France’s role in American life predates the birth of the United States. Our founding Fathers were greatly influenced by French Philosophers of the Enlightenment- Voltaire, Diderot, Rousseau.
Thomas Jefferson loved everything French; Benjamin Franklin loved quite a few French women and spent many years in France. These founding Americans absorbed the concepts of “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” and played them back as they created our country.
The French, in their turn used our Declaration of Independence as a model for drafting their “Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen.”
During our revolution, The Marquis de Lafayette arrived in America bringing many ships loaded with arms and supplies and enthusiastically joined George Washington’s troops to fight for the Revolution. His participation was crucial in winning the war.
In 1831, French thinker and diplomat Alexis de Tocqueville traveled the length and breadth of America analyzing and appreciating its special character. He reported on the considerable success and growth of our recently born country, particularly the way the standard of living was improving for all American citizens and advised Europe to look at what we were doing here.
More currently, French President Emmanuel Macron sings the Marseillaise with his right hand clasped on his heart a la Trump. Macron also adopted the American gesture of raising both hands in the air as a victory sign.Macron worked in an American investment bank for years and speaks American fluently. In another change, France’s “First Ladies” were previously invisible, but Brigitte Macron has stepped onto the stage and acquired an official status .
Before Macron, French President Francois Hollande adopted our concept of televised presidential debates inspired by the Kennedy/Nixon debates.
Going back further we come to Nicolas Sarkozy, also an Americaphile who loved popular music, Elvis Presley, John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe. He was even dubbed “Sarko L’Americain.”
It wasn’t always so. France’s President Charles De Gaulle had disdain for everything American and once proclaimed “Long live Chicago” while he was in San Francisco.
And of course America’s latest President is a French admirer….when it comes to military parades.