It is fairly well-known that without the military and financial aid given by Louis XVI to the American colonists in their struggle for independence from Great Britain, our nation may never have arisen. The King of France was reluctant to go to war, recoiling from both the expense and the shedding of blood; he did so only when convinced that it would benefit France in the long run. Marie-Antoinette was initially against assisting the Americans; she thought it set a dangerous precedent to help the colonists rebel against their king. Nevertheless, once war was declared, she did not hesitate to embrace the joint cause of France and America. According to Lafayette she once greeted him by saying: "Give me news of our good Americans, of our dear Republicans!"
Lafayette may have colored her words with his own enthusiasm for the cause. However, the general repartee in the French court over the American revolt is rather humorous, or at least it would be, had the consequences for France not been so tragic. When Marie-Antoinette's brother, Emperor Joseph II, was visiting Versailles, some pro-American French lady kept badgering him about the colonists' revolt. Finally, the Holy Roman Emperor curtly replied: "Madame, I am a royalist by profession." When Lafayette joined the followers of Mesmer, Louis XVI asked him, ironically: "What will Washington think when he hears that you have become the first apothecary of Mesmer?"
The King and Queen graciously received Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and other Americans at Versailles. Louis XVI was depicted in art with Benjamin Franklin and George Washington. Sadly, the bankruptcy France incurred by the war caused the political crisis in France to escalate, leading to a bloody revolution and to the deaths of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. But Louis XVI did indeed show foresight in his decision to help the colonies. Twice the new nation would come to the aid of France when France was in dire need. I always have thought that in addition to saying "Lafayette, we are here," General Pershing should have said "Louis XVI, we are here" since without the King's help America may never have become a nation.
(Quotations from Nesta Webster's Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette before the Revolution)