Monday, November 6, 2017

Franklin in France

From Politico:
However, Franklin’s sought-after diplomatic goals took longer to bear fruit. Although the French had been secretly aiding the Americans, providing military supplies since the outbreak of the revolution, they balked at signing a formal allegiance with the United States until they were more confident of an American victory over the British. It was not until the U.S. victory at the Battle of Saratoga in October 1777 that France sensed the possibility that the Americans might win the war.

On Feb. 6, 1778, in the wake of the Battle of Saratoga, representatives of the U.S. and France, including Franklin, signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the Treaty of Alliance. The aid sent under these pacts proved crucial to the eventual American victory over the British in the War for Independence. Franklin was also on hand to sign the Treaty of Paris in 1783, which formally concluded the seven-year struggle.

His image as the democratic folk figure from the wilds of North America preceded him, and he exploited it brilliantly for the American cause. His face appeared on French medallions, on snuffboxes, on candy boxes, in rings, in statues, and in prints. Some French women active in court circles even did their hair à la Franklin. (Read more.)

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