July 4, 2013

La Liberté éclairant le monde

La Liberté éclairant le monde (Liberty Enlightening the World) is a gift from the people of France to the U.S.A. to recognize what the French saw as their co-developers of national liberty.
 The statue is of a robed female figure representing Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, who bears a torch and a tabula ansata (a tablet evoking the law) upon which is inscribed the date of the American Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776. A broken chain lies at her feet.

Symbolizing abolition.

It didn't have much to do with immigration. The message to the world was that America and France had liberated their own countries and you should admire this statue, then be inspired to go home and liberate your own country.

Not surprisingly, the French never felt oppressed enough in their nice country to immigrate to Amercia in vast numbers. So, Franco Americans tend to be a rather random collection of worthies who filtered in in small number. The Wikipedia  on "French-American" article lists these representatives Franco-Americans.


Not bad, if a pretty random set of Americans.

71 comments:

Anonymous said...

A fair ammount of French immigrated here to Brasil. I´ve lived in both the U.S and Brazil for several years and in the States I never knew anyone french, but here in Brazil I know a whole bunch.

More probably immigrated to Argentina, and they practically have an entire country in Canada. Not, to mention Louisiana and other Acadians up in Upper New England.

So more immigrated than you let on. Maybe they didn´t want to learn english so they immigrated to frendlier languaged places such as brazil and french canada. Also, there might be anti-english bias, don´t they supposedly hate eachother over in the old country?? so why immigrate to an english outpost/??

Anonymous said...

Not surprisingly, the French never felt oppressed enough in their nice country to immigrate to Amercia in vast numbers

I disagree with you on this. Other factors far outweigh "liberated". The main factor was most likely that they had their own colonies to emigrate to.

Despite having their own colonies, people who self identified on the 2000 census as "French" outnumbered Asians. Although, I'm sure most are descendants of pre-revolution immigrants.

Anonymous said...

Very short list

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_French_Americans

A Working Class American said...

good to see this implicit admission that the demonization of France by the so-called conservatives is BS. France makes America look bad. And France is not as good a nation as other, even smaller, western nations, such as Austria, Switz, Denmark, etc. These are nations where the majority actually has substantial control of the government. Imagine that! Freedom Fries, my butt!

Anonymous said...

Kerouac and Goulet, at least, were of French Canadian origin, which is a different thing.

David said...

It is stretching definitions to call most of those people Franco-American. In most cases they have some French-Canadian ancestry, rather than directly French. And in the case of Thoreau the 'French' name seems to be from Jersey, not France at all.

Anonymous said...

Interesting developments in the Caucus. Use google translate, but this comment probably won't be published.

http://www.polskieradio.pl/5/3/Artykul/880310,Terrorysci-w-Soczi-Prezydent-Czeczenii-ten-szatan-zostanie-zlikwidowany

http://www.rmf24.pl/fakty/swiat/news-wladze-na-kaukazie-walcza-z-porywaniem-kobiet-i-zmuszaniem-d,nId,990450

Anonymous said...

In 1876, some beautiful Frenchmen came to our birthday party with this amazing, incredible gift they had designed and built themselves, to show us just how much they loved us. Then some creepy little party crashers attached a note to it claiming it was from them.

And yes, by "note" I am referring to that odious little third grade-level poem called "The New Colossus."

Anonymous said...

One non-random area - Dixieland Jazz, early New Orleans version, had more French last names than a Montreal hockey team

Corn said...

Thank you for your words on the original purpose of the Statue of Liberty Steve.
Personally, I'd tear the damn thing down. The image of the statue, the way Emma Lazarus's poem has been granted quasi-constitutional status.... it's poisoned American politics.

Anonymous said...

Robert Goulet is French-Canadian, Quebec actually.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

Not surprisingly, the French never felt oppressed enough in their nice country to immigrate to Amercia in vast numbers."

Eh? So many things wrong with this assertion. One does not have to feel oppressed in order to immigrate to America. A vast chunk of Albion's seed came to America not because they were oppressed but simply because they thought life would be better there
Also the French did have things bad even before the French revolution(Huegenots for instance moved to England and Netherlands)
They did head to the Maghreb and Quebec in considerable numbers.
Louisiana and Haiti in not such large numbers so they couldnt consolidate their political power in the long run but did leave their cultural imprint obviously


Anonymous said...

OT, but does Peter Schiff read Sailer? In one of his radio shows, he just said that European colonialism was the best thing that happened to Africa. He also came down hard on Janteel and Trayvon's thuggish demeanor.

Anyway, if he does, then he might be the wealthiest reader of Sailer.

