Biography and History

At the start of the 19th century, the tumultuous events of Europe and the new government of the United States prompted the government of France employing agents to report on American politics, economics, diplomacy, geographic expansion, and military affairs. This collection contains French agents' reports in 1804 with Napoleon as Emperor of France, from 1816 to 1817 with Louis XVIII as King of France, and from 1841 to 1842 with Louis-Philippe as King of France.

The United States, during these times, were generally recovering from wars, developing economic policies, undergoing political transformations, and establishing international relationships. Of particular interest to the French was America's interactions with the United Kingdom, Spain, Haiti, and South America. In addition, the French were interested in how France was perceived by the Americans; and agents reported on the Bonapartes arrival in New Jersey, plots to liberate Napoleon from St. Helena, how the newly elected President Monroe responded to the Bourbon Restoration, and how Americans responded to the unexpected death of Prince Ferdinand Philippe of Orléans, who died at age 32 in 1842.

France was also interested in the turbulent economy of the United States in 1816 and 1817 following the War of 1812 and in the early 1840s following the Panic of 1837. President John Tyler's presidency resulted in a great divide between the President and both the Whig and Democratic parties, with much speculation regarding tariffs, national banks, and political stability.

Source: From the finding aid for C1440

  • French Intelligence Reports on the United States. 1804-1842 (inclusive).

    Call Number: C1440

    At the start of the 19th century, the tumultuous events of Europe and the new government of the United States prompted the government of France employing agents to report on American politics, economics, diplomacy, geographic expansion, and military affairs. This collection consists of thirty-eight confidential, anonymous reports from French agents in the United States over a period of forty years, from the period immediately following the Louisiana Purchase into the early 1840s.