tv French Officers in the American Revolution CSPAN November 16, 2019 8:50pm-10:01pm EST
political cartoons of presidents sunday at 8 p.m. and midnight eastern. >> author christy pichichero talks about french officers in the american revolution. she argues that their expereinces influenced french politics and perspectives. the american revolution institute hosted this event. greetings, everyone. in ellen alan clark and i am the library director for the american revolution institute and it is my special pleasure to welcome you and to introduce our dr. christy pichichero.
she is the associate professor at george mason university. her talk this evening is being held in conjunction with our current exhibition -- revolutionary reflections -- french memories of the war for america, which is on view behind this fireplace. dr. pichichero will be discussing war and the enlightenment in the context of french experiences during the american revolution. many french officers of this ,ra, such as rochambeau consider themselves military philosophers who brought enlightenment and philosophical spirit to their enterprises. profounderiences had a
impact on their experiences and worldviews when they returned to france after the war. these themes are at the center of her book "military enlightenment: war and culture in the french empire from louis the 14th to napoleon." published by cornell university press in 2017. she has a bachelor of arts in comparative literature from musicton, a bachelor of from the eastman school of music, and a phd and french studies. she has been a member of the since 2011. faculty other honors and awards, the society of these
cincinnati's fellowship she received to support her research on the military enlightenment. program, which was established in 2007, provides support to bring up to six scholars annually to our library to conduct research. i invited her to lunch with her fellow fellows, all the rest of whom were graduate students in the throes of work on their doctoral dissertations. i have always remembered the wise advice the professor gave them. this is a wonderful time in your life. make sure you take time to enjoy it. please join me in welcoming dr. pichichero. [applause] dr. pichichero: good evening. thank you so much for being here this evening.
an enormous thank you to ellen, theelsey, to the staff of anderson house, to the revolution institute and the society of the cincinnati for joining me this great honor of inviting me to give you some information, some thoughts on the subject of the american revolution. tois a privilege to be here stand alongside george, who is almaing in front of my mater. it's a dream come true. thank you for sharing this with me. i began my remarks as one would expect -- in a talk with the american revolution and the french revolution in his title. i will begin by citing the french rider voltaire making fun
of the english. i bring us to chapter 23 of his famed philosophical tale "candide." in this particular chapter, voltaire wielded his sharp and sarcastic pen to critique the seven years war. the war have been going on for three years when candide was released to the public and it was a war that voltaire decried as being sublimely foolish. voltaire opened chapter 23 with -- economists protagonist with the protagonist candide and a dutch philosopher discussing the seven years war. first comes the famous line in which martin says the english and the french are equally ridiculous for engaging in this war over a few acres of snow in canada. quote, they spend
much more on the beautiful war than the whole of canada is worth. but perhaps more ridiculous was whichitish penal code they witness as they near the english shoreline. the coast was lined with crowds of people attentively watching a big man kneeling, his eyes bandaged. four soldiers were positioned opposite this man. each fired three bullets point fiscal point-blank into with all the tranquility in the world and the assembly dispersed. ?hat is all this what demon exercises his powers in this -- in these parts. then he said, who was the big man killed with so much
ceremony? he was an admiral, they responded. admiral?this because he did not kill a sufficient number of people. he gave battle to a french admiral and he was not near enough to him. but, said candide, the french admiral was as far from the english admiral as the latter was from him. >> that is indisputable, they seen as goodit is to kill an admiral from time to others.encourage the >> con deed was so overwhelmed and shocks he did not want to at foot on shore and made bargain with the dutch captain to convey him to venice without delay. this episode was based on a shocking true story. wasyears before "candide"
published, a british officer was sentenced to public execution by firing squad on board his ship the hms monarch. it was meted out to penalize him for losing the battle of majorca in 1756. it was decided he had exercised in excess of caution and shown an ability to adapt his traditionalist tactics to changing circumstances. advanced.cond line to gibraltar,d judging as a failure his failure and leaving the last british garrison on the island. the victory and the taking of mallorca were trumpeted near and far in the french press.
