Before the fifties Americans working on French history generally preferred to conduct research at the national level. Their research underscored intellectual trends of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in that a great number of their monographs centered on national politics, intellectual developments, institutional history, and military and political profiles. Their research interests also reflected their social origins. Many were from prosperous families, perhaps, not far removed from the most influential centers of American political and educational life. Undoubtedly, they interpreted historical events, the making of history, as the business of powerful white men-which was, in the United States, certainly the reality of the time. Their orientation and conceptual framework, of course, contrasted sharply with that of the Annales, the school of French historians who saw the power brokers on top less as movers and shakers, and more as a function of the greater historical forces of climate, geography, economics and culture- all reverberating from below.