Gustave de Beaumont's Marie; ou, L'esclavage aux États-Unis, tableau de mœurs américaines

While traveling across America with Alexis de Tocqueville, Beaumont had the opportunity to witness the system of chattel slavery that was practiced at the time. While French slavery continued into the 19th century with its Caribbean colonies, it had largely been abolished in France during the Revolution and First Republic in the 1790s. Written as a romance novel, this work provides a critique of the social injustice of slavery and the discriminatory system of racial hierarchy it created. In the novel, a French traveler falls in love with Marie, a woman who has a Black ancestor, who becomes the subject of racist aggression. The couple is ultimately forced to flee into the wilderness where Marie tragically dies. This work also included an appendix regarding Beaumont’s thoughts and observations of the Native Americans he encountered in his travels. While this work was popular in France immediately after its publication in 1835, with five editions released over the next seven years, it did not have a lasting impact and was not translated into English until the mid-twentieth century.

Gustave de Beaumont (1802-1866).
Marie; ou, L'esclavage aux États-Unis, tableau de mœurs américaines;
Paris: C. Gosselin, 1840.

Lehigh University Catalog Record:

A version of this text has been digitized and is available through Hathitrust.

Digitized Version