it was a triumph of symbolic stage ofe in the early the war end of strategic value, especially when the treaty of paris was devised and majorca was exchanged. in voltaire'sed the crueltyents, was far beyond battle. crimes were perpetrated not only by enemies, but the very states for which a military man had been willing to lay down his life in combat. i lingered on this textual example because it foreground several issues i will speak about this evening. is set in the seven years war. revenge, they say -- revenge,
they say, is a dish best served cold in the decade or so between the close of the seven years war and the initiation of french aid for the american cause allow the americans to hit that at england to rebalance the system of global imperial power. notnd, the humiliating loss only fueled, in part, the french engagement in the french of -- revolution, but it contributed national prejudice in france. between the wars of louis 14th and the french revolution, france experienced a dramatic military decline that stunned not just the armed forces, but the entire nation. important political aims were met, but france suffered military defeats all over europe
as they march to their armies toward paris, successfully defeating the french. of victories,dful of bungling and ineffectiveness severely hampered french performance. french naval power was virtually annihilated and armed forces endured tremendous losses and americas,dia, and the losing nearly all of its strongholds overseas. andthe largest, wealthiest, most populous country in europe, these losses were seen as no .ess than a national disaster losing this war was not just an exacerbating force, but a
force and what we call the military enlightenment. the world of the french enlightenment met and conjoined with the military sphere in many -- very ways. leave this did not at condemning the seven years war. in the french military enlightenment. intellectuals were deeply involved in thinking about military policy from practical perspectives. instead of simply condemning
war, they fostered reforms that could redeem rance's marshall and national crisis and alleviate, to some extent, the multifarious brutalities of war. understanding this context in france is critical for interpreting the writings of french officers in the american revolution. this brings me to my third and includingon for chapter 23 in "candide." one of the french military officers present recorded details of the campaign in his memoirs and offered this officer is none other than rochambeau. many scholars and enthusiasts are accustomed to reading the abbreviated version of his memoirs, relative to the independence of the united 1838., published in
but this is a small section, only 100 pages, of a 400-page memoir. he records details and personal impressions of his entire military career which spanned more than 50 years. he chronicles his experiences of the war of austrian -- succession and the french revolutionary wars. these wars brought him to different parts of the war -- world from the mediterranean to flanders, to yorktown. mention of a few other french officers. i will argue that these should be seen in connection with military enlightenment in the era of global warfare. in thinking about the subject of
the exhibition here, revolutionary exceptions, we are encouraged to contemplate french experiences from multiple perspectives in time. there is a sense of the present in the first-hand, phenomenological experience that french officers recorded in their memoirs, but in righting memoirs, there is looking backward into the past, to recollect these experiences, whether it be hours, days, or years later. his memoirs were published in 1808 and it's likely he wrote them after his military career came to a close. some memory and reimagining have a role here. we are also encouraged to take this as a point of departure and hypothesize to
their influence on france in the time that followed. the latter line of inquiry had been of particular interest to pursuing ideals like fromty and natural rights the american to the french revolution. scholars analyzing the american, french, and haitian revolution is together, there's a wonderful readytium that is getting to celebrate its anniversary in 2020 and is entirely dedicated to studying this history in a global context. examining rochambeau's memoirs in their entirety, unsettled and nuanced many of my assumptions about the heroes of the american revolution. about the camaraderie, the
frenchthrough which officers viewed american culture and what mattered to these officers that they may not have expect did. one of my favorite anecdote in his memoirs regards our dear friends lafayette, -- our dear friend lafayette, who transformed himself from a fish out ofwkward water to a champion of the american revolution. we know him as a darling of george washington. perhaps the first americana file americanophile. rubbed elbows with the jeffersons and others at
lafayette's american dinners where english was the language of choice for conversation and evening entertainment was offered by his own children. even the invitations to the us were printedoirees in english. they were intended to be authentic and succeeded, as even the puritanical abigail man -- abigail adams felt at home. but lafayette's enthusiasm for the american cause created issues, notably in communications between washington and rochambeau. since there was a language barrier, the latter decided he me withnd lafayette to full powers from him. during the protracted time of
with the british forces mobilizing in new york and long island, lafayette came to speak about possible ways forward. rochambeau recalls -- i assume lafayette -- as soon as lafayette returned to washington's headquarters, he wrote me the most depressing dispatches and urging me to join him immediately, to attempt an of newon the island york. he finished with a species of summons, implying the campaign was the last effort of his, washington's patriotism. by the same career, i received letters from general washington himself, and not a single sentence a leave it to the plans ofproblem --
lafayette. rochambeau ascertained that lafayette was perhaps more than washington anxious to strike a decisive blow by attacking the center of the enemy position. rochambeau wrote back to laugh he is in french and to explain his perspective on why this thatk was ill advised and all communications between him and washington be direct and not without the interference of a third person. lafayette's enthusiasm for america to go a little too far sometimes. if you think back to his home in paris that is filled with and littlem america george washington singing songs in english, you could think a
lot of french would think it was a little much. but lafayette immediately defended his deal, saying washington for gave this as well, often referring to the youthful ardor of his friend to sentimentshington's with greater energy. he interrupts what could be a rather dry narrative of events impressions are some of the most interesting part of his writings and have not received attention. understandingo the cultural lens through which many officers interpreted their experiences during the american revolution. take for example a digression that occurs at the end of the u.s. war for independence.
