In the late 19th century, many Americans aspired to move to Paris, France for both social and work related reasons. They aspired to experience the little pleasures” of Paris as they continued building their careers. This can be attributed to the conditions in the United States during this period. This issue explores these reasons while attempting to establish the answer to the question, what was the motive of the urge to emigrate and did the emigrants achieve their desires?
In “The Way overThere”, David McCullough begins by exploring the demographics of the Americans with great interests of moving to Paris, with hopes of a better future for their careers and social lives. These Americans were mostly young, talented Americans with many aspirations. These Americans came from across all states which means the Country had an aura all across spurring among many the need to migrate (McCullough5).For instance, James Fenimore Cooper gave reasons that he needed time in Paris for its pleasures.Others were seeking renewal, like Emma Hart Willard. She was a widow, middle aged and accomplished in her career. She needed to move to a new place for renewal but had to be encouraged to make the trip by her doctor.
In “First Love” by JosephineBaker, Miss Baker grapples with racism and discrimination.Blacks were not allowed to dine with their fellow whites. They were only considered to work as entertainers, waiters, and cooks. As well, whites were discouraged from marrying blacks (Baker .et al 38). Miss Caroline, the lady who comes to make the performance proposal in Paris to her tells her that she will “be treated like a white girl” and paid well (Baker .et al 42). While she worries about how she will be actually received, she fancies the idea.
The aspiring Americans found a hospitable and lively Paris. They did not experience many cultural challenges in France as compared to America. Miss Baker fared well in her adoption of Paris where she Married, and continued to stay with her family. The major push for those who left for Paris was attributed by the predictable life, career growth, and racism.
Josephine, Baker, Jo Bouillon, Josephine Trans, and Mariane Fitzpatrick. First Love. New York: Harper, 1977. Print.
McCullough, David G. The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2011. Print.