French Intervention in the American Revolution

Words: 1670
Topic: History


The American Revolution happened between the years 1775 and 1783. The Revolution involved the United States, France, Great Britain, Spain, and the Netherlands. However, the countries that played a major role in the Revolution were France, Great Britain, and the United States. Initially, the insurgency involved the Americans who were fighting Great Britain in order to restore their land and acquire full independence (Fisher 30).

In 1778, the United States realized it could not match the resource capacity of the Britons and sought assistance from the French. At the time, France had a huge resource base that included a large weapon system, enough money to spend, highly trained soldiers, and the availability of marine forces. The intervention of the French played a crucial role in the victory of the Americans over Great Britain.

The American Revolution had numerous impacts, with the French being the hardest hit as they incurred huge debts and little gains. The only benefit the French gained by providing their intervention in the Revolution was that they managed to achieve their long-term goal of making the Britons a weaker force (Fredriksen 100). The French used the opportunity to revenge against the Britons for the defeat they had suffered in earlier duels.

One of the most influential people in the decision by France to join the American Revolution was Benjamin Franklin. At the time when the Revolution started, Benjamin was the American envoy to France. He organized numerous meetings with influential leaders in the country in a bid to convince them to work alongside the United States against Great Britain. The French intervention in the United States revolution happened following numerous efforts by Benjamin Franklin to popularize it in the country (Fisher 38).


The American Revolution sprouted out of prolonged rivalry and heightened tension between various British American colonies in the United States. France was one of the main countries that had a great interest in the upheaval because of its prolonged rivalry with Great Britain (Conway 201). France had vowed to fight the Britons by forming allies with their rivals as a strategy to ensure that they became weak.

Even before the French were invited by the United States, they had shown interest in the insurgency. They had already established bases in various locations across the United States. France used the bases to monitor how the war progressed and made the necessary preparations. All through, France had remained focused on bringing down Great Britain (Fredriksen 112). France had a great strategy that they applied in helping the United States overcome the Britons.

First, France ensured that they acquired the faith and trust of the Americans by acknowledging their great status and sovereignty. France agreed to sign a military agreement with the United States that would allow their forces to work together against a common enemy.

Second, France worked towards ensuring that the Britons did not have any allies who could help them over the course of the Revolution (Fisher 46). The main targets by the French were Spain and Holland, whom they considered as the closest allies of Great Britain. France formed close relations with the two countries in order to convince them against supporting Great Britain.

France provided the United States with all manner of support that ranged from monetary aid, the supply of weapons, and military reinforcement. One of the main events that motivated the French to offer support to the United States was the American recapture of Saratoga from the British army in 1777 (Fredriksen 118). This event convinced France that it was possible to topple over Great Britain if they worked alongside the United States.

This resulted in the signing of two treaties between France and the American team led by Benjamin Franklin. The two treaties required both the United States and France to avoid making any side peace agreements with the enemy. All the involved parties were supposed to remain focused on their objective of ensuring that Great Britain acknowledged the full independence of the Americans (Conway 210).

The treaties paved the way for France to begin sending their troops and another form of assistance to the Americans. Despite the willingness of France to send their military to the United States, they showed a lot of concern over their welfare and the way they would cope with a new environment (Murphy 80). The French applied an efficiency-oriented policy when they were selecting the soldiers that participated in the Revolution.

They were only willing to commit the services of individuals who had the ability to deliver and endure the challenges of working in a new place. The cooperation between the French and the American soldiers were faced with a few challenges relating to the communication barrier. The French soldiers focused on fostering good relations with the locals, as they were reliable sources of information and direction whenever the need arose (Conway 213).

One of the most crucial events that influenced the American Revolution was the siege of Yorktown in 1781. Following the capture of Yorktown by the Americans, the Revolution ended two years later in 1783 (Murphy 93). In that year, France and the United States signed the infamous Treaty of Paris that allowed the French to acquire colonies in Africa and Asia. Through the leadership of George Washington and some French leaders, the Americans were able to capture Yorktown.

