February 6, 1778
France Allied with American
Friends, and in French, amis! On February 6,
1778, Benjamin Franklin was in France signing the Treaty
of Amity and Commerce and the Treaty of Alliance.
The Treaty of Amity and Commerce recognized the U.S. as an
independent nation and promoted trade between France and
America. The second agreement, the Treaty of
Alliance, made the fledgling United States and France
allies against Great Britain in the Revolutionary War.
The French decided to back the U.S. in its military
efforts until the U.S. had full independence from Great
Britain. After that, the treaty required France and
the U.S. to work together on any peace agreement.
Did you know the French helped the U.S. to win the
France had been secretly aiding the American Colonies
since 1776, because France was angry at Britain over the
loss of Colonial territory in the French and Indian War.
In 1776, the Continental Congress sent diplomat Benjamin
Franklin, along with Silas Deane and Arthur Lee, to France
to secure a formal alliance.
When Franklin came to the signing ceremony, he wore, as
a symbol, the same brown velvet suit he had worn when he
appeared before Britain's Privy Council in 1774. At
the time, he was accused of theft for having brought to
light British documents that showed the British were
purposefully repressing the Colonies.
France aided the colonists by providing military
armaments and loans. France's support deepened after
the Americans beat the British in the October 1777 Battle
of Saratoga, proving themselves committed to independence
and worthy of a formal alliance. King Louis XVI
approved financial assistance to the American colonists
only four days after Franklin and his comrades requested
During the Revolution, France sent an estimated 12,000
soldiers and 32,000 sailors to the American war effort,
the most famous of whom was the Marquis of Lafayette.
He became a good friend (ami) with American
commander in chief George Washington in the process.