Why Do Americans Hate the French?

How a nation of 65 million people got on our bad side.

Brian Palmer

A new ad from a liberal advocacy group shows Mitt Romney speaking in French while intentionally mistranslated subtitles make the case that he’s a flip-flopper. Surrogates for George W. Bush accused John Kerry of "looking French" during the 2004 campaign. Why do Americans hate the French?

Some of it comes from the British. From the first years of the French Republic, Americans depicted France as everything the United States was not and did not wish to become. Alexander Hamilton said, “There is no real resemblance between what was the cause of America and what is the cause of France.” (He identified the former as liberty and the latter as licentiousness.) Still, much of our anti-French bias can be traced back to merry England, which had been fighting its cross-channel rival for centuries. Today, when American critics link a politician to France, they are exploiting a variety of long-held stereotypes, some of which are no longer accurate, and many of which were unfair to begin with. Nevertheless, the perceptions seem unshakeable.

The French are effeminate and cowardly…

The French are corrupt and lack idealism…

The French are too theoretical…

France is elitist…

France is collectivist, and doesn’t respect liberty…

… Read More>>

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