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The Road to Texas

The Road to Texas

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By Victor Considerant
Translated by Paola Tettamanzi Buckley

Publication Date: September 24, 2024

A historical document reintroducing Dallas as an early French socialist utopia, pieced from journal entries, letters, and sketches of French scholar Victor Considerant.

Paperback: 9781646052653
eBook: 9781646052868


In the aftermath of the French Revolution, where visions of egalitarian futures brewed, Victor Considerant set off with a legion of over two hundred European settlers to create their own socialist utopia. Their settlement was La Réunion, just thirty miles outside of Downtown Dallas, along the scenic Trinity river. Utopian visions clashed with the harsh agrarian realities of Texas, as the settlers – academics, musicians and intellectuals – floundered in the heat, and La Réunion wilted.

Victor Considerant’s name can be found everywhere in Dallas, but the history of its provenance is not as ubiquitous. Collecting his journal entries, letters to friends back home, and sketches of his surroundings, The Road to Texas provides a glimpse into his ambitions and visions and a sketch of 18th century Dallas. Full of lush descriptions, ardent aspirations, and harsh lessons, it is both an incisive, informative documentation of the founding of Dallas, and an important historical resource to re-examine our present.

Biographical note

Victor Prosper Considerant (12 October 1808 – 27 December 1893) was a French utopian socialist philosopher and economist. Considerant visited the United States in 1852–53 on a trek that eventually took him through North and Central Texas. His enthusiasm for the land, climate, and people of Texas induced him to establish the European Society for the Colonization of Texas upon his return to Belgium. When La Réunion collapsed in 1859 due to financial insolvency, Considerant, discouraged but not disillusioned, moved to San Antonio, where he unsuccessfully attempted to raise funds for another commune. Unable to fulfill his dreams in Texas and still under a ban of deportation from France, he became an American citizen and farmed in Bexar County until 1869, when he and his wife returned to Paris. There he lived as a teacher and socialist sage of the Latin Quarter and died on December 27, 1893.

Paola Tettamanzi Buckley has taught foreign languages at SMU since 2003. She is presently associate area chair and advisor for the department of French and Francophone Studies. Paola graduated from Georgetown University with a BA and from New York University with an MA and studied second language acquisition at the University of Maryland College Park. Paola worked at United Nations headquarters in New York and was accredited as both a French and Italian interpreter by the State Department in Washington. She has served as an interpreter at both the White House and the Pentagon.