Although France is one of the largest countries in Europe, French emmigration to America has been very limited, despite France's critical role in the American Revolution. We are not sure why this was. Several ideas occur to us, but they are only speculative at this time. I do not at this time fully understand French immigration to America. A far as I can tell, it was mostly indirect immigration through Canada. There seem to be two major French groups in the United States.
Although France is one of the largest countries in Europe, French emmigration to America has been very limited, despite France's critical role in the American Revolution. We are not sure why this was. Could French peole not bare the idea of leaving France. Most accounts of 18th century France before the Revolution describe the kind of poverty that would seem to drive emigration. Perhaps the Revolution left the idea that France could be changed to create a better life. One factor must have been that throughout history, England was France's great enemy. Thus emmigrating to an English-speaking country may not have been appealing.
I do not at this time fully understand French immigration to America. A far as I can tell, it was mostly indirect immigration through Canada. There seem to be two major French groups in the United States.
Maine borders Beauce and many French Canadian crossed the border to live and work in the States, mainly in factories. Maybe, dresses like those worn by Charles were the same worn in Quebec. We have to remember that Quebec city is nearer than Boston for the upper part of Maine. After 1812 war, this state was object of long discussions between Canada (British Government) and the United States. At first, it was expected that Maine would stay in Canada because Kennebec river through Skoheegan was the natural way for going to Halifax. When Maine became part of the United states, British soldiers had to take St-John river in New Brunswick which was really longer for going to Maritimes. Anyway, near 1 million French Canadian went to New England because there was jobs for outnumbered families from Quebec province.
Another French immigrant group in America are the Louisiana Cajuns who came from Canada--the Acadians. The Acadians were French Canadians expelled by the British during the French and Indian War (1755). A French Canadian reader writes, "Louisiana was at the time a Spanish possession. Earlier it had been along with Canada (Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario) a part of New France where the French immigrated. After the Acadian deportation around 1755, many Acadians settled around Nouvelle-Orleans. Acadian gradually evolved into 'Cajun'. There is always a struggle for French language survival in Louisiana. There is the same around Boston. Lowell and Manchester."
At the time of the Revolutionary War there wre French communities in the Upper Misississippi and its tributaries. This included future tates like Indinana. Illinnois, Michigam, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. The French imprint of these communities have long since been swaped by subsequent settlement. The names of the cmmunities is virtually the only French imprint left.
Religion may have affected emigration differentlt than in France. One factor was that that from Catholic France there was no groups like the English Puritans seeking religious freedom in the New World. (I believe the Church did not allow French Hugenouts to establish a colony, but here we do not have detailed information.)
Apparently the French could not bring themselves to leaving their country. A French reader writes, "We are the most popular touristic destination in the world during 2000 and 2001. There aremany reasons for this. For instance, Austria is a very beautiful and mountainous country. The highest mountains of Europe are located in France. We have three sea coasts: the Méditerranée, Atlantic, and [?Manche. There is also a varied climate. The climate of the north is far different from that of the south. The French people is very united in their mentality . Don't forget that France is an international cultural reference.
In many French cities they are castles, churches, and other edifices dating to Roman and meieval times. Perhaps it is the reason why the French and others live here and why the French never emmigrated in large numbers." It is a fact that the French are not an emigrant people and that is why even thoughj there were 25 millions in France during the reign of Louis XIV, few emmigrated to New France. Those who came in Canada during the 17th century were poor and stayed once they arrived. When Great-Brittain took possession of New France in 1763, all the nobles and wealthy returned in France."
A Canadian reader writes, "There are one million French-Canadians who immigrated to the United States. Many worked in textile mills. They lost the French language and culture in the Aerican melting pot. That is why, Quebec has fought so strong to keep its language and religion until now."
Franco-Americans are Canadians but also French. HBC readers may know Jack Kerouac (On the Road), one of the most influential writer of the Beatnik Generation in 1950. The most famous French immigrant is probably Dupont de Nemours was French. He came to America with Lafayette during the American Revolution. Julien Green, a French writer, born in Baltimore before going back to France.
There are a lotof French going to live in the United States. There are also a lot of Americans like Fitzgerald, Hemmingway or Henry Miller who went to France to enjoy French culture.
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