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American Philosophical Society
French Perceptions of the Early American Republic, 1783-1793
Peter P. Hill
In this study Peter P. Hill contends that French officials in the postwar decade had already perceived a deep-rooted Am. indifference, even hostility, to a number of vital French nat. interests. In the foreground of worse relations to come, the author examines the harsh disappointments & frustrations these officials experienced in their dealings with Americans in the 1780s, whether on the high seas, or in U.S. courts & customs houses, in the halls of Congress, or in their encounters with Am. attitudes. These essays add to what is already known, in a general way, about France’s difficulties with the U.S. in this era. Not so well known, however, are: how French officials perceived these problems; what solutions they sought; or how keenly frustrated they became when, despite Amerf. protestations of gratitude for French assistance during the war for independence, they found self-interested Americans unwilling to heed the least claims of an erstwhile ally. Hill’s account of these & other aspects of early alimentation between the two countries adds an important chapter to the history of a relatively unexplored era of Franco-Amer. relations.
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