Iris de Rode


“Forging the French-American Alliance in Newport,” by Dr. Iris de Rode highlights the contributions of Chevalier François-Jean de Chastellux to the successful military strategy of the combined French-American army. As well, the French nobleman-philosopher negotiated the delicate task of forging friendships and relationships between American officers and their French counterparts, thereby ensuring a strong military alliance. A high-ranking officer in the French Army stationed at Newport in 1780-81, Chastellux made several reconnaissance trips around New England, New York and the middle-Atlantic, seeking to devise a military strategy that would win the American cause. Dr. de Rode has discovered documents that have been in the Chastellux family in France for centuries, but have been previously unknown to scholars of the French-American alliance. She is the author of François-Jean de Chastellux (1734-1788), un soldat-philosophe dans le monde atlantique à l’époque des Lumières (2022) and the co-author of Le Journal de Dumas (16 juin-6 octobre 1781). Sur les traces de L’indépendance des États-Unis (2018). A recipient of numerous fellowships, Dr. de Rode is working on public history initiatives with the National Park Service, the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association, George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and other historic sites.