange the nature city. they open bakeries and bookshops, they printed newspapers. there were french silversmith. french artisans of all kinds. and then people catering to philadelphia's of the. all kinds of things. the city became a much more kozma talents lay said it has ever been. when you say white and colored, you mean black? >> in haiti there were generally considered to be three classes. there were whites, there were
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slaves of african defense and there were people of mixed race. there's were often free and not always, and they often have slaves th themselves. aristocrats, did they make any prominent connections in philadelphia? americans like george washington, for example? >> yet so philadelphia during this. was the capital of the united states. it was the major metropolis of the united states in this. period. came, there were well-known figures. hamilton became a good friend of these figures. hamilton would spend a long nights discussing politics and economics during this era.
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one was a close friend of jefferson. washington, they all admired washington, so they all looked up to washington. and in a sense as a kind of model of the leader that they had failed to become in france. this was the kind of vision that they had had for france. washington had to be careful, because he was the president, and these people had been chased out of france. the official french ambassador in philadelphia at this point looked at them with great suspicion. that they were fomenting counterrevolution in philadelphia. he did not want washington socializing with them are meeting with them. washington would pass a note with a message through his secretary. but he did not want to invite them to dinner, because he had to worry about diplomatic consequences. >> was there any lasting influence from the french on philadelphia? >> in many ways this incredibly
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rich and diverse community stayed that way after the 1790's. there was an important legacy that was left both on the city in terms of the cultural life of the city, but also in terms of a kinds of connections that were forged between these figures and wealthy americans. not thethem began socializing together, but collaborating in land deals and economic deals. funnelinge our way of european capital into the united states. so large amounts of money actually from the dutch and swiss investors, british investors, who they knew quite well from their own connections in europe began investing in the united states. land but do some major acquisitions in western new york, in maine, and ultimately,
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i talk about this in my book, the relationships ever force in philadelphia helped lead to the louisiana purchase. because they began to look west. some of them had traveled out west. and they began to look at this armer french territory as possibility for a new french empire. helped persuade napoleon that this was in fact a good idea. the financing of the louisiana purchase had happened to the and the same contacts that these people had been engaged in when buying land they laid thea lat groundwork for the louisiana purchase. so our five aristocrats and a back in france, why did they leave?
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>> they never really had the intention of staying here. came in different states of mind. one was really depressed. others came with a slight more interest in exploring the country in learning about it. but they all had intended to go back to france. , hisnly person he stayed father was executed and his wife was executed, he had sort of given up hope to return to france. i believe he was embittered. he was more connected with the philadelphia lee. he stayed until 1802. , when he went down to the caribbean and the attempt to reconquer haiti. and he died on that mission. he is the only one who never made it back to france.
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part ofthe tricky writing about people, because some of them you spent years researching and reading the papers and your child by them, and he was one of the major disappointments to me trying on his mission to put people back into slavery. dying on his mission to put people back into slavery. it was always a kind of funny thing for me because these people and a sense kind of along to french history. wherehey had this moment they were kind of appearing in american history, which is my field. and it helped me kind of think about american history and its connections between france, the caribbean, with other parts of the world. and to realize that the solidity of these kind of boundaries that we think of as much more fix, but to think about american a part of the larger
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french role. it is an interesting expiration for me. american history tv. >> i love american history tv. >> american history tv gives you that perspective. >> i'm a c-span fan. this weekend, the c-span cities tour hosted by our comcast cable partners takes you to tuscaloosa, alabama. the history and literary culture of this southern city which is home to the university of alabama. >> on american history tv we will visit the melville archaeological site and learn how the native american culture lived from about the 11th through the 15th centuries.
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>> welcome to mount the archaeological park. in its heyday, melville was the largest city north of mexico. and contains the remains of about 30 flat top mounds. andre standing at mound be this is the largest mound in alabama. it contains about 112,000 cubic yards of third and this would have been with a structure for the highest ranking clan would have been. thoughtly, scientists that the mounds were completely built by one basket load of dirt at a time, recent research indicates that the base of the mound, and possibly the sides of withwere initially built blocks which were then filled in with clay. this would give a lot more stability to the structure as they were building it. afterw that periodically the moundsville, it would be cap over with different colors of
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clay, so that if you sliced into the mound, it would resemble a layer cake. >> watch the c-span cities tour today at two p.m. eastern on american history tv on c-span3. tour, workingies with our cable affiliates and visiting cities across the country. you had a couple of meals and its shovel. -- mules and a shovel. the ironiess one of to be so antigovernment and oh your entire fortune to the government. on q&a, author and investigative journalist talks about her book "the profiteers" which takes a critical look at one of the largest engineering and construction companies. is the united states government going to get to build these throughout the world?
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it tok it is fine for be like that, but if the american taxpayers are paying for, then they should have some thess to information about contracts, the amount of money, the worker safety, the political relationship. >> tonight at eight eastern on c-span's q&a. secretary, we probably give 72 of our delegate votes to the next president of the united states. {applause}
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>> wheaton college history professor tracy mckenzie teaches the class on the evolving northern war aims during the civil war between unionism and emancipation. he describes how public support for emancipation. link andrgues that free election in presidential nomination were seen as unlikely because of the state of the war in 18. this class is about an hour. >> this morning we are really going to be more or less wrapping up that chronological overview of the war. moving at a very rapid pace. our focus today is going to be on the. much less from


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