The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976 Page: 108
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Colonies and the Archives Nationales; in London at the Public Record
Office; in Quebec at the Laval Seminary, with important documents on
Catholic missions; in the United States among parish registers of baptisms,
which comprise the principal elements of documentation for this initial
period of colonization. The bibliography also includes an exhaustive list
of secondary works, not neglecting those written by American and Canadian
scholars, who are frequently little known in France. However, Giraud has
constantly addressed himself to the sources, as his footnotes attest. Very
rarely has he relied upon the work of others, who, indeed, could have been
of small assistance to him in a pioneer work of this nature.
The last seventeen years of the reign of Louis XIV chosen by Giraud
for his study (covered in some thirty pages by Sprague), are those of the
War of the Spanish Succession in Europe and its immediate consequences
after the Treaty of Utrecht in 1713. The author does not for a moment
forget that the fate of Louisiana was inevitably decided in Paris and
Versailles. The misfortunes experienced by France in those war years, as
she overextended herself in her conflict with England and the continental
powers, very naturally impeded colonial development and go far to ex-
plain the stagnation and insufficiency of colonists and means in the Louisi-
ana colony. It is the history of a long crisis in which the settlements, con-
stantly threatened from within and from without by the impotence of the
mother country, natural disasters, and hostile European competitors, sur-
vived only through the tenacity and talent of a few, notably Jean Baptiste
Lemoyne, Sieur de Bienville. Titles of chapters such as "Financial Distress,"
"Suspicions and Hostilities," "Poverty and Internal Dissensions," and "Ex-
terior Danger" reflect clearly the constant condition of the colony. The
impression of fragility is conveyed to the very end of the book. The reader,
although aware of the relatively successful later period of colonization,
learns to understand the underlying reasons for the weakness that was
always to characterize the French presence in Louisiana.
The book is the first of Giraud's multivolume master work on the his-
tory of Louisiana. It is to be hoped that successive volumes will soon find
their American translators and publishers.
University of Texas at Austin NANCY N. BARKER
Leaders of Reform: Progressive Republicans in Kansas, z9oo-z916. By
Robert Sherman La Forte. (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press,
1974. Pp. x+320o. $II.)
Professor La Forte's careful investigation of the fortunes of Progressive
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976, periodical, 1975/1976; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101203/m1/126/?rotate=90: accessed April 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.