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The Bourgeois FrontierFrench Towns, French Traders, and American Expansion$
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Jay Gitlin

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780300101188

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: October 2013

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300101188.001.0001

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“Avec bien du regret”: The Americanization of Creole St. Louis and French Detroit

“Avec bien du regret”: The Americanization of Creole St. Louis and French Detroit

(p.139) 7 “Avec bien du regret”: The Americanization of Creole St. Louis and French Detroit
The Bourgeois Frontier

Jay Gitlin

Yale University Press

Despite playing a unique and significant role in the history of American expansion, the francophone merchants of the bourgeois frontier found that the cultural landscape of the region they had helped establish could not accommodate their own distinctive culture. By the 1840s, the language and cultural practices of the French seemed to have disappeared in the very cities they had founded. German and Irish immigrants quickly dominated the Catholic institutions they established and supported. In Detroit and St. Louis, francophone merchant families became centered in the genteel enclaves of Hamtramck, Grosse Pointe, and Frenchtown (Soulard) but continued to exercise both political and economic power throughout the first half of the nineteenth century and beyond. This chapter explores the persistence of French or Creole culture in Creole St. Louis and French Detroit, as well as the Americanization of both cities during the nineteenth century.

Keywords:   American expansion, francophone merchants, bourgeois frontier, French, Detroit, St. Louis, Creole, Americanization

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