Anonymous said...

jack Kerouac wasn't "French" qua French, but Quebecois. Also, unlike some of the other ones you have listed, he was a legit "two cultures" guy.
Here he is giving an interview in French. You see he is really quite funny and glib and articulate in French.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-r2aOSoRsoE

Anonymous said...

Most of those mentioned ancestors came from Quebec.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

I'm not sure French-Canadians would be quite the same thing. They would have had intervening generations in the New World, whichever side of the border they spent it on.

Point taken about immigration, however. The French who went to Canada were a very small group, from a restricted set of counties near Paris. Other than that group of 2000 or so, not many at all. Are there other European countries which did not lose many to the New World? The Swiss, perhaps?

Anonymous said...

Jack Kerouac was the son of French Canadians who came to New England from Quebec. So he was not exactly a descendant of French immigrants.

Since Bret Favre is from Louisiana, I assume he is of Cajun ancestry - meaning his ancestors came to Louisiana (then French territory) from Canada in the 18th Century. Again, not exactly a descendant of French immigrants to the US.

Todd Fletcher said...

Jacques Barzun

Horace Staccato said...

A large number of people in the U.S. with French names came from Quebec or were Huguenot refugees whose first stop was England, Netherlands or Germany.

Also, don't forget Black Jack Bouvier; father of JackyO.

Anonymous said...

Randy Couture, former UFC champion

Mark Plus said...

You can find a better list here. Quite a few French Americans have distinguished themselves in finance or business, and many of them may have Huguenot backgrounds. Some Huguenots came to America deviously by spending a generation or two in Ireland and then mingling with the Scots-Irish immigration, like Davy Crockett's family.

Louis XIV might have unintentionally done the world a favor by revoking the Edict of Nantes and persecuting his Huguenot citizens. They "went Galt" by taking the capital in their minds out of France and resettling in countries which appreciated what they had to offer.

Alfa158 said...

Art legend is that the sculptor used his mother as the model for the statue's head and his mistress for the body. Have a glorious 4th!

Hunsdon said...

Today, of course, it would be a tabula rasa. (Or perhaps a tabula la Raza.)

Steve Sailer said...

It's an impressive list, just kind of randomly distributed geographically and occupationally: a chemical company family here, a historian there.

Sam said...

Goulet and Jolie are of French-Canadian ancestry.

Anonymous said...

Lots of French-Canadians immigrated to northern and western New England relatively recently.

Mark Plus said...

Steve, French Americans helped to create America's banking, automotive, chemical and petroleum industries. (J.D. Rockefeller had some Huguenot ancestors.) The more successful ones entered America's ruling class, which I can't see Mexican Americans doing, so they've mattered a lot more in the country's history, despite their relatively small numbers, than you seem willing to acknowledge.

Anonymous said...

"And in the case of Thoreau the 'French' name seems to be from Jersey, not France at all."

Indeed. Probably an Italian. Jersey is full of 'em!

Mark Caplan said...

Allow me to chime in with the Philadelphia Orchestra's renowned oboist Marcel Tabuteau.

Anonymous said...

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/lifestyle/general_lifestyle/july_2013/more_americans_view_blacks_as_racist_than_whites_hispanics

Study says blacks are most 'racist'.. Study must be 'racist'.

Hunsdon said...

AWCA squawka'd: good to see this implicit admission that the demonization of France by the so-called conservatives is BS.

Hunsdon: Do you more admire the Jacobins, or Napoleon?

Matthew said...

French Huguenots, coming here directly or stopping elsewhere along the way, made disproportionate contributions to Colonial America. They basically merged with WASPs, and the French origins of their descendants' surnames are often obscured by Anglicized spellings. Mitt Romney has a non-Huguenot French ancestor who migrated here from Quebec, iirc.

The oldest Huguenot church in America, founded in 1628, eventually merged into the Episcopalian fold - symbolic of what happened to the Huguenots themselves. But there is still one operating Huguenot church in Charleston, South Carolina, where many Huguenots settled in the late 1600s.

Anonymous said...

Lots of young people from France are actually coming to Quebec these last few years. More opportunities here, and it's a bit like being in America, but in a more familiar environment. Btw, Frehcn-Canadians always have had of fondness for America. There is a silly, anti-American streak in English Canada you'll hardly find here.

A great 4th of July to our friends and neighbours to the south !

Anonymous said...

STephen Decatur - who's naval actions look like a patrick obrien novel.. remember he was one of the first national heroes of the republic.

Anonymous said...

