History of the U.S. and France | U.S. Embassy & Consulates in France
Nov 29, As an American who has been living and working many years in France, I would characterize the relationship between the two countries as. Apr 23, America's relationship with France predates our founding as a country. From the days of Benjamin Franklin and General Marquis de Lafayette. The role of Relations with France in the history of the United States of America.
Finally, Paris has used the evolution of U. In the Middle East, different initiatives aim to gain influence while the role of theUnited States becomes more uncertain. Iran, Jerusalem, and the issue of reciprocity in trade, show that the disagreements between Trump and Macron often stem less from divergent policies and more from different methods.
In fact, they share the same analysis of the situation and of the needed end-state. On China, both Trump and Macron insisted on the need for more reciprocity in trade relations, but the French president warned against the risks of an unnecessary "trade war. In parallel to building a personal bond with the U. Macron reached out to influential governors such as Jerry Brown, and private business figures such as Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg, to advance the climate agenda, as illustrated by the One Planet Summit organized in December in Paris.
Both before and after his election in May, Macron announced that he would try to convince the U. This will continue to be a challenge at a time when U. Maintaining the outstanding level of defense cooperation between the two countries was indeed the priority, but this achievement stems as much from the direct coordination of their bureaucracies and military as from the personal understanding between the two leaders.
Indeed, it remains to be seen whether Donald Trump may nuance his position and find a compromise with his European partners or, in the case of a definitive transatlantic divide, whether European unity and global commitments can hold despite the U.
It was crucial, after eight years of the Obama administration which crowned Angela Merkel as the leader of Europe, to put France at a more central place within the transatlantic partnership. Indeed, while Barack Obama tried to define a balance between three complementary special relationships — with Berlin for European and economic affairs, London for its political support within global institutions and the UN Security Council, and France for out-of-area military cooperation — the election of Donald Trump and the Brexit referendum have completely reshuffled this equilibrium.
Similarly, the relationship with the U. The White House announcement that the French president would be the first foreign leader to be invited for a state visit to the U. Major disagreements between the United States and other European partners, or rising tensions between Washington and China, Russia, or even Iran would obviously affect France. In this context, the growing influence of more hawkish figures such as John Bolton and Mike Pompeo within the Trump administration are a concern for the French government.
The "America First" agenda and its strong unilateralist tendencies, are expected to be reinforced.
The challenge is therefore to maintain a strong dialogue at the highest level, which takes place mostly at the presidential level. Beyond these, four issues may have a specific impact on the future of the bilateral relationship between France and the United States. These challenges could mean that a close relationship with Washington would become politically costly in France for Emmanuel Macron.
The first issue is the risk of a heightened trade competition between the United States and European states. In the case of France, the memory of the U.
If French industrial and economic interests were targeted by the economic nationalism of the Trump administration, the political implications would be extremely damaging. The French president already played a role in the temporary exception of the EU from U. This short-term exemption, however, does not imply a weakening of Trump's assertiveness in the domain of trade. The recent nominations in the Trump administration may in fact reveal a strengthening of the "America First" approach, which would be a source of real concern in Paris.
France has a tradition of a rather pragmatic approach toward institutional and legal formats for its foreign policy, and values what multilateral institutions — in particular the UN — can to advance its interests. The disagreement on the G5 Sahel Force  may be a first instance of a larger issue, as the cuts in U.
Relations with France
The recent nomination of John Bolton at the National Security Council may widen the divide between the two countries on this matter. Thirdly, migration policy is a key issue for the Trump administration and for Donald Trump personally. The way European countries handled the refugee crisis in — was heavily criticized by the U. While the Obama administration remained rather neutral in the European debates at the time, a new crisis would play very differently on transatlantic relationships with Donald Trump, who is likely to be involved in this sensitive discussion.
