Interpreting American Democracy in France : The Career of Edouard Laboulaye, 1811-1883

Walter D. Gray

Published by University of Delaware Press
ISBN 10: 0874134617 / ISBN 13: 9780874134612
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Synopsis: Interpreting American Democracy in France is a study of the French savant, liberal, politician, and Americanist Edouard Laboulaye. Laboulaye, who was a professor at the College de France, is perhaps best known in America today as president of the Union Franco-Americaine, which raised funds in France for the Statute of Liberty. He was also well known to Americans in the nineteenth century, particularly for his staunch support of the Union in the American Civil War. He and his circle influenced French public opinion and were instrumental in preventing the government of Napoleon III from recognizing the Confederacy.
After the Revolutions of 1848, the aftermath of which disillusioned him, a dominant theme in Laboulaye's writings was that America provided France with a model constitution that guaranteed individual liberties and a stable political system; it was his great hope that his country would follow this example. As France's leading Americanist, Laboulaye's energies were devoted to lectures on American history and politics and work on behalf of the North during the Civil War. He was also a translator of the works of those Americans for whom he had a special devotion: Franklin, Channing, and Mann. As a founding father of the Third Republic, Laboulaye drew great satisfaction from the fact that some principles drawn from the American political tradition were embodied in its constitutional laws. Additionally, Laboulaye was the first Frenchman to give a course on American history at a French university, and he later published a three-volume history of the United States, which stands as his masterpiece. He was a member of the liberal opposition to Napoleon III and after 1870 became active in the Third Republic, serving as deputy and later senator for life.
In France Laboulaye is primarily known as a professor at the respected College de France, a position he maintained throughout his entire career, and as a member of the Institut de France. He was also president of the French Anti-Slavery Society. Laboulaye was, in fact, a savant of almost universal interests who held a place at the center of French intellectual life during the Second Empire and the early Third Republic. His bibliography, comprised of books, pamphlets, essays, children's stories, and articles, totals over two hundred entries. His final years as a senator for life were devoted in large part to a successful fundraising campaign for the Statute of Liberty, which he did not live to see erected in New York Harbor, and to carrying on the fight for political liberty as he envisioned it.
This book is based on extensive research into the unpublished papers of Laboulaye, which are still in his family's possession, and manuscripts in other depositories in France and the United States.

About the Author: Walter D. Gray is Professor of History at Loyola University of Chicago.

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Title: Interpreting American Democracy in France : ...
Publisher: University of Delaware Press
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Good

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