The Revolutionary War historian provides “a comprehensive and accessible guide” to the vital influence France had on America’s path to independence (Publishers Weekly).
French support for United States independence was both vital and varied, ranging from ideological inspiration to financial and military support. In this study, historian Norman Desmarais offers an in-depth analysis of this crucial relationship, exploring whether America could have won its independence without its first ally.
Demarais begins with the contributions of French Enlightenment thinkers who provided the intellectual frameworks for the American and French revolutions. He then covers the many forms of aid provided by France during the Revolutionary War, including the contributions of individual French officers and troops, as well as covert aid provided before the war began. France also provided naval assistance, particularly to the American privateers who harassed British shipping. Detailed accounts drawn from ships’ logs, court and auction records, newspapers, letters, diaries, journals, and pension applications.
In a more sweeping analysis, Desmarais explores the international nature of a war which some consider the first world war. When France and Spain entered the conflict, they fought the Crown forces in their respective areas of economic interest. In addition to the engagements in the Atlantic Ocean, along the American and European coasts and in the West Indies, there are accounts of action in India and the East Indies, South America and Africa.