Lessons from America

Liberal French Nobles in Exile, 17931798

By (author) Doina Pasca Harsanyi

Hardback - £69.95

Publication date:

14 April 2010

Length of book:

216 pages


Penn State University Press

ISBN-13: 9780271036373

Every war has refugees; every revolution has exiles. Most of the refugees of the French Revolution mourned the demise of the monarchy. Lessons from America examines an unusual group who did not. Doina Pasca Harsanyi looks at the American experience of a group of French liberal aristocrats, early participants in the French Revolution, who took shelter in Philadelphia during the Reign of Terror. The book traces their path from enlightened salons to revolutionary activism to subsequent exile in America and, finally, back to government posts in France—illuminating the ways in which the French experiment in democracy was informed by the American experience.

Lessons from America contributes a fresh dimension to the classic story of how the French Revolution became the touchstone of political life in the early American republic. To this well-known theme, it brings the European individuals who actually played a key role in the debate through their keen intellects, high social status, and personal connections with leading American political figures. Although based on meticulous research, this is no narrow monograph seeking to ram home a very fine point. Rather, it is a richly textured account that reads as fluently as a novel without sacrificing intellectual rigor and historiographical engagement.”

—Rafe Blaufarb, Florida State University