Why Did France Lose North America?

Background context: New France surrendered in 1760, leaving North America pregnant with the USA. An immediate consequence was the further rise of cruelty in North America, with the further expansion of slavery, expropriation and the near complete extermination of the Natives. Another consequence was the boosting of racist, militarist Prussia, its malevolence overrunning Europe, for many generations to come, culminating with the apocalyptic world wars of 1914-1945 which wrecked Eurasia. The most significant consequence, though, was the triumph of the over-exploitative extermination colonial model, over the gentle trading model and “mission civilisatrice” the French practiced (and which, confronted to the extermination model, got exterminated, naturally enough).  

Dreadful consequences all over: Contemplating the success of the American holocaust, enthused by the success of ferocity against colonization as “mission civilisatrice”, frenzied forms of colonizations similar to the US extermination model sprouted all over to duplicate the American experience: King Leopold in Congo, snatched an entire country for himself, to make them all into his slaves, and the alternative was death. The Prussians conducted deliberate extermination of African populations. Even Britain declared war to force Zhong Guo, the “Central State”, 5,000 years old, China, the sister civilization, to overdose on opium (the British idea of free trade!) The towering successes of having holocaust serving greed propagated to Turkey (when the Young Turks allied themselves to racist, holocaustic Germany, bringing the Armenian holocaust) or the Japanese empire (which started to view the Chinese the way the Germans viewed Slavs and Jews, as the new Native Americans to profitably exterminate, by having them all die, and steal all they had…)

The loss of New France is more than historical, it was a conflict of philosophies. And it is extremely relevant today.

Would civilization be technologically different if New France had kept on going? Certainly not: the region known as France nowadays was always at the forefront of technology, for the deepest reason: location. But the really interesting observation is that the collapse of New France was greatly a consequence, not just of the hatred of some English plutocrats, but also of some factors inherent to France. In some ways France was too civilized (New France couldn’t resist the cynicism, money and ferocity deployed by English speaking America), in other ways, New France was not civilized enough (French idealism prevented to implement enough realism, a well-known French atavism; the religious wars came at the wrong moment, the Sixteenth Century; and Louis XIV’s persecution, and expulsion of 10% of France, often the best, the Protestants, had terrible direct and indirect consequences).

The philosophical interferences between these sums over histories is not over, quite the opposite (it’s similar to a Quantum computation, and it is not over). It is of greater import than ever. Right now what is at stake is not just a New France, hundreds of Native American and African nations, and the equivalent of the 100+ million Chinese and Europeans who died in the 1914-1945 wars. It is the entire planet that is at stake: we are clearly heading towards a 4 degree Celsius global temperature rise. Not by coincidence, the USA is now producing more oil than ever, and more than anybody else (thanks to be addressed to Obama; Trump needs no encouragement: he is successfully pursuing the coal export policy launched by… Obama, you guessed it).

***  

Jean de Verrazane and other French explorers visited the entire eastern shore of North America on French boats, starting before 1508 CE. In particular New Angoulême (French: Nouvelle-Angoulême) was the name given in April 1524 by the Tuscany born da Verrazzano (1481-1528) to the future New York. Jacques Cartier succeeded Verrazane in “Canada” in 1534 CE. Cartier reported that the Natives didn’t think that French colonization was a good idea: they lived, just so. The French pointed out that they knew intense agricultural techniques enabling to feed much more from the land, so maybe they could squeeze in. So the French dutifully started a trading model of interaction with the naive Natives: we give you our know-how, you gave us your furs.

I am saying that the Natives were “naive” because of what happened in the end: they should have seen it coming. They should have known better, and cooperate maximally with the French had they been smarter. Self-examination, well-done, would have brought greater smarts.

Native Americans were wont to exterminate each other. It didn’t require much imagination to guess that the decent deal the French were offering was the best imaginable. If the invading Europeans started to behave like the Native American themselves, the latter were going to be exterminated. That was clear. And it is exactly what happened.

***

Native Americans’ Self-Destructive Viciousness:

Here is an example: the Iroquois massacred the Hurons in the Seventeenth Century; the root cause was that the Hurons had been civilized by the French, so were left defenseless against their old neighbours, the savage Iroquois confederation. The Iroquois always detested the Hurons. As soon as the Hurons had become soft, sedentarized, using intense agriculture taught by the French, and praying to the ever forgiving Lord Jesus, they were easy prey.   