The most remarkable thing about the Statue of Liberty for me is that it started life brown and only later oxidised to its current sickly hue. One of those things that is kind of hard to imagine - like the Eiffel tower halfway through construction or a land bridge between Britain and Europe.

peterike said...

Anyone wants to see a totally incredible film about early French colonization in Canada, watch "Black Robe." Goes a bit soft on the Indians compared to the book, but still portrays them in all their grim savagery. Very un PC. No wonder it only did $8 mil in box office and that little shit Roger Ebert gave it a sniffling 2 1/2 stars. It's a 4 star film if ever there was one.

Pepe the Andalusian donkey farmer said...

"Franco-American"? Sounds suspiciously right-wing, reactionary, nationalist and Roman Catholic to me! (but "Hispanic" too, so good after all.)

Matra said...

As others have suggested French-Canadians (considered an archaic term) are not at all like French-French as they settled New France so long ago and lived in relative isolation for enough centuries to be a distinct nation. In Mad Men part of the realism of the series evaporated for me as soon as French-Canadian Megan's very European parents showed up. Think Hugh Grant playing a rugged Texan because most Texans are (or were) Anglo!

Other than persecuted Huguenots and those going to the colonies (very small compared to Brits going to their colonies despite similar population size) the French didn't spread out much. Even today France is similar to America in that its citizens rarely travel abroad for vacation - near 80% stay in France - and unlike the Americans the French don't have geography as an excuse. Perhaps in addition to having better living conditions than their well-travelled Catholic neighbours (Italians, Spaniards) French Catholic culture is 'deeper' than the British, German, and Dutch cultures?

Are there other European countries which did not lose many to the New World? The Swiss, perhaps?

Other than Bulgarians I'd say the two Belgian nations - Flemings and Walloons. The Dutch-speaking Catholic Flemish who do not have the seafaring culture of the regular Dutch didn't travel far. And other than a small Walloon community in Wisconsin and some of mixed Huguenot descent who arrived in New Amsterdam I don't think the French-speaking Belgians went far either. Belgian Congo never had more than 100,000 colonists and many of them weren't even Belgian.

Anonymous said...

Here's Golda Meir on the meaning of the Statue of Liberty.

Mr. Anon said...

"Anonymous said...

""Not surprisingly, the French never felt oppressed enough in their nice country to immigrate to Amercia in vast numbers.""

"I disagree with you on this. Other factors far outweigh "liberated". The main factor was most likely that they had their own colonies to emigrate to."

So Steve's point stands. French emigrants to french colonies didn't leave because they felt oppressed at home, but because they sought opportunities in the colonies.

Mr. Anon said...

Unfortunately, the Statue of Liberty (SOL) aquired a bad case of plaque:

SOL Plaque

And, as your dentist will tell you, plaque can lead to heart-disease and eventual death.

Anonymous said...

So Steve's point stands. French emigrants to french colonies didn't leave because they felt oppressed at home, but because they sought opportunities in the colonies.

Was that really his point?

Anonymous said...

"Perhaps in addition to having better living conditions than their well-travelled Catholic neighbours (Italians, Spaniards) French Catholic culture is 'deeper' than the British, German, and Dutch cultures?"

... or their appreciation of other cultures is shallower.

Basically the ordinary Frenchman is a lot like the ordinary non-SWPL American.

McGillicuddy said...

Some of you guys are being a bit nit-picky with Steve about the level of French immigration, but he’s basically right; relative to its population France has sent far fewer people to the New World, or to other European countries, than have other Western European countries.

It’s probably not fair to compare them to the British Isles or Iberia, but let’s compare them to the other two big Western European countries, Germany and Italy.

There are far more Italians in the Anglosphere alone than there are French people in all of the New World, and most New World Italians live in Latin America! On top of that, millions of French citizens are descended from turn-of-the-century Italian immigrants.

Likewise, there are almost as many Germans in Latin America as there are French New Worlders in total, and of course, by far most New World Germans live in the Anglosphere.

Unlike Italy and Germany, France actually has a New World colony (sort of), but Quebec has not been much of a draw to the Metropolitans; according to Fernand Braudel, who was probably the premier French historian to live in the 20th century, the modern Quebecois are mostly descended from a group of 60,000 peasants from pre-1763 Western France (from his a History of Civilizations).



Baloo said...

If we remove Lazarus's doggerel, what shall we replace it with? Some speculation here:
http://ex-army.blogspot.com/2013/07/miss-libbie.html
http://ex-army.blogspot.com/2013/07/miss-libbie.html

Anonymous said...

Warren Buffett, John Jay, John Fremont, Delano family.

Anonymous said...

