Baseball Crank
Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
April 29, 2003
HISTORY: When France Ran the Show

Among its usual celebrations, New Orleans is celebrating the bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase this year. Last night, I got caught up watching a documentary on this topic on the History Channel. The show was actually rather entertaining and highlighted just how much this critical event in U.S. history resulted from a confluence of outside events and American good fortune.

Specifically, Napoleon's disastrous efforts to put down the slave rebellion in Haiti were emphasized. One historian referred to it as "Napoleon's Vietnam." I know extremely little about Haiti, except that it's not high on my list of vacation spots, so the tale of the then-mighty French army being gradually destroyed by yellow fever and guerrilla warfare was quite educational.

The failure of the Haitian campaign was apparently a critical factor motivating France's willingness to sell not just the port of New Orleans, as Thomas Jefferson wanted, but all of the vast Louisiana territory, which includes over 40% of the continental United States.

Anyway, this is a show worth checking out in its inevitable repeats.

Posted by The Mad Hibernian at 07:46 PM | History | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)
Comments

Of course, Haiti wasn't France's Vietnam. That would be Vietnam.

Posted by: The Crank at April 30, 2003 09:09 PM
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