October 30, 2004


I clicked on the namelink of an amusing comment on a post by Rand Simberg, which led to Alan K Henderson's blog, where I learned of an interview with, John J. Miller, the co-author of Our Oldest Enemy: A History of America's Disastrous Relationship with France.

The interview fit right in with a book I've been reading, Anglophobia in France, 1763-1789; an essay in the history of constitutionalism and nationalism, by Frances Dorothy Acomb. I happened upon the book while searching the Milwaukee Library Countycat for something else entirely, and thought it would be at least interesting, and possibly even relevent. Is it ever.

Note that the book is full of footnotes and translations which I have not confirmed, I didn't even look at the French quotations to see if the tranlated versions looked valid, so all assertions are being conveyed on the basis that I'm inclined to agree with them.

After the end of the Seven Year's War (known in these parts as the French and Indian War) French attitudes toward the English were based in part on the global defeat and loss of control of the seas, but also on a total misunderstanding of Parliament and limited Monarchy. Thus French support of the colonies in their revolt was not motivated by any love and admiration for us, as so many blog commenters would like to believe, but on the notion that the colonists were defending a relationship with the King which in fact even British subjects did not have. French intervention was aimed at hurting the national enemy, and the emergence of a constitutional republic was very much an unintended consequence. In particular, the Marquis de Lafayette, whose contribution was fully repaid long before Oil for Food money started being diverted toward France, hated the English, sought a military career, and was not interested in furthuring the cause of liberty. The French of today, who draw their understanding of Americans from Jerry Lewis movies, have no more interest in being our allies.

Posted by triticale at October 30, 2004 02:48 PM
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