for simple remarks, i have never mentioned the multitude of addresses the towns and assemblies general of the different states of america presented to the general, and all of which were expressive of their feelings of sincere gratitude toward france. some also expressed wishes for the success of future operations. others for the army. i will only speak of one of these on account of its eccentricity. i added the asterisk. that word is a problem. it's a translator's liberty. continue. ancient and of the society of friends in philadelphia, the quakers, a costed me. general, explained the eldest of not on accounts of your military abilities. -- we care not for
your accomplishments. but you are one of mankind and therefore we have come to pay our respects to thee. the expressions of praise and gratitude, why did this one -- why was this one the one that rochambeau chose to memorialize in his writings? it was not because of his eccentricity. that word was added by the translator. reflectause these marks a system of values and warfare. they are reflective of what is called the military enlightenment's. the military enlightenment, as i mentioned, was born of the marshall crisis that plagued the experiences
of the first global wars. the light meant is perhaps best understood as a development by -- here i quote dan edelstein. "the present age was enlightens because the philosophical spirit of the scientific revolution had spread to the educated classes." participants saw themselves as actors in the history of progress and they shared thatntion -- conviction warfare needed to be improved. agents of the military enlightenment applied a
philosophical spirit, what the tonch called a philosophy, acquire a deeper understanding of war and the military and to propose and implement military force. it was in part philosophical, contemplating war and its conduct. ideal characteristics. the relationship between war and citizenship. and the consequence of war in moral, physical, and emotional turf. it was also practical and technical. military, aiming to achieve tactics, drill, and medicine. these dialogues and debates not bound by the chambers in versailles, nor where they confined to the army, the navy,
and their administration's. they engaged a far greater public. the publicear, intellectuals of the day, the poets,theorists, historians, doctors, mathematicians, and more. ofy were vital for members the aristocracy, whose justification of socio-economic franceoeconomic folk of shelteredf to war and -- the wars were arenas of national concern. the military enlightenment was part of a broader phenomena in
of enlightenment, engaging in the same narrative and embracing warosophy to make reflective of a new age. philosophically and politically, participants wrought a wide perspectives. some are atheists. some were deists. universalioned principles, while others acknowledged human fallibility, confronting infinite contingency. some advocated for classical republicanism while others were unabashed royalists. emerged,rching project one that entails a bipartite ambition. was to achieve
marshall objectives while sparing costs and precious resources, especially manpower. the second was to wage war humanely. anduding the rationality dignity of the human race. french military officers of all ranks saw themselves as leaders in the environment -- in the light meant and they are filled .ith memoranda and letters many of them were considered military philosophers who were dedicated to truth and the morality of making good war. rationality and
innate empathy to conduct more inhumane fashion and build bonds with comrades. war, its sentiment, and lexicon, subtle feeling, as adam smith represented a departure traditional themes. they were the development of this time in history. declaredhambeau never himself a military philosopher, is understanding as an agent of military enlightenment is clear. he opened his memoirs with a declaration to devotion ruling the truth and only the truth. he wrote -- and this is my truth must be the
the basis of history. i can only write what i saw or heard of. i preferred to be quiet rather than to risk violating this , from which one must never stray. an attachment to the moral values of waging war humanely as a friend of humankind. it is for this reason, i cherished hishe story of the quaker above all others and only recorded this conversation in his memoirs. recall thatant to military officers were among the most prolific world travelers during this time during -- due to the wars of empire. france had dispatched
missionaries and scientific teams, colonized lands on six of seven continents, excluding had sailed six oceans. active in west africa, sugar plantations in the caribbean, fisheries and for trade post in the american collies, in the indian subcontinent, and china. in this time of mercantilism, they sanctioned monopolies for private companies and works to position ine's world trade. premier location in
the world. they were keenly focused on colonizing the french part of protecting the human and material cargo transported from thegoing to and island. nabel, see, and land unit as well as metropolitan regular deployed. were their task was to patrol and protect french interest, -- process referred to as colonization, and aid the military, when trade routes became the pathways and locale of warfare. empire and direct -- and diaspora shaped the careers of military men in multiple ways.
