In 1777, there was a huge turning in the Revolutionary War between the American colonies and Great Britain. After long months of sporadic American wins, the Continental Army delivered a stunning blow to the British army by defeating them at the battle of Saratoga. This crucial win allowed the French, who had been watching the war unfold with keen interest, to finally decide to aid the Americans in their struggle for independence. However, it would be the British that would actually help the Americans gain their independence.
Although it seems that the French had not been aiding the Americans until they won at Saratoga, this was not the case. In actuality, under the guidance of the French foreign minister Charles Gravier, Comte de Vergennes, France had been providing military supplies to the Americans via a made up company. This was the extent of French commitment until Saratoga, when their involvement became much more intense.
Britain also changed their attitude with regard to the Americans. Realizing that the British army was having great difficulty decisively defeating the Continental Army, Lord North decided to present a peace offering to the Americans. He successfully repealed the Tea and Intolerable Acts, which he followed by sending a commission to negotiate directly with the Continental Congress. The commission offered the Congress the opportunity to return to the relationship the colonies had with Great Britain prior to 1763, but the offer was turned down. It had come too late, and now, the Americans wanted full independence.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men, including Native Americans, are created equal. We are a people who love plants and animals as much as we love our sons. We believe in only keeping the largest fish. We came here when the rivers and oceans were filled. We treasure our children and our grandparents, and everything that was in our land before the white man came. We are not morons ...
To accomplish this, they entered into a formal alliance with France in February 1778. According to the terms of the alliance, the French would give up their claim to Canada and all land east of the Mississippi River. They also promised to fight alongside the Continental Army until independence had been achieved. The Americans, in return, would open trade to the French merchants and would support French territorial gains in the West Indies.
The Revolutionary War would finally end with the battle of Yorktown. Although the British army had revamped their military strategy, all the gains they had made soon crumbled. They had managed to secure bases in the North – New York City and Newport, Rhode Island – and had gained control of most of Georgia and South Carolina in the South. Unfortunately, a lack of troops prevented them from holding on to what they had gained.
In the summer of 1781, the British and American armies faced each other in Yorktown, Virginia. It was here that the French alliance came to fruition. The presence of a French army in Newport and New York City gave Washington and his men enough military force to attack Cornwallis, taking him by surprise.
Furthermore, the presence of a French fleet in the Chesapeake Bay prevented the British from getting fresh supplies as well as from evacuating out of the area. By September, the British troops – 7,000 in number – had to face a combined American and French army of over 16,000. Greatly outnumbered and outmaneuvered, the British surrendered.
This loss at Yorktown was twice as devastating for the British as losing Saratoga had been. It was effectively the end of any British hope of suppressing the American rebellion. However, during the peace negotiations, Great Britain attempted to once again gain the upper hand. In this they were successful.
While the French, along with Spain, tried to force Britain to grant its demands, the Americans acted in their best interest and made a secret peace treaty with Britain in November of 1782. Thus, despite allying with the French in order to win the war, it was to Britain that the Americans turned to again to accomplish the last stage of their fight for independence. Henretta, James A. (2008).
The Essay on ‘Lions led by donkeys’ How accurate is this assessment of the British army on the western front in the First World War?
How accurate is this assessment of the British army on the western front in the First World War? The statement ‘lions led by donkeys’ means that there were brave soldiers led by incompetent generals. The statement blames the generals for the number of lives lost, although England did eventually win. The statement is therefore untrue as the generals fulfilled their duty as their army and country ...
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