He cannot afford to see the highly unpopular U. Finally, in this transactional relationship, Macron will have to prove that France can deliver, especially in the defense and security field. The French president has committed that the defense budget would reach 2 percent of the national GDP in Sustainable for Three More Years? The political and strategic priority of counterterrorism will likely remain significant in the coming years, and will cement the French—American relationship under President Trump.
Both governments consider it in their mutual interest to maintain the level of defense and intelligence cooperation that was developed at the end of the Obama presidency. At the transatlantic level, the role of France may become all the more important as the discussion about security responsibility sharing will continue to frame the conversation. According to the new National Defense Strategy, the United States perceives the re-emergence of revisionist powers, primarily China and Russia, as the biggest threat to its national security and military superiority for today and in the future.
Donald Trump will remain unpredictable and cooperating with the White House will be a source of challenges for Paris in the future. New controversial decisions from the Trump administration, if they directly affect French interests or lead to war with Iran, could increase anti-American sentiment in France, making Macron's cooperation with the United States politically costly.
It is therefore unclear whether the current French approach to the Trump administration — building a close personal relationship with Trump on the one hand, and promoting very different political positions on the other hand — can be sustainable for the next three years. Backed notably by France, the military dimension of the G5 Sahel has a strong counterterrorism focus, and the financial support of the UN was the subject of heated debates between Paris and Washington in the spring While presenting a vision clearly opposed to the one of the U.
Jackson refused to apologize, and diplomatic relations were broken off until in December Jackson did offer some friendlier words. The British mediated, France paid the money, and cordial relations were resumed.
Modest cultural exchanges resumed, most famously and intense study visits by Gustave de Beaumont and Alexis de Tocquevillethe author of Democracy in America The book was immediately a popular success in both countries, and to this day helps shape American self-understanding. French utopian socialists Projected an idealized American society as a model for the future. French travelers to the United States were often welcomed in the name of the Lafayettewho made a triumphant American tour in Numerous political exiles found refuge in New York.
Balance of power considerations made Britain want to keep the western territories out of U. However Napoleon III favored the seceding Southern states of the Confederacyhoping to weaken the United States, create a new ally in the Confederacy, safeguard the cotton trade and protect his large investment in controlling Mexico. France was too weak to declare war alone which might cause Prussia to attackand needed British support. The British were unwilling to go to war and nothing happened.
The United States protested and refused to recognize the new government. He did not want a war with France before the Confederacy was defeated.
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When the French troops left the Mexicans executed the puppet emperor Maximilian. The victory of the Union, French withdrawal from Mexico, British disengagement from Canada and the Russian sale of Alaska left the United States dominant, yet with Canadian and Mexican independence intact.
During the Siege of Paristhe small American population, led by the U. Minister to France Elihu B. Washburneprovided much medical, humanitarian, and diplomatic support to peoples, gaining much credit to the Americans. Trade was at a low level, and mutual investments were uncommon.
All during this period the relationship remained friendly—as symbolized by the Statue of Libertypresented in as a gift to the United States from the French people. From untilFrance was the only major republic in Europe, which endeared it to the United States. Many French people held the United States in high esteem, as a land of opportunity and as a source of modern ideas. Few French people emigrated to the United States.
Intellectuals, however, saw the United States as a land built on crass materialism, lacking in a significant culture, and boasting of its distrust of intellectuals. Very few self-styled French intellectuals were admirers. However, as the Americans grew mightily in economic power, and forged closer ties with Britain, the French increasingly talked about an Anglo-Saxon threat to their culture.
The French were annoyed that so many Americans were going to Germany for post-graduate education, and discussed how to attract more Americans. Afterhundreds of American women traveled to France and Switzerland to obtain their medical degrees.
The best American schools were closed to them and chose an expensive option superior to what they were allowed in the U. Thousands of American soldiers, waiting for their slow return to America after the war ended in lateenrolled in university programs set up especially for them.
During World War I the United States was initially neutral but eventually entered the conflict in and provided much-needed money—as loans to be repaid—that purchased American food, oil and chemicals for the French effort.