some had commissions in the army and the navy and participated in , to theacross the globe caribbean and north america and the caribbean and revolutionary war. they occupied a number of important positions. they were governors general, diplomats, cartographers. and they relayed valuable information about lands, leaders, cultures, and the military. logs,ad navigational memoirs. also essays on learned subjects. the cultures of different indigenous groups. it was a source of inspiration
and challenge for the different philosophers of the 18th century. and embracedpted local ways of war. they coupled with native women, depended on native medical practices and traded their rations for moccasins. they scalped enemies and were scalped themselves. oceans away, they trained and led forces of indian mercenaries alliances up tenuous with local authorities. they collaborated with african princes in senegal to ensure a supply of enslaved people all and the security of french slave trading posts and ships. such experiences could not but
transform these men, confirming or do stereotypes about ethnic others and the place of european culture in society. like their counterparts who never left europe, they recorded observations, wrote recommendations, and authored treatises on the peoples with whom they interacted. while a plethora of cultural this understandings to place, published works in manuscripts conveyed the system logical legitimacy they exercised as explorers and inhabitants -- albeit, at times temporary -- of these worlds. many of them saw themselves as purveyors of enlightenment. i am currently engaged in a digital humanities project that is revealing the prevalence of military intellectuals and
certain parisian salons and different french academies, a testament to their centrality during this time. consumed avidly by military and civilian leadership's. all of this helps us find an answer to the most basic question we seldom ask -- why did they write these memoirs in the first place? contextualizing is critical to our understanding of why and what they wrote. let us turn again to the letter. letters rochambeau wrote, those of 40 men are -- i will notbly test you on these things
afterward. sean baptiste, and therein close in. the memoirs and letters have been assembled from rochambeau and others. revealocuments not only details of rochambeau's campaigns, but show how these french warrior authors communicated their ideas that to their homeland. officers debated on the appearance, worries, and fighting capacities of their allies and to positions on the practice of slavery. some condemned it. while others encouraged using enslaved people as domestic servants.
here i'm quoting racial terminology of the time which is now unacceptable. often leads a half your life and is more better nourished than the poor need grows and melodic as -- negros and mulattos." interested,e most however, and americans of european descent, though they tended to snob their counterparts. aristocrats,re while many officers were of the humble class of innkeepers. rochambeau relayed an anecdote on the subject. a good american villager asked him -- a good american villager
asked, of what trade was his father in france? my father, he replied, does nothing. typical aristocrats. but i have an uncle who is a martial. very good, said the american. that's a very good trade. airlines alsocan .epresented a political danger well many were enthusiastic about the american fight for freedom, many were nervous about fervor the fires of an -- strict anti-france -- .arnation laws were implemented officers seemingly avoided one another as well. sees aarked, one never
french officer with an american one. we had a strong understanding the tween us, but we did not live together. this, i think, is the best thing that could have happened to us, their character being so -- "hardly five of every 100 were not noble, and outside of sharing in military service, they had very little in common with their american homologs, who were often cobblers, butchers, and, most often, innkeepers." french officers felt far more cultural affinity with enemy officers. rochambeau and lausanne invited high-ranking officers to dine with them in their camp. to lordau lent money charles cornwallis so that he could cover is immediate expenses -- his immediate expenses, which he probably reimbursed, along with a gift of
cheese and wine. cornwallis knew how to please a frenchman, but not how to win a war. journal writers within the french forces noted the grandiose sociable gestures made by the french toward the british and fashion officers at yorktown, which made -- and hessian officers at yorktown, which made american officers quite jealous. they passed judgment on the unenlightened and downright grotesque behavior of these foreign gentleman as well -- gentlemen as well. he was appalled at atrocities perpetrated in jamestown. he recounted with horror the vision of a young, pregnant american woman whose body had been mutilated and eviscerated, then hung on the door with her hanging from her hollow womb with a sign that no longerned rebel,
shall you give birth." kinder hospitality and maurice could be foundes between generals and the cities like met in boston and newport. there were some american mores that french officers could not fathom. a number of officers marveled at the practice of bundling, which allowed young couples, engaged to be married or unengaged, to spend hours or even entire night alone together in a bedroom. there, they were to remain but could --osed clothed, but could kiss and "devote themselves to tender caresses, excepting those that only marriage has a right to permit." he concluded, is