Thus, had they contemplated reality for a moment, the Native Americans in Canada could have realized that it would be smarter to get allied to the well-disciplined, government organized French than possibly be exposed to rogue white tribes.

Smart alliance is what happened during the conquest of Meso America. Although the Aztec empire fought to death, it lost because Cortez found hundreds of thousands of Native allies, most of the nations and cities subjects of Tenochtitlan, or in outright war with it. It was a military alliance: Cortez had hundreds of thousands of copper tipped bolts made to exacting standards for Spanish crossbows.  

It was not all a deliberately human engineered holocaust, at least in the Sixteenth Century. Toribio Motolinia, a Spanish monk that witnessed the smallpox epidemic, wrote: “It became such a great pestilence among them throughout the land that in most provinces more than half the population died; in others the proportion was less. They died in heaps, like bedbugs.”

Smallpox was a factor in the Fall of Mexico to the Conquistadores. The emperor, many top lords and perhaps half the Aztec army died from it.

***

Patrice’s Little Proof That North America Had 100 Million Inhabitants:

As Stony Brook University “the French Mapping of New York and New England, 1604-1760” puts it: “The French contributions to the early mapping of the northeastern United States are frequently overlooked. Usually when we think of colonial mapping of this area, English and in some cases Dutch maps come to mind. However… French cartographers often made the earliest and the best maps of much of what is now the northeastern United States.

  The neglect of these French maps is mostly the result of national biases. The best recent work on colonial-era French maps of North America has been done by Canadian scholars… American historians have been preoccupied with other subjects, such as the westward expansion of the United States, and French exploration and mapping do not fit in very well with the main themes of U.S.history. Besides, students of American history tend to be allergic to foreign languages, and consequently they usually view events through the eyes of British or American witnesses.

When in 1604, Samuel de Champlain explored exactly the same places the Mayflower colonists would, fifteen years later, he reported that the land was too full of Native Americans to accept French colonists. However, by the time the Mayflower showed up, most of the population was dead. Presumably from a smallpox epidemics: European cod boats were just off the coast, in full view, and some crew landed.

The preceding is well-known. My conclusion, though, is new. Think of it: Champlain said the population of Massachusetts was of a density similar to France. Now the arable land of North America temperate and lush such like the best agricultural land of France was at least five times that of France (that’s an underestimate; and half of France is mountains). What was the population of France? Twenty millions in 1600. Now 20 x 5 = 100! One may say that I am exaggerating here. But not really: the USA most arable, French like land is really around 3 million square kilometers (excluding the West, Alaska, Great Lakes, Florida, Louisiana, etc; personal evaluation).

Now, of course, many Native Americans died from a lack of resistance to Afroeurasiatic diseases (somewhat still mysterious, modern biology doesn’t get it yet) .

***

Native Americans Were All Too Close Genetically & Isolated:

Not all the details are in to elucidate this dark biology. In particular it is possible that there was a genetic contact between “Australasians” and… Amazonians (!) (we know this from both direct genetic trace, and the fact the Sweet Potato, initially from South America is found in New Guinean highlands…).

But the big picture is this: the future Native Americans were isolated in Beringia for maybe around 10,000 years (say between 25,000 and 16,000 BCE). The cause was the Last Glacial Maximum: the giant glaciers isolated Eastern Siberia and Alaska in a common land mass, centered around the present Behring Straight, There a population comprising as low as 2,000 women interbred and thrived. When the glaciers shrank a bit around 16,000 years ago, a very small subpopulation squeezed along the coast with boats, squirting the glacial outlets, and invaded the Americas. They took less than 2,000 years to arrive in Southern Chile.

But they were genetically compressed, from an original Siberian stock which was already pretty isolated from the Africano-Eurasiatic biologic.

However, as we will see next, it is not biology which was most devastating to the Native Americans, but the philosophy that the English-speaking colonists, or, more exactly initially, their masters wielded. That mentality was straight from the Bible, Anglo-Saxon and Viking invasions. It was a mentality founded on greed as the supreme value, and few qualms at implementing it…

New France was lost, because its philosophy was less militarily effective than the philosophy of its English enemy. One can’t just scoff, and pontificate that philosophy don’t have to be militarily effective. If a philosophy is killed by killing its followers, occupying their lands, making its documents disappear, never to be seen again, it doesn’t matter how right it was.

