The Revolutionary War

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How did France's alliance help the colonies win the American Revolution?

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The Franco-American alliance, concluded in 1778, was a major turning point in the Revolutionary War between the former colonies, which became the United States, and Great Britain. This alliance was instrumental in securing victory and, ultimately, independence for the US. In fact, one of the terms of the alliance was that France would only agree to peace with Great Britain if American independence were recognized. But the alliance contributed to victory in the war in more direct ways, as well. First, the French government loaned enormous sums to the cash-starved US and supplied the Continental Army with weapons and other crucial supplies. Second, France sent over 10,000 soldiers to bolster American forces. This came at a crucial time, as the British army had won success after success before French forces arrived in 1780. Third, the French navy made it more difficult for the British to conduct operations on the American coast. Where the British had been able to rapidly move troops from place to place along the coast, the presence of the French navy complicated matters. This was especially apparent at Yorktown in 1781, when a force led by Lord Cornwallis was trapped on a peninsula by American (and French) troops and was unable to evacuate due to the the presence of the French navy. So the French were absolutely indispensable to winning the Revolutionary War.

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The French welcomed the American Revolutionary War due to the historical conflicts they had with Great Britain. It is important to note that some years before the start of the war, France had lost some of its colonies in North America to Britain. The Revolutionary War presented an opportunity for the French to get even with the British.

France was among the first countries to recognize the United States as an independent nation and promoted trade between the two countries. The recognition was achieved through the signing of The Treaty of Amity and Commerce. The treaty was followed by the Treaty of Alliance, which officially made France an ally of the United States in the Revolutionary War against Great Britain.

The French provided the Union forces with weapons and funded their operations. France sent soldiers and sailors to fight alongside the Patriots after they demonstrated their resolve to fight for their independence. The French sent reinforcements and defended Union forces in Virginia and provided strategic assistance in Yorktown.

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France did a great deal to help the American colonists during their war for independence from the United Kingdom.  It is possible to argue that the American colonists would not have won the war if it had not been for the French assistance.

The French did not get involved in the American Revolution right away.  The French did want to support the Americans because they wanted to hurt Great Britain (which was their main enemy in Europe).  However, they did not believe that the colonists would be able to defeat the British.  Therefore, they thought that getting involved would simply lose money and soldiers with no prospect of any return.  However, when the Americans won the Battle of Saratoga, France decided that the colonists had a good chance to win.  This led to active French involvement in the war.

The French helped the American colonists in two main ways.  First, they provided the colonists with many of the supplies they needed and with a great deal of money.  The colonies needed these things very much in order to keep their war effort going.  Second, the French provided important military assistance.  The French sent some ground troops, though they did not send a very large number and those troops were not of tremendous importance.  More importantly, France sent naval forces to help fight the British navy.  These naval forces were very important because they happened to be present to fight the British at the Battle of the Chesapeake in 1781.  The French victory in this battle prevented the British from relieving their besieged troops at Yorktown, VA.  When the Americans (with some French ground forces) defeated the British at Yorktown, it marked the end of major fighting in the war.

Thus, the alliance with France helped the colonies win the war by providing them with supplies, money, and military aid.

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