Napoleon Bonaparte’s Personal #Brand

Napoleon didn’t like sitting for portraits, and yet artists and mass market prints helped cement his legendary status. By Matthew Wills Corsican-born Napoleon Bonaparte, known for conquering much of Europe and crowning himself Emperor of the French, knew the importance of good iconography. Portraiture and propaganda were crucial elements of his life story, which began with his[…]

Between Two Republics: American Military Volunteers in Revolutionary France

Most of these Americans left behind little evidence explaining why they took up arms for the French at a time when the official policy of the United States was one of neutrality. Introduction Historians have long recognized the vital contributions of French soldiers and officers to the American colonists during the American Revolution. Without the[…]

Abraham Lincoln in European Popular Culture

Lincoln has generally been absent as a model in European social and public life, rarely emphasized as an essential part of education or in the public forum. By Dr. John DeanMaître de Conférences 9° of Cultural History and American StudiesUniversity of Versailles Saint-Quentin en Yvelines Introduction This article argues that Lincoln is not a universal[…]

Statues and Status: Lincoln in Europe

The exponential growth of his popularity built into a memorial crescendo. Lincoln’s ascension to the status of icon was not smooth and steady. Journalist Horace Greeley predicted in April of 1865 that the sixteenth President’s reputation would grow proportionate to the distance from his own era, and it grew steadily from his death in 1865,[…]

How Vain, Stubborn, Thin-Skinned George Washington Grew Up

Through the trauma of war, and by learning from his mistakes, the first president gained empathy and gravitas. At 21 years of age, George Washington was a very different man than the one we know and hold sacred, different from the stately commander, the selfless first president, the unblemished father of our country staring off[…]

George Washington’s Deep Self-Doubt

The first president was indispensable to our early republic, precisely because he didn’t see himself as indispensable. By Dr. Robert L. MiddlekauffHotchkis Professor Emeritus of American HistoryUniversity of California, Berkeley Revolutions tend to get hijacked, going from being about the people to being about the triumphant revolutionary leaders. And so the French Revolution begat Napoleon,[…]