really only for americans. and prejudices that fueled anti-fraternization would not be the last thing character of social relations between french and american officers. when the war of independence drew to a close, general entering a suggest of the formation of a society that would permit the officers of -- a general suggested the formation of a society that would permit the officers -- in mayiety, was founded , and was named for lucius quintus cincinnatus, who left his farm to become roman council dictator.ime , he returned lawful patent -- once these have been settled, he returned to -- george washington became the
society's first president. officially, the first chapter was limited to american army and navy officers who had served a minimum of three years. still, society members sought to make a gesture of gratitude and to forge an enduring bond of friendship with their french counterparts and therefore invited high-ranking officers to join the society as well. rochambeau, lafayette, and another were among 14 french founding members of the society. a french branch was founded in december 1783. here we have a document located here at the society, in our archives, that shows the first list that was compiled in january 1784 of the french society. memoirs revealed that friendship between french officers and american officers had not necessarily been common during the war itself. however, the image and dream of society ofthat the
cincinnati promulgated still characterizes the alliance between france and united states to this day. i'd like to conclude my remarks today with a few thoughts on why it matters to read french memoirs on the war for america through the lens of the military enlightenment. first this perspective allows us to view the memoirs and their authors in a new light. we can see these french officers as they saw themselves, as important agents in the pursuit of enlightening war, who aspired --embody alignment enlightenment, intellectuals and, cosmopolitanism, and morality in an age of global warfare. this perspective also draws attention to different parts of the memoirs and brings into relief issues that french officers thought to be important. new influence can emerge from such queries.
the questionthe question of atts towards slavery is one area to which i had a privilege of focusing while i was here a s -- as a fellow. certain metropolitan french officers exhibited the limits of their many during the american revolutionary war, as they did not so much as bat an eye i slavery, as i mentioned. in newport, rochambeau and others purchased dme -- domestic servants. at yorktown, "any gross who were not reclaimed by the masters found -- then the gross -- "the negroes who were not reclaimed by their masters" -- of us who didn't have a servant were very happy to find one and for sochi." -- and for so cheap." yet fighting alongside free men of color was an experience that market some officers -- marked
some officers profoundly. bothcan and british forces employed africans in their armies. american forces employed a greater number of african-americans, such that they composed about 1/4 of the troops. there were black and mixed-race soldiers who fight valiantly alongside metropolitan french forces, build their service theired in -- though service resulted in death or forced military service. membership ofthe the society of the friend of , founded in 1788 in france, under the leadership of -- sheds light on to this question. the society had 95 founding
members, of whom between 1/5 and 1/4 were military officers of the army or navy. of these military men 1/3 had fought in the american revolutionary war and were members of the society of the cincinnati. fought and witnessed the courage of the volunteers and other men of color at engagements such as the siege of savannah of 1779. he later became the naval minister during the directory. as well as to establish a school near paris for black and mixed-race children. he also became the most courageous and vehement voice in favor of maintaining the policy of abolition when napoleon wanted to reinstate slavery in 1802. he combated napoleon's unindicted racism -- unabashed
racism, to no avail. reading the memoirs by french officers in light of the military enlightenment also allows us to have a more nuanced and complete picture of the foreignness and clumsiness of the earliest days of french and american allegiance. this image, which you may have seen on the website, advertising this talk, is a marvelous example. closer view.ou a here we have a stone inscription , america and the seas, we thank you for their freedom. up here we have the gallic rooster and the fleur-de-lis. then we have the best of louis louis xvi. bust of
washington is spelled "wagging ston" on this document.if you think this is an outlier, there are documents where washington's name is spelled waggingston. maybe it's the french pronunciation. we have this very interesting , subduinght here england, which is represented by the lion in the corner. he is quite pale and androgynous with long flowing light brown hair and is donning not just the expected icons of liberty, but also an animal skin and a multicolored plumed headdress and skirting or belt somewhat reminiscent, albeit in a fantastical way, of medical --
of native american ceremonial guard. -- garb. i'm endlessly amused by this smage with its infelicitou spelling of washington's name. in some ways, it reflects who we are today. a strange, colorful, beautiful -- beautiful,"i become this text says. a strange, colorful, beautiful conglomeration of different cultures and people seeking to right the wrongs of history, to conquer oppression, to establish our rights, and to live in freedom. this image and perhaps inspire us, since we are inheritors of this same struggle, which continues today in our country. we must pursue the fight together of seeking liberty and justice, not just for the few, but for all. thank you.