This paved the way for the involvement of the French, as they considered it a viable idea to strengthen the American by giving them various forms of aid (Murphy 99). The French invested a lot of money towards achieving the objectives of the American Revolution. This had a tremendous effect on the country’s economy, as they incurred many expenses that left them with huge debts to clear (Conway 230).

France had hoped to become a business partner of the United States after the Revolution because of the good partnership they had developed. However, it took time before the partnership could be agreed because the two nations did not have common interests.

Events, factors, and interests that led the French involvement in the American Revolution were slightly different from those of the Americans (Murphy 111). This denied them equal bargaining rights with the Americans because they had to protect their political interests. Interestingly, reports indicate that France was arguing that they deserved better respect after the Revolution because they mediated between the United States and Great Britain (Fredriksen 161).

The involvement of France in the American Revolution helped to make it a force to reckon with in terms of influence and ability to go to war. France had managed to stamp its authority over its main rivals, such as Britain (Fredriksen 164). The impact that France had during the Revolution contributed to the successful recapture of Yorktown, as Great Britain feared for its other colonies.

The Britons felt that European countries, led by France, were a major threat to their colonies, thus opted to let go Yorktown in order to concentrate on protecting them (Conway 238). Great Britain considered France it’s number one enemy and the focus concerning protecting their colonies.


The American Revolution took place from the year 1775 and ended in the year 1783. The American Revolution started following a prolonged rivalry and heightened tension among various British American colonies. Involvement of the French in the American Revolution played a crucial role in the defeat of Great Britain. If France did not provide American forces with military aid, the Americans could have found it hard dealing with the Britons because of their huge resource capacity and numerous allies.

It is also important to acknowledge the role of Benjamin Franklin during the Revolution. His efforts in Paris helped to popularize the uprising and capture the attention of the French. The siege of Yorktown marked the highlight of the Revolution, as it represented the day when the Britons surrendered their territories in the United States.

The French influence in the American Revolution was very clear because they were the main reason why the Britons decided to surrender their territories in America. Great Britain considered France, a major threat to all its other colonies. This influenced the decision by Great Britain gives up their interests in their American colonies in order to protect their other dependencies that were under threat.

Annotated bibliography

Frank, Andrew. American Revolution: People and Perspectives. New York: ABC- CLIO, 2008. Print.

This book gives a clear perspective on a crucial event that forms part of the United State’s history. The author helps the reader to understand how some of the famous Americans contributed to the country’s independence.

The book involves an analysis of fourteen essays that show the journey of the United States from the era of British colonies. The essays, written by social scientists, also narrate how every American citizen was involved in the Revolution. People who were actively involved in the Revolution also give their experiences and perspectives about the phenomenon to the author.

Fredriksen, John. Revolutionary War Almanac. New York: Info Base Publishing, 2006. Print.

The author of this book provides the reader with a record of events from the American Revolution in the order of their occurrence. The book talks about people, events, battles, and other characteristic features of the event that shaped America’s history. Features used in the book to present the chronology include photos, maps, and a bibliography among others.

Murphy, Daniel. The Everything American Revolution Book. New York: Cengage Learning, 2008. Print.

This book describes how the French moved from a rebellious system of leadership back at home to help the United States get its independence. The author helps the reader to understand the role of France in the development of America’s history.

The reader also gets a chance to learn about events and people that led to the declaration of the United State’s independence from Great Britain. The author discusses important locations that influenced the American Revolution, such as Saratoga and Yorktown. In addition, the book also analyses the impact of influential people, such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin.

Works Cited

Conway, Stephen. A Short History of the American Revolutionary War. New Jersey: I.B. Taurus, 2013. Print.

Fisher, Sidney. The True History of the American Revolution. California: Cambridge University Press, 2007. Print.

Fredrisken, John. Revolutionary War Almanac. New York: Info Base Publishing, 2006. Print.

Murphy, Daniel. The Everything American Revolution Book. New York: Cengage Learning, 2008. Print.