Fortunately, in the case of New France, the state died, but the philosophy is not dead yet. Far from it, as we will see…

(To be continued…)

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4 Responses to “Why Did France Lose North America?”

  1. s. lang Says:

    In Le Mal Francais Jean Peyrefitte noted that the French had a law saying that only Catholics in good standing could go to New France – thus eliminating the one population who might have had the biggest motivation to go there, the Protestants, France’s version of British heretics who came here. Catholics had no reason in most cases to leave if they owned land, had jobs, etc. By the time of the Louisiana Purchase I think Napoleon had realized that France had blown it in relation to its North American territories and it would take too many decades to reverse the error, so selling for what he could get may not have been a bad move. Peyrefitte also wrote that persecution of Protestants has had a severe effect on France over centuries, driving out people, capital, tools, etc., and says it is the reason Switzerland has had (or at one time did have) more Nobel prize winners than any other country, it was the beneficiary of immigrant scientists who were religious refugees.

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    • Patrice Ayme Says:

      Hello S.Lang, and welcome! Your comments will go straight henceforth (I use “moderation” only on the first comment for contributors).
      What you say about Protestantism and New France is very true. But the Catholics were full of hatred, culminating with Louis XIV’s Revocation of the Nantes Edict….
      The Caroline colonies were founded by French Protestants in the Sixteenth Century (complete with the name Caroline). They had good relations with the natives, but were exterminated by Philippe II of Spain…

      Napoleon was the pits in more way than one. Had he gone defensive (as Sade had stridently said should be done… Nap sent him, a hero of the Revolution, to a mental asylum), he could have send a tiny fraction of his army to Louisiana and change history… for the best. The cult of Napoleon is a form of criminally insane masochism…

      First effect of Louis criminal, Hitler like insanity, was the War Of the Spanish succession. He lost because of that. Where I write now used to be French territory for another 100 kilometers going straight east. And people spoke French (until Mussolini). Now it’s Italian. I love Italians, my mom’s doctors are Italian, I speak Italian… HOWEVER, France was long the only Republic in Europe. Had France been stronger, much adversity would not have occurred…
      I should read that Peyrefitte book…

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      • s. lang Says:

        Thank you for the response. Another book you might consider if you are not already familiar with it is “Psychanalyse d’Alsace” by Frédéric Hoffet, exploring the phenomenon of people from a Germanic background trying to fit into a French speaking universe, a category that I have been in at times. I found it at a flea market in Strasbourg in 2016, and while I was there saw people with my last name turning up in captions on TV frequently. The book was heralded as a new genre of writing and thinking by 400 reviewers. Hoffet then wrote “Psychanalyse de Paris” and the same people panned him and his writing career was over. I was there shortly after learning I had great grand parents born across the river in Baden-Baden, which was launched on a gentrification / aristocrat tourism path after Napoleon installed his step-daughter, a Beaharnais, as ruler in about 1805, which I think reached a fever pitch at the time my ggparents left in 1888. There seems to be really nothing there but the casino which I was told is frequented by Russian mobsters and high rollers. The baths have been modified from their ancient Roman configuration and I was not impressed. Unfortunately for my ggfather, a baker, he ran into all the worst things going on in the American workplace at that time, mechanization of the industry in Chicago and management battles against labor unions in St. Louis. He was forced into retirement in 1904 at age 52 though he lived to be 88.

        After being blacklisted as a writer, Hoffet went back to school in midlife and became a lawyer defending alternative practitioners persecuted by the medical industry, another source of interest to me.

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        • Patrice Ayme Says:

          All very interesting. Indeed, most individuals’psychology has an enormous collective component, especially the effective, practical interaction part. For example the Germans had been pretty much turned into militarized, empire-greedy robots by 1914 (and that was not stamped out in 1919, hence the repeat with Nazism, as Clemenceau had predicted…)
          I am saying this, not as an anti-German, just the opposite. Actually present day Germany would be the first ally of the French Republic against the Third Reich (if one could organize such as weird, cross-temporal confrontation…)
          The number one problem of humanity now is that the collective minds matter crucially, and can’t leave us indifferent, as ballistic missiles are at most 45 minutes away, and when they carry nukes, it’s not a matter of just duck and cover. Worrying about alien ideologies: security!

          In more ways than one, the USA is the French Republic, writ large…

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