[applause] >> hello. professor, thank you for that wonderful top. thank you -- talk. thank you for emphasizing the role of slavery. i think that's an important point. i would like to ask you if you have any sort of thoughts on how slavery sits or doesn't sit in the wider narrative of the military enlightenment. isn't the underside of the military enlightenment -- is it the underside of the military enlightenment?
in particular, i'm thinking of the example of haiti, which is relevant to this time. back both for france and the u.s. -- this time period both for france and the u.s., because when the haitian revolution happens, the french attempt to it.h it -- crush the fighting that happens in haiti is incredibly brutal. the americans are terrified because the united states at this time depends on an economy of slavery and his friend of the idea of a giant black revolution in doing that -- and is frightened of the idea of a giant black revolution undoing t hat. i want to know more about how you see that example fitting or not fitting into this narrative. >> thank you so much for that question. you kind of indicated it. there's two sides to this coin
happening at the same time. it's true for a lot of different groups. while for example, as part of the military enlightenment, much more care is given to the common soldier for the common soldier's health and hygiene and also for a type of democratization of heroism, to start recognizing the heroism of these individuals . there are really interesting stories of how in masonic lodges , common soldiers who came to fight in the american revolutions were brought back to france and then celebrated in these very elaborate ceremonies in the lodges, in freemason lodges. so there is this part of celebrating the subaltern. side, at any moment, anyone can ignore this and commit atrocities. many times those atrocities go unpunished. certain groups never really
receive respect. that example that i gave of the american woman and this horrible torture that she succumbed and this grotesque example, being flouted for all to see -- women were a part of society who not absolutely sort of included in this, maybe just rarely at the beginning -- barely at the beginning of the french revolution. one can imagine with the question of slavery, how central it is to france's power at the time, -- wasleon's own life -- wife, critically involved in the slave trade. there are many people who are
sort of un critical about slavery or who support it and who, gate all -- who promulgate the birth of pseudoscientific racism. at this moment when it can be operationalized in some way to justify the continuation of slavery. arewould have officers who absolutely involved in this and who confirm all of the negative developing stereotypes about people of african descent and why they should continue to be enslaved. on the ground, people had to work together.
the spanish conquistador model of going and conquering other people and forcing their way was often not what really happened. to understanded other cultures and people in order to collaborate with them. also, there is a sense of growing respect for these different people. they enjoy dancing like we do. there's this whole other piece of the population on military enlightenment, who are more supportive of a generous stance, of a stance that goes to war the .uality there are interesting writings in the archives where, for example, one of the officers who
served in sentiment -- in haiti wrote harangues. he said free people of color, you should stand up. you have strength. you have a culture. to be ato invite you part of what we do in the military. one can be skeptical and say they are just looking for manpower, but this is one of the difficult questions, studying the history of emotion. it's easy to always be cynical. everything they did and said was just to get people to serve. they just needed manpower. on the other hand, it's very near in narrative about people who the french officers would see as ethnic others and about common soldiers, who they also saw as different from themselves , almost a different species, where there is sincere attachment and respect and
desire to uplift these people. it's a really -- it's an issue that has two size that are really developed -- sides that are really developed. it's something i talk about in my book, and it's fueling some of my work for my next project. keep looking for my work out there. thank you for that question. >> [inaudible] oftribution and the constant -- lieutenants a young in the campaign. later on, he became napoleon's chief of staff. as a logistical genius, he was responsible for many of napoleon's victories. napoleon used to issue the battle plan. he would translate that into an action plan. he made a contribution to french history, military success, so
on. i think he was mentioned in rochambeau's memoir. could you please comment on that? >> thank you so much for that. it may well be that you will -- no more about this individual -- that you know more about this individual that i do. it sounds like this is somebody who's life you have studied. i look forward to hearing more about what you know about this person's trajectory. indeed, one of the tactical geniuses and one of these officers whose career spanned ap or mac -- spanned a period that seemed unlikely in some way. how could you be a revolutionary serving in the american revolution and then be an officer serving a dictatorship? it's very interesting about the careers of these military men.
