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Gustave de Beaumont

Political Disappointment

Upon their arrival in Paris at the end of March, the two friends found the government unwelcoming and there was a cholera (an infectious, often fatal disease of the intestines) epidemic threatening the city. Within two months of their return Beaumont had been dismissed from his post in the government courts and Tocqueville resigned in protest. They kept busy by writing their prison report. It was published early in 1833 in both of their names. Beaumont wrote the main text and provided the sketches for the report. Tocqueville provided footnotes and comments and inspected several French prisons to complete their research.

The men agreed to go their separate ways in further writings about their American experiences. As it turned out, their report, as well as their individual writings, were well received. Tocqueville wrote the widely acclaimed Democracy in America and Beaumont published a novel titled Marie. The novel was based on ethnic relations he had observed in the United States, especially between black and white Americans. Beaumont received national acclaim for the novel as it went through five editions.

In 1836 Beaumont married his cousin, Clementine de Lafayette, who was the granddaughter of the French hero Marquis de Lafayette (1757–1834). Beaumont went to Ireland and gathered information for a second case study that was published in 1839. He turned to national politics in 1840 and was elected to a legislative role in the Chamber of Deputies. Beaumont remained in politics including a term as ambassador to England until his death in Paris on February 22, 1866.

Additional topics

Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationCrime and Criminal LawGustave de Beaumont - French Aristocracy, Political Play, Coming To America, The Prison Report, Political Disappointment