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Article Review Assignment

Article Review Assignment

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Published by Kristen Cassels

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Published by: Kristen Cassels on May 17, 2012
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Kristen CasselsArticle Review Assignment10-4-11HIST-360-097-FallI have always felt that being from Louisiana gave me a certain distinction. There is an air aboutus that cannot be explained. I am sure that it is our scattered culture and general easy way of life
that makes us this way. How did we get to this, “Laissez les bons temps rouler” lifestyle? I think 
it can only be discovered by starting from the beginning.Louisiana Native Americans, Frenchman, Africans, Acadians, Germans, and the Spanishfounded Louisiana in the eighteenth century. The frontier where they settled gradually dissolvedthe distinctiveness of each culture. The frontier operated with efficacy and opportunity led togenerations of mixed heritage. Even though European laws sought to preserve old world class
and ethnic distinctions, in Louisiana’s frontier environment they were
a complete failure.Louis XIV reigned in France when the Europeans first settled in Louisiana. As the seventeenth(17
th
) century came to a close, England, France, and Spain simultaneously realized thatopportunity knocked. All three powers outfitted expeditions to colonize the northern shores of what is now the Gulf of Mexico. All arrived in early 1699, with Spain headed for the best harbornear Florida. France set their sights on the mouth of the Mississippi River.
France’s enterprising leaders Pierre Le Moyne d’
Iberville and his younger brother Jean-BaptistLe Moyne de Bienville made contact with the Native Americans (Wall 32). With their help theyexplored the natural connections between the Gulf Coast and the Mississippi River. Theytraveled through lakes and bayous of present day Orleans, Jefferson, St. Charles, and St. John theBaptist parishes (Dehart). In late 1699, Bienville penetrated Bayou St. John to the MississippiRiver; he embarked in Native American Pirogues to explore downstream. Just twelve milesbelow New Orleans, he met the first English explorers. England had hesitated exploring thisnew wilderness. Bienville convinced the English ship crew the French had already settled thearea. The English ship turned around and departed. The turn remains a memorable moment inLouisiana history. I can only imagine the magnitude of change this would of brought to ourhistory.The sudden
burst of interest
” in new frontiers is a
characteristic of natural and human history.The discoveries and changes are not steady, nor predictable. Such was the exploration and
settling of Louisiana’s gulf coast.
 
 
Native Americans flowed into the developing Louisiana. The Mississippi River graduallypushed soil southward, extending the coastline by 1700, when the Europeans came to settle, theNative Americans had broken into numerous distinct groups. Before the arrival of the Europeansin the sixteenth (16
th
) century, Louisiana only had one inhabitant which was theNativeAmericans.There were over twenty-five (25) different tribal groups across the wooded areas of the state. I am saddened by the fact that today there are only four recognized tribes in the wholestate of Louisiana. Chitimachas were south of Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River;Muskhogeans were north of Lake Pontchartrain. Their most famous tribe was the Houma, whospoke a Choctaw dialect. Bayougoula clustered at single village in the site of modern day BayouGoula. Atakapas occupied southwest Louisiana. The Natchez were astride the Mississippi. Thewestern groups were the Avoyel people, they were know to be excellent traders. Tunicas were in
the northern region, and Caddo’s were in the northwest
(Redish). Numerous additional groupsmoved into Louisiana during the course of the eighteenth (18
th
) century.The Native American presence facilitated European settlement. Native Americans explored thebest lands to form villages and they knew the best waterways. These were the most importantLouisiana settlements and attracted the Europeans. Though the Native Americans brought manyadvantages to the Europeans, it is hard to find reciprocal benefits for the Native Americans. Themeeting of the Europeans and Native Americans in the 18
th
century was disastrous for theNatives (Redish). Disease, slavery, and warfare tragically decimated the tribes.While the Native American population plummeted in the 18
th
century, the European and Africanpopulation increased only haltingly. By 1731 the population of Louisiana stood at about 3,000slaves and 2,000 Caucasians. It doubled by
the 1750’s
and in 1769, 4,000 blacks and whitesfarmed along the Mississippi river between New Orleans and Pointe Coupee (Dehart). Of thethousands who arrived in Louisiana over the next two centuries, many died from epidemicdiseases that came on the same ships carried by the immigrants.Because Louis XIV successfully claimed Louisiana, Frenchman were the first Europeans tosettle within Louisiana boundaries (Wall 32). By 1730, New Orleans was a real town, whileother Natchitoches and Pointe Coupee villages were still unrecognizable. By this year NewOrleans has a school, convent, goldsmith, locksmith, gunsmith, bakers, carpenters, and the firstSt. Louis Church. The governor of Louisiana, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville and hissuperior council were firmly settled in New Orleans. Bienville served three terms as governorand departed Louisiana in 1741. He succeeded in making his personal fortune through landgrants and trade. Pierre de Rigaud, marquis de Vasudreuil, followed Bienville in the 1740s and
France’s Louisiana colony achieved its brightest prospects during his tenure. His depature and
replacement in 1753 by Louis Billouart de Kerlerec led to administrative failure that determinedthe French Crown to donate Louisiana to Spain in 1763.Louisiana, like all the English, Dutch, and French colonies of the 18
th
century, commenced withAfrican American slavery. In Louisiana however, the frontier rather than slavery, shaped the
 