to think about who was able to survive the guillotine, who survived the french revolution, what were the narratives that were deployed in in order to help them survive, and also some luck, in many cases. people who were jailed were able to get out. robespierre himself was routed just in time for many of these people to survive. this was really critical, both for the french revolution and for the napoleonic era. the military experience of someone like berthier and other officers who survived was central to the initial successes of napoleon's campaign. losing these officers would have been a tremendous, tremendous strain -- drain and casualty for the french military. >> [inaudible] >> yes.
>> you had that slide of their where you list the -- of their where you list the ideas -- that slide up there where you list the ideas that characterize the military enlightenment. what proportion of the officers subscribed more or less to this? was this some isolated of culture -- subculture? could you talk about that and it, p -- that a bit, please? >> thank you so much. i'm trying to get back to that slide. the french armed forces at the officers,e very top generals, and often times kernels -- colonels are also the ,ost powerful grandees
aristocratic families, of franc e. they are sitting in the salons in paris and also participating in these conversations at versailles. these people are very well read. hasr historians, ira conducted the study and work here at the library of the society of the cincinnati -- to show what were the reading lists, the common readings that officers engaged in for pleasure, but also to inform themselves in preparation for fighting these battles all over the planet. leaguere's definitely a segment of the population -- an elite segment of the population that is reading were so -- ro usseau and using the vocabulary of moral philosophy.
was interesting in the archive -- what is interesting in the archive especially is where you see some middling officers who are maybe less powerful, who did not have as much money, and were likely sitting -- not sitting in those fancy parisian salons. they had a lot of the same discourse in what they were writing. see if this is going to be my slide. maybe this one. so, this was a shocking and interesting discovery, to imagine a sort of trickle-down effect. these gentlemen maybe had a less expensive education than the higher officials and the higher officers. they also came from the provinces rather than paris. i think that there is -- it's part of what made me write this book. i said something is happening in the french armed forces.
this is part of the language of talking about war and talking about military reform. >> would you hypothesize those middling officers who were not in those salons -- are they getting that at the officers' mess? over brandy or whatever it is they drink at the end of the ?eal >> yes, it happens in a lot of places. how is it happening logistically that this type of discourse and the way of thinking is permeating through the french army, at least the officer core, to a certain extent. it is people having casual conversations in cafés, in freemason lodges. this is a very important aspect of how the military enlightenment is happening, freemasonry. ofy lodges -- the spread
freemasonry in france was in large part thanks to the french military. they established masonic lodges in many of the different towns where they stayed temporarily and set of barracks -- set up their experience they would establish a military logic and the lodge would stay and become populated by local people. ,eople were definitely reading corresponding. there were all these different mechanisms by which this information was permeating. that's where this question of sociability is really key. this is an age of sociability. this is an age where sitting down and speaking to one another -- it's not the age of the iphone, where we do not speak to one another. this was an age that really cared deeply about discussion, about dialogue, and about debate. the sorture was key to of blossoming of the military
enlightenment. thanks for that question. >> thank you for a wonderful talk this evening. she will be at the rear of the ballroom signing books. please join us for refreshments in the winter garden. if you haven't had a chance to see the exhibition, you are invited to do so. thank you, again. >> thank you so much. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> this is american history tv on c-span3, where each weekend we feature 48 hours of friends exploring our nation's past.
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manned mission to land on the moon. next, a documentary telling the story of the mission, beginning with a lightning strike to the launch vehicle 26 -- 36 seconds after liftoff. ♪ 1967, surveyor three landed on the moon, in a crater of oceana's -- of the ocean of storms. with surveyor's electronic eye, we viewed the lunar surface. with its mechanical arm, we dug a small, shallow trench in the lunar soil. 1969, 31ovember 14, months after surveyor's landing, men we