(Max B. May, 1902)
University of Cincinnati, Bulletin No. 17, JUNE 1902
This essay was awarded the prize of one hundred dollars by the OHIO SOCIETY, SONS OF THE REVOLUTION in 1902
“The unanimous verdict of history is that the great Revolutionary struggle begun in 1775 would not have been ended in 1781 but for the influence and aid of France”
Extrait de l'introduction
The American Revolution practically ended with the surrender of Cornwallis al Yorktown, October, 1781. " Nor must impartial history," says Bancroft "fail to relate that the French provided for the siege of Yorktown thirty-seven ships of the line and the Americans not one; that while the Americans supplied nine thousand troops, the contingent of the French consisted of seven thousand." Fiske uses even stronger language: “The glory of conceiving and conducting the movement [1. r., Yorktown campaign] undoubtedly belongs to Washington. But it should never be forgotten not only that the four thousand men of Rochambeau and the three thousand under St. Simