As a young man, how did George Washington view the French?  

Expert Answers
lhc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Ironically enough, George Washington fought the French as a loyal British subject helping his country attempt to win control of North America a couple of decades before he would lead the colonies in their quest to gain independence from, and thus evict from North America, that same "parent" nation.  Washington was a county surveyor in his late teens, but embarked on a military career around the age of twenty, and not content to test the waters for long, he requested, and received, an assignment to confront the French forces in the Ohio River Valley, which he did, ordering them to leave, which they did not.  Washington ordered a subsequent attack, which although initially promising, resulted in his surrender at the hastily constructed Fort Necessity in Pennsylvania.  He spent the remainder of the French and Indian War in relative obscurity, protecting the western frontier of the state of Virginia, and would spend the years afterward at Mount Vernon--until duty called again in the American Revolution. 

In yet another example of irony, Washington's views of the French were somewhat different when he needed their assistance to defeat Britain once and for all.  The British had the Hessians, a wild contingent of German mercenaries, and Washington was more than happy to accept the reinforcements provided by the Marquis de Lafayette and his French military colleagues when it appeared that without such reinforcement, he was well on his way to trial for treason.  Although as president, he would later warn about the danger of alliances with other nations, he needed the friendly assistance of the French to win the Revolution. 

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question