France and the United States: A Revolutionary Friendship Based on Revenge And Commerce

The Shout Heard 'Round The World: Exploring the Meaning and the Message of the Declaration of Independence

The Comte de Vergennes, French architect of the Franco-American Alliance during the Revolutionary War The Comte de Vergennes, French architect of the Franco-American Alliance during the Revolutionary War

February 6 marks the anniversary of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the Treaty of Alliance between the United States and France in 1778. The treaty was a significant commercial and foreign policy coup for the young nation. Formal recognition meant trade and legitimacy for an impoverished republic that had declared only two years before that the United States assumed “among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them.” Mind you, France was not in love with the radical notion of democratic revolutions. The Bourbon monarchy of France was as dedicated to ancien regime as any royal house in Europe.  But as one historian once quipped, the French invented diplomacy, because what other realm could successfully exercise the gentle art of persuading a hostile nation…

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