France Signs Military Alliance with the United States!Lexie_Skinner_01.jpg

On February 6th, 1778, the first military alliance of the United States was signed! This defensive alliance states that the United States will aid France if England is to attack them; further, neither France nor the United States will declare peace with England until the United States are recognized as an independent nation.

Ever since the Treaty of Paris was signed (ending the seven years war) France has been planning to attack Britain along with the Spanish to gain revenge. However, once Britain got word of a possible attack, they mobilized a navel army and France backed down. Soon after this affair, John Adams began drafting a commercial treaty . So, since France was currently known as an enemy of Britain, they seemed an obvious ally of ours!

This past September, the Continental Congress sent Ben Franklin along with a team of commissioners to make a treaty with France based on the original draft written by John Adams that was never signed along with the sister treaty to the alliance, the Treaty of Amity and Commerce. The drafts talked about reciprocal trade relations with France, however it failed to mention any military assistance. In an effort to make good relations with Spain and possibly start another alliance with them, the United States asked that France reassure Spain that we had no intentions of annexing Spanish land in America. Still, France declined signing the alignment.

It was no mystery that the reason France wasn't signing our alliance was because they didn't want to become part of a "losing team". Since Washington and the United States army had been losing battle after battle, we didn't seem in favor of the overal win.

Thankfully, the winning battle of Saratoga proved to be the turning point of the war; showing France that we would not let them down in our remaining fight to independence! This win catalyzed France's decision to join our efforts to win independence from Britain!
lexie_arrival_of_france.jpg
lexie_arrival_of_france.jpg




















France proved their hatred toward Britain by helping us win battle after battle! Contributing not only troops but much needed supplies, and superior navel power. Headed by Count Rochambeau, French troops marched south to Virginia where they joined the Continental Army, headed by Washington and Lafayette. All together, the French helped us win a total of five battles, the most important of those being the Battle of Yorktown.

Cornwallis, a British head general, was busy fighting with the Americans on the Yorktown Peninsula. After a few days of fighting, they hoped they would be re-supplied by the British navel power which lied right off the Yorktown Peninsula. However, the French Admiral, DeGrasse, cut off the British navel fleet and helped defeat the British Winning the Battle of Yorktown external image rochm2ss.jpgand consequently trapping General Cornwallis on the peninsula. Obviously, the British were forced to surrender. The French gained seige cannons and English supplies for the use of the Americans. Since General Cornwallis had to be sent back to England along with five-thousand troops, it is evident that trying to round up five-thousand more troops and shipping them all the way over to America would be a waste of money. This being the last major battle of the revolution, we see how the French assisted us in our time of need. Who knows, maybe this will spark some similar ideas about independence.

Stated by George Woodbridge, "The strategy of the campaign was Rochambeau's; the French fleet was there as a result of his arrangements; the tactics of the battle were his; the American Army was present because he had lent money to Washington; in total navel and military participants, the French outnumbered the Americans between three and four to one. Yorktown was Rochambeau's victory."


fleur-de-liswhite3.gif
fleur-de-liswhite3.gif

First American Flag 1777
First American Flag 1777

Franco-American alliance
Franco-American alliance

1. How do you think the French effected the ending result of the Revolutionary War? Why?2. Why were the French hesitant to become our ally's and what key event made them sign the alliance?3. What did the French do that helped support the Americans after the treaty was signed? What battle did they really come through on?