lifestyle of the people. The frontier made the Louisiana slave society fluid. Within a few yearsof arriving in Louisiana, a few slaves made the transition to freedom. The French had come toLouisiana with riches on their minds. They were all capitalist or, as they would say, bourgeois.The French settlers of Louisiana quickly learned that land was cheap and slavery was a tool toachieve wealth. First the Company of the Indies granted promising French families concessionsor grants of land. Then to those who seemed to the the hardest working, the company soldgroups of slaves on terms. Those who received the slaves became the successful Frenchplanters. Three later groups were anti-slavery in their lifestyle, the Germans, the Acadians, andthe Islenos. But they were essentially refugees seeking not wealth but a better way of life.One of the strongest foundations of Louisiana was the German settlement. The census taken in1722 found a total German population of 330 men, women
and children. The German’s
specialized in vegetables which they sold in New Orleans markets. They grew corn in order tofeed their livestock and rice for the New Orleans market soon became a major product.Between 1755 and 1785 a fourth major population entered Louisiana, the Acadians. Frenchresidents of Nova Scotia evicted them, sending them fleeing. They settled in St. Martinville inMay 1765. Approximately five thousand Acadians moved to Louisiana by 1785. The Acadiansbrought to Louisiana a culture that could and would flourish.The Creole transition began in the 1770s. One of the achievements of the Creole transition wasthe creation of the unique Louisiana system of civil law. Based on Spanish and Frenchprecedents, in the nineteenth century it made Louisiana the most progressive state in the Unionfor Family law. In the rest if the country the husband was head of the house and free to sell anddispose of all of the private estate withough consulting anyone, especially his wife. In Louisianathe ancient clauses of the cival law insisted that at marriage a community property was formed.Another gift of the Creole era is Creole architecture, exemplified by the Creole cottage, theCreole countryhouse, and the Creole townhouse. One of my favorite aspects of Louisiana is thearchitecture of the dated homes.
American’s brou
ght the Greek Revival Style to Louisiana. Butit never became as dominant here simply because of the competition from the France and theCreole types.In the writing of New Orleans in 1800, James Pitit describes many qualities of the state that havesurvived right to the present. One of the more remarkable is the great power of the governor. In
Pitot’s view the governor kept all supervisory duties in his own hands. All
licenses andpermissions had to be specifically approved by him. A gratuity was a necessary condition. Of 
gambling and thievery Pitit wrote, “The government is aware of and permits all of that; and woe
unto the minor official who would want to stop it. The governor general reserves the right to
decide when gambling causes abuses…”
(Reeves).The most popular social activity thoughout Louisiana was dancing, and balls were anticipated,planned, and participated in everywhere during none months of the year. To make an

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