In 1789, as the French Revolution shook Europe to the core, the new United States was struggling for survival in the face of financial insolvency and bitter political and regional divisions. When the United States Spoke French explores the republic's formative years from the viewpoint of a distinguished circle of five Frenchmen taking refuge in America. When the French Revolution broke out, these men had been among its leaders.
How did people in our country, North and South, East and West, come to share a remarkably durable and consistent common vision of what it meant to be an American in the first 50 years after the Revolution? How did the nation respond to the problem of slavery in a republic?