of Alliance with France
|Believing that they would benefit militarily by allying themselves with a powerful nation, the revolutionary colonies formed an alliance with France against Great Britain. According to this first military treaty of the new nation, the United States would provide military assistance to France if England attacked, and neither France nor the United States would make peace with England until it recognized the independence of the United States. Alexander Gerard on behalf of the king of France and Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania, along with his fellow commissioners Silas Deane and Arthur Lee, signed, this military treaty on February 6, 1778. France went to war against England four months later, soon adding Spain and Holland as allies. England faced these adversaries unassisted. The treaty is divided into two columns, with the English on the left and the French on the right.|
The most Christian King and the United States of North America, to wit, New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhodes island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, having this Day concluded a Treaty of amity and Commerce, for the reciprocal advantage of their Subjects and Citizens have thought it necessary to take into consideration the means of strengthening those engagements and of rondring them useful to the safety and tranquility of the two parties, particularly in case Great Britain in Resentment of that connection and of the good correspondence which is the object of the said Treaty, should break the Peace with France, either by direct hostilities, or by hindering her commerce and navigation, in a manner contrary to the Rights of Nations, and the Peace subsisting between the two Crowns; and his Majesty and the said united States having resolved in that Case to join their Councils and efforts against the Enterprises of their common Enemy, the respective Plenipotentiaries, impower'd to concert the Clauses & conditions proper to fulfil the said Intentions, have, after the most mature Deliberation, concluded and determined on the following Articles.
If War should break out between France and Great Britain, during the continuance of the present War between the United States and England, his Majesty and the said united States, shall make it a common cause, and aid each other mutually with their good Offices, their Counsels, and their forces, according to the exigence of Conjunctures as becomes good & faithful Allies.
The essential and direct End of the present defensive alliance is to maintain effectually the liberty, Sovereignty, and independence absolute and unlimited of the said united States, as well in Matters ofGouvernement as of commerce....
Done at Paris, this sixth Day of February, one thousand seven hundred and seventy eight.
C. A. Gerard