France has a lot to offer. Sandy beaches, charming villages, Alpine skiing, a world city, forests and vineyards, surfing, cafes and lovely restaurants.

It is big enough, with sufficient open space and semi-wilderness, never to feel truly crowded or over-exploited.

The French have jealously, aggressively preserved their culture down to the last detail. They've been mocked for doing so, but it's worked. French culture remains strong and continuous. Several other European cultures that have not been so carefully protected are now listing badly.

Similarly, they've husbanded their country very carefully and it remains a joy to visit and explore.

The typical Frenchman doesn't have any particularly pressing need to leave France, and still less desire to do so. France is enough for them. The French don't have a word for "Wanderlust."

Schuyler Colfax said...

To my mind, the Statue of Liberty has always had a rather satanic aspect. She is not a tranquil, an inspiring or a reassuring presence in the bay. Rather, a disturbing one (and that's before we get to the evil spell cast over her by Ms Lazarus).

Anonymous said...

French-Canadians in the New World were a pretty subjugated bunch. The banishment of the Acadians is well documented. The problems between the French-Canadian Catholics emigrating to New England in the late 19th/early 20th centuries and their more numerous (and English-speaking) Irish co-religious, who dominated the Church in Massachusetts and suppressed the French-language schools and churches, was well-remembered by my Quebecois immigrant grandmother.

Corn said...

"Btw, Frehcn-Canadians always have had of fondness for America. There is a silly, anti-American streak in English Canada you'll hardly find here."

I've never been to Quebec but an American who has once said that Quebecois lasses are very pretty and utterly sweet to American visitors.

pat said...

I'm pleased to see that you got Robert Goulet wrong. I've been caught up in a number of minor factual errors here lately and I was feeling embarrassed because you seem so punctilious in your fact checking.

French Canadianism is an odd sort of thing. A couple decades back the term 'terrorist' in a spy thriller was likely a French Canadian. Yet my second wife liked to think of herself as French Canadian rather like Elizabeth Warren likes to think that she is descended from the 'noble red man'. My wife even expected to be understood in Paris although she speaks no more French than I do.

It's a prestige ethnic identity even though by any objective measure the French in Canada have always been second rate.

Albertosaurus

Space Ghost said...

There's an easier explanation. Why would a historical Frenchman have come to the U.S.? We had bad food, worse wine, an ugly language, and don't get me started on the women.

Anonymous said...

OT: Emma West, woman who ranted against immigrants on an English bus, found not only guilty, but 'mentally ill'.

http://englandcalling.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/the-oppression-of-emma-west-the-politically-correct-end-game-plays-out/

Matra said...

Btw, Frehcn-Canadians always have had of fondness for America. There is a silly, anti-American streak in English Canada you'll hardly find here.

Historically, yes, but over the last few decades? I'm not so sure. At the time of Operation Iraqi Freedom the biggest worldwide survey on America was done and Canadians were the most pro-American people in the world, except for Quebecers. As far as I know virtually every incident of booing the US anthem at sporting events in recent decades has been in Quebec. Maybe there isn't the same petty anti-Americanism as there is in very American Toronto - small differences and all that - but based on the Quebecers I studied and worked with in the 90s they are not fond of Americans the way English Canadians from the Maritimes and Prairies are.

Somewhat related some French immigrants to Quebec think the locals are racist, ignorant, that they don't speak proper French, and are part of a matriarchy - Feministan

There are far more Italians in the Anglosphere alone than there are French people in all of the New World, and most New World Italians live in Latin America!

That reminds me of a famous Franco-Argentine - Carlos Gardel.

Anonymous said...

I always felt the lack of Franco-Americans was unfortunate, given France's intellectual sophistication and feminine beauty. And, as others have noted, the anti-French propagandizing in this country is stupid and annoying (on a related note, so is the anti-Russian propagandizing).

Judging from his last name and eyes/cheekbones, I would assume that indie actor/director Mark DuPlass has French ancestry. He's also a welcome, intelligent presence in our film culture.

Ray Sawhill said...

LOVE "Black Robe." Netflix has got it (only on DVD though), and you can watch it on Amazon Instant for $2.99. Fab movie.

Dahinda said...

Many towns along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and the Gulf Coast were founded by French colonists. St.Louis is the largest but Peoria,Baton Rouge,Biloxi, and Mobile were founded by French colonists. Ste. Genevieve,MO has today the largest collection of French colonial buildings left in the US.

Captain Tripps said...

Matt LeBlanc?!?!?!? Really??? You’re citing Matt LeBlanc?!?!?!? HAHAHAHAHA ROTFL

TomC said...

Interestingly, I recently discovered that my old-south ancestry on my mother’s side has a French Huguenot line. Apparently, a not insignificant number of Huguenots immigrated to America during the reign of the Sun King to escape renewed persecution. My Huguenot ancestors ended up in South Carolina and then Georgia. They must have been uninterested in retaining the memory of their French heritage. Ironically, I’m RC.

Corn said...

One little piece of trivia, everyone has heard of Cajun French but to go along with Dahinda's post there were just enough French settlers along the Missouri side of the Mississippi River that a dialect of French known as Missouri French was spoken in a part of southeastern Missouri until the 1930s or '40s. If wikipedia is right there may still be a handful of elderly speakers still living.

2Degrees said...

France is a beautiful country and I have always loved going there. I speak French well enough for French people to complement me on it - and they are not inclined to hand out complements lightly.

BUT!!!!!

France has a ghastly history and they have done horrible things to each other.

The Albigensian Crusade.
The "Genocide Franco-Francais" carried out in the Vendee after the Revolution.

The persecution of the Huguenots.

The thirty thousand lined up and shot during the Paris Commune.

Also, a million died for Napoleon and a million for Louis XIV. 1.3 million were killed in WW1 and as many Frenchmen died in Vietnam as Americans. Then there was the carnage in Algeria. They lost 100,000 in the Crimean War. The blood-letting throughout the Eighteenth Century was like a slow-burn World War One.

P.S. I recommend New Caledonia as a vacation destination for all readers in OZNZ.

ariston said...

You can find plenty of French surnames in my home state of Kentucky— both Catholics and Huguenots made their way out there. You can find nth generation good old boys with names like Remi in the Catholic counties.

2Degrees said...

Latin Europe is not Latin America. Unless you are dirt poor (and even with the Euro most of them aren't) all of it has a wonderful cuisine, great weather and a rich and attractive culture. They understand the finer things in life.

BUT!!!!

When Italians and Poles were pouring into the US, France had a birth rate of zip. There population actually fell by a million between 1900 and 1914.

I think that explains why there are so few French Americans.

anonyias said...

There are a fair amount of French surnames in the Southeast- both from Huguenots (many of them probably moved to England before migrating to the colonies) and Cajuns. Most people with French ancestry claim something else, though.

Gringo said...

A good article on the French in North America, with an emphasis on French Canadian immigrants to New England, is Learning to Love the French.

A local plumber here in TX,who had a French surname, spoke with what seemed to me to be a Cajun accent. i asked him if he were from Louisiana.He was not from Louisiana, he replied. He was from Quebec. His father had been born and raised in New Hampshire, a member of the French Canadian diaspora to New England. His father had been stationed in Quebec with the US Army, and decided to stay in Quebec after he got out of the US Army. Which meant that over several generations his family had the following migrations: Quebec to New Hampshire to Quebec to Texas,

Anonymous said...

Btw, Frehcn [sic] -Canadians always have had of fondness for America. There is a silly, anti-American streak in English Canada you'll hardly find here.

This "fondness" is shallow indeed, and exists mostly to piss off anti-American nationalist English Canadians, particularly the ones from Ontario.

French-Canadians are quite anti-American when it suits them. Remember that the French political culture, whether "right" or "left", is far more statist than English political culture. Frenchies have no real fondness for British, Anglo-Canadian, or American politics.

Anonymous said...

"Even today France is similar to America in that its citizens rarely travel abroad for vacation - near 80% stay in France..."

I don't blame them. Why waste precious vacation time eating crappy food and enduring strange languages?

pat said...

I have my doubts about this French 'fondness for America'.

That may very well be true in southern France where the people are so nice they could almost be Italians, but Parisians are rude and hostile. If it weren't for the fact that they spoke that funny language of theirs, you might think you were in Manhattan.

Historically it is unfair to label the French 'surrender monkeys'. They were quite brave in both World Wars and Viet Nam as they died like flies following their brain dead leaders. There hasn't been a competant native French military leader since Vergingetorix (Corsica is nearer to Italy than to France).

Albertosaurus

Albertosaurus

Anonymous said...

"This "fondness" is shallow indeed, and exists mostly to piss off anti-American nationalist English Canadians, particularly the ones from Ontario."

Finally, a useful purpose for the Quebecois beyond hockey players and poutine chefs.

Anonymous said...

@ pat/albertosaurus -

What about Vauban? Granted, he was more of an expert on fortifications, but he was an appointed Marshal of France.

DanJ said...

Anonymous said: The French don't have a word for "Wanderlust."

And you Anglophones do?