Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The Bonapartes in America. By Clarence Edward Macartney and
Gordon Dorrance. (Philadelphia: Dorrance and Company,
1939. Pp. xvi, 272. Bibliography, illustrations. $3.00.)
The Napoleonic tradition lives on, and books dealing with the
Napoleonic theme continue to be written. The authors say that
they spent more than ten years in research tracing the connection
of the Bonapartist family with America. The result is a very
interesting story of the part this colorful family has played in
the history of the western hemisphere.
The romance of Jerome Bonaparte and Elizabeth Patterson is
portrayed in tragedy and pathos. Nevertheless, the consequences
of this unfortunate and unhappy marriage are illuminating, if
not fascinating. The one son of this union was the progenitor
of the American branch of the Bonaparte family, each of whom
is discussed in detail. The most able member and the one who
contributed most to American life was Charles Joseph Bonaparte.
He was not only an able lawyer, a civic and social reformer, but
served as Secretary of the Navy and also Attorney General under
President Theodore Roosevelt. He was thoroughly American and
one of the first "see America first" enthusiasts.
The members of the European branch of the family that came
to America learned to admire our freedom and democratic way
of life. Nevertheless, they remained thoroughly European and
none more so than Joseph, the brother of Napoleon I. His home
was in Bordentown, N. J., but he spent much time on his exten-
sive estate in the northern part of New York.
The machinations of Napoleon III in Mexico, as well as the
sale of Louisiana to the United States by Napoleon I, are well
known. However, the family played a part indirectly in the
history of Alabama through the Napoleonic exiles; in Florida
through the Murats; in North Carolina through Peter Stewart
Ney; and in Texas through the settlement of Napoleon's veterans
at Champ d'Asile.
The Bonapartes make interesting reading, not only for their
known connection with our history, but also for the gossip and
rumors that have been associated with the family. Likewise, re-
lating the details of the numerous American 'plots to rescue
Napoleon from St.' Helena continues to stir the imagination of
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 43, July 1939 - April, 1940. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101111/. Accessed April 21, 2014.