The American troops were sent over without their heavy equipment so that the ships could carry more soldiers. In the United States sent over a million combat troops who were stationed to the south of the main French lines.
They gave the Allies a decisive edge, as the Germans were unable to replace their heavy losses and lost their self-confidence by September However, the two countries clashed over France's policy to weaken Germany and make it pay for the entire French war. The burning ambition of French Premier Georges Clemenceau was to ensure the security of France in the future; his formula was not friendship with Germany restitution, reparations, and guarantees.
Clemenceau had little confidence in what he considered to be the unrealistic and utopian principles of US President Woodrow Wilson: The two nations disagreed on debts, reparations, and restraints on Germany. Clemenceau was also determined that a buffer state consisting of the German territory west of the Rhine River should be established under the aegis of France.
In the eyes of the U.
History of the U.S. and France
The territory in question was to be occupied by Allied troops for a period of five to fifteen years, and a zone extending fifty kilometers east of the Rhine was to be demilitarized. Republican leaders in Washington were willing to support a security treaty with France. It failed because Wilson insisted on linking it to the Versailles Treaty, which the Republicans would not accept without certain amendments Wilson refused to allow.
Blumenthal agrees with Wilson that peace and prosperity required Germany's full integration into the world economic and political community as an equal partner. One result was that in the s the French deeply distrusted the Americans, who were loaning money to Germany which Germany used to pay its reparations to France and other Allieswhile demanding that France repay its war loans from Washington.
It served as the French embassy from to During the interwar years, the two nations remained friendly. Beginning in the s, U. A number of American artists, such as Josephine Bakerexperienced popular success in France. Paris was also quite welcoming to American jazz music and black artists in particular, as France, unlike a significant part of the United States at the time, had no racial discrimination laws.
Numerous writers such as William FaulknerF. Scott FitzgeraldErnest Hemingwayand others were deeply influenced by their experiences of French life. However, anti-Americanism came of age in the s, as many French traditionalists were alarmed at the power of Hollywood and warned that America represented modernity, which in turn threatened traditional French valuescustoms, and popular literature.French Colonization of North America (New France Colonial America APUSH) @TomRichey
It attracted larger crowds than the Louvreand soon it was said that the iconic American cartoon character Mickey Mouse had become more familiar than Asterix among French youth.
Walter Thompson Company of New York was the leading American advertising agency of the interwar years. It established branch offices in Europe, including one in Paris in Most of these branches were soon the leading local agencies, as in Britain and Germany, JWT-Paris did poorly from the late s through the early s. The causes included cultural clashes between the French and Americans and subtle anti-Americanism among potential clients.
Furthermore, The French market was heavily regulated and protected to repel all foreign interests, and the American admen in Paris were not good at hiding their condescension and insensitivity. The pact, which was endorsed by most major nations, renounced the use of war, promoted peaceful settlement of disputes, and called for collective force to prevent aggression.
Its provisions were incorporated into the United Nations Charter and other treaties and it became a stepping stone to a more activist American policy. Roosevelt from to The successful performance of German warplanes during the Spanish Civil War —39 suddenly forced France to realize its military inferiority. Germany had better warplanes, more of them, and much more efficient production systems.
In late he told Roosevelt about The French weaknesses, and asked for military help. Roosevelt was forthcoming, and forced the War Department to secretly sell the most modern American airplanes to France.
France and Britain declared war on Germany when it invaded Poland in Septemberbut there was little action until the following spring. Many French soldiers were evacuated through Dunkirk, but France was forced to surrender.
Vichy France —44 [ edit ] Langer argues that Washington was shocked by the sudden collapse of France in springand feared that Germany might gain control of the large French fleet, and exploit France's overseas colonies.
This led the Roosevelt administration to maintain diplomatic relations. Vichy regime was officially neutral but it was helping Germany. The United States severed diplomatic relations in late when Germany took direct control of areas that Vichy had ruled, and Vichy France became a Nazi puppet state.