Aristocratic Encounters relates how an aristocratic discourse on American Indians took shape in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Titled and educated French and German visitors to North America, with the background of the French Revolution in mind, developed a new belief in their affinity with the warrior elites of Indian societies, whom they viewed as fellow aristocrats. The book includes chapters on major figures, such as Chateaubriand and Tocqueville, and on lesser, often instructive, travelers. The book contributes to a burgeoning transatlantic, even transnational, form of historical writing, crossing national boundaries to ask how Europeans understood cultures vastly different from their own.
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