French frigate L’Hermione in Cherbourg
On Sunday, May the 5th 2019, The Tocqueville Foundation organized a special event around Lafayette and Tocqueville on the occasion of the presence of the French frigate L’Hermione in Cherbourg, during the festivities of the 75th anniversary of the Victory of the Allies. It started with a show of three small drama scenes. Two of them were specially written for the event. The first one “La Fayette nous voilà” (LaFayette here we come), written by Theodore Laugée, staged a dialogue between La Fayette and General Pershing. The second one was an excerpt from a play written by Hippolyte Wouters, called The Exile. It stages Alexis de Tocqueville speaking with his wife Mary of leaving France to settle in England or in the United States. The last scene was written by the actor Jean-Pierre Leblanc. He imagined a dialogue between La Fayette’s and Alexis de Tocqueville’s ghosts.
The show was followed by a debate moderated by Laure Mandeville, Senior Reporter at Le Figaro, on the theme of the Franco-American relationship. It addressed the current state of the relationship, as well as its historical strength (through an evocation of Lafayette and Tocqueville). Henry Wooster of the United States’ embassy, Benjamin Haddad, Europe’s Director at the Atlantic Council and Edouard Guillaud, former Chief of Staff of the French armed forces, discussed both the specifics and depth of this strategic relationship (competitors and partners), as well as the current challenges in the Age of Trump and of the redefinition of America’s place in the world. A the end of the day, we visited the frigate l’Hermione with a beautiful sunset and a mild weather. After a journey back in time, it felt like escaping to unknown continents.