9781574888805

Napoleon's Troublesome Americans : Franco-American Relations, 1804-1815

by
  • ISBN13:

    9781574888805

  • ISBN10:

    1574888803

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2006-12-30
  • Publisher: Potomac Books Inc
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Summary

Shortly before the United States declared war on Great Britain in June 1812, Congress came within two votes of declaring war on Napoleon Bonaparte's French empire. For six years, France and Britain had both seized American shipping. While common wisdom says that America was virtually an innocent in this matter, caught in the middle of the epic wars between France and Britain, Peter Hill has uncovered a far more complex and interesting history. French privateers and Napoleon's navy were seizing American merchant ships in a concerted attempt to disrupt Britain's commerce. American ships were the principal carriers of British goods to the continent, and Napoleon believed his best, and perhaps only, hope to defeat Britain was to cut off that market. While the French emperor sought an accommodation with America, the administrations of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison continually frustrated him. American diplomatic fumbling sent mixed messages, and American neutrality policies, Hill finds, were more punishing to France than to Britain. Always interested in lucrative ventures, American merchant ships also became the main suppliers of food to British forces fighting Napoleon in Spain and Portugal. By 1812, the United States was on a collision course with both Britain and France over clashes on the high seas, and war with two major powers at once might have proven disastrous for the young United States. Hill's engaging narrative details the fascinating history of America's troubled relationship with Napoleon and how this crisis with France was finally averted.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Americans in the Anglo-French Crossfire ix
John Armstrong's Unpromising Beginning
1(10)
Napoleon Quashes the Florida ``Job''
11(10)
The Cycle of Depredation Begins, 1806--07
21(12)
Napoleon Takes Exception to Jefferson's Embargo
33(10)
Captured Ships and Stranded Seamen; Napoleon Reacts to the Embargo
43(12)
Increasing Tensions, 1809
55(10)
Napoleon Shifts the Diplomatic Initiative to London
65(10)
Fleeting Hopes for Conciliation, 1809--10
75(8)
Both Sides Charge Bad Faith
83(6)
Napoleon Toys with Macon's Bill
89(10)
Madison Bets on the Cadore Letter
99(12)
Russell Struggles, Napoleon Cavils
111(10)
Serurier Parries Complaints and Rejoices at Foster's Undoing
121(10)
Madison Prepares a French Initiative as British Relations Worsen
131(10)
Joel Barlow, Undaunted Optimist
141(10)
Barlow Falters, London Retreats
151(10)
Co-Belligerency and a Diplomatic Breakthrough
161(12)
Serurier Frets: Will Congress Declare War on Both Belligerents?
173(16)
Barlow Goes to Vilna as the Russian Campaign Collapses
189(8)
Serurier Reports on Wartime Washington; From Paris a Long Silence
197(10)
Serurier Chagrined as Madison Looks for Peace
207(8)
End of an Era: The Crawford Mission
215(14)
Conclusion: Napoleon's Case Against Americans: Summarizing the Evidence 229(8)
Notes 237(36)
Bibliography 273(8)
Index 281(8)
About the Author 289

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