As we prepare to celebrate our independence, I thought it might be interesting to reflect on the historical relationship between our country and France.
Relations between the two countries have been discordant and harmonious; in recent history, the ties between France and the United States have been strained, though there are signs that the relationship is mending. During both the worlds wars, these two countries formed an alliance, though during the postwar years, both political and cultural friction existed.
During the early and mid-1800s, strained relations can be attributed to Andrew Jackson, the Civil War, and Napoleon III, but de Tocqueville, as well as the gift of the Statue of Liberty, emphasized what the two countries shared: a love of freedom and democracy.
In the 1700s, both America and France fought revolutions; though conception, principles--and outcomes--were quite different, both revolutions battled tyranny and oppression. And while it should not be said that the American Revolution influenced the French, perhaps the American ideal of Liberty galvanized the French people in their pursuit of liberté, égalité, fraternité.
As lovers of France and all-things-French, it's important to understand, historically, what we share, and what makes us different, non?