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Versailles et l’Indépendance américaine

Colloque, École nationale supérieure d’architecture de Versailles, 5 juillet 2016
Versailles and American Independence. Symposium, École nationale supérieure d’architecture de Versailles, 5 July 2016

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Credits: © RMN-Grand Palais (Château de Versailles) / Droits réservés

The exhibition Versailles and American Independence, presented at the Château de Versailles in 2016, highlighted the importance of Franco-American relations at the end of the Ancien Régime. Under the reign of Louis XVI, the Château de Versailles, France’s centre of power and government, was an important site in the establishment of American independence and its recognition by European powers. American diplomacy was first exercised here.

The account and interpretation of the events are reliant on contemporaneous testimonies to highlight the American, English and French points of view, and so studied by historians of the three countries in order to understand the evolution of the ways of thinking and to confront the political, literary and artistic representations of the American Revolution.

Following this practice, the symposium held on 5 July 2016 examined international relations during the War of Independence. Because the continued compliance of France and Spain was not certain: monarchies had supported rebels against their king and accepted this new republic; then French officers agreed to fight under the authority of their former enemy. On both sides of the Atlantic the spirit of the Enlightenment allowed for rapprochements. But at one time or another, curiosity and enthusiasm had to confront the reality and the immensity of a territory little known to Europeans, from the pragmatism of the former colonies’ inhabitants to the engineers’ efficiency and the military hierarchy. By simultaneously addressing European and American viewpoints, presentations will focus on the dialogues of cultures and representations in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries.

Consult the complete programme.

Research directors: Valérie Bajou, Matilde-Maria Cassandro-Malphettes.

Electronic publication: 13 October 2017.

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