"Dr. Finley's book is a tribute, and a tribute passionate and earnest, to France. The heart of America to which he puts his ear is not the Mississippi Valley, but the actual pulsing organ which is the seat of our national life today." -New York Times, 1915 The French pioneers in America left a lasting impact on the vitality and democratic ideals of the present-day United States. Through this collection of chapters originally penned as lectures for French audiences, Finley hints that the French, more than the English, played an instrumental role in the development of the American national identity and industries. The narrative spans the sixteenth through the twentieth centuries and retraces French pioneers' journeys through the inner waterways of America, from the St. Lawrence River Valley to the Gulf of Mexico. A tribute to the French, this work conveys a sense of heritage to those contemporary inhabitants of what was once New France. The first French pioneers-including Cartier, Champlain, Bri1/2beuf, and La Salle-forged delicate relationships with the land, valleys, and rivers of the newly discovered North American continent. Though their nation's tie to America ended officially when France sold all of her holdings in 1803, the spirit of their labor lives on. French ideals survived in the political foundations of America. The first trade systems developed by the French blossomed into the industrial belt of the Mississippi Valley and the Great Lakes region.
"The equalities, freedoms, and fraternities of the frontier" first settled by the French became the political priorities of the American nation.