Auguste Levasseur

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André-Nicolas Levasseur (Auguste Levasseur) was a 19th-century French writer and diplomat known in the United States for accompanying the Marquis de La Fayette during his last trip to the Americas and in the Caribbean and Mexico for his involvement in French imperialism.

Lafayette's secretary[edit]

Levasseur is better known in the English-speaking world as the personal secretary of Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette, during his last visit to the United States, from July 1824 to September 1825.[1]

In 1829, he published his travel's notes and memoirs in two volumes with the title of Lafayette en Amérique, en 1824 et 1825 ou Journal d'un voyage aux États-Unis. That same year, one translation appeared in German and two in English (New York City & Philadelphia). A fourth translation, this time in Dutch, was published in 1831. Since then, Levasseur's work has been an important source of information to historians. It continues to be cited as an important primary source; particularly as an account's witness of the events surrounding Lafayette's celebrated visit.[2]

French diplomat to Haiti and Mexico[edit]

After gaining prominence through the publication of Lafayette's memories (or travel log) Levasseur became active in the French international arena. In 1838 he was appointed as consul to Haiti with the tasks of ensuring the indemnity payment that President Jean Pierre Boyer had agreed in 1825 and of bringing the young Black Republic closer to a protectorate with France.[3][4]

In 1843, while Haiti struggled between new reform liberal forces and the independence movement in the east, Levasseur involved himself in the internal politics by suggesting to Dominican leaders the idea of becoming a protectorate of France. France would supply money, arms and protection with the condition of giving up the Samana Bay and allowing France to appoint a governor. This plan did not work, and Levasseur is seen today as an example of unwelcome imperial intervention in the postcolonial world for Haitian and Dominican authors alike.[5][6]

Not long after failing as a diplomat in Haiti, Levasseur was appointed again to another French imperial intervention in the Americas: the case of Mexico.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Bourdin, Philippe (2009). La Fayette, entre deux mondes. Clermont-Ferrand, France: Presses universitaires Blaise-Pascal. 
  2. ^ Franklin, Wayne (August 2009). ""Everything was Subordinated to Him": Cooper's Resistance to Lafayette". Keynote Address- Presented at the 16th Cooper Seminar, James Fenimore Cooper: His Country and His Art at the State University of New York College at Oneonta, July 2007. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  3. ^ Brière, Jean-François (2008). Haïti et la France, 1804–1848 le rêve brisé. Paris: Karthala. pp. 253–300. ISBN 2845869681. 
  4. ^ Madiou, Thomas (1846). Histoire d'Haiti. Port-au-Prince: Impr. de J. Courtois. pp. 19, 46, 83, 92. 
  5. ^ Moya Pons, Frank (2010). The Dominican Republic: A National History. Princeton, NJ: Markus Wiener Publishers. p. 150. ISBN 9781558765191. 
  6. ^ Nicholls, David (1995). From Dessalines to Duvalier: Race Colour, and National Independence in Haiti. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. pp. 76 & 277. ISBN 0813522390. 
  7. ^ Barker, Nancy Nichols (1979). The French experience in Mexico, 1821–1861: a history of constant misunderstanding. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press. p. 118. ISBN 0807813397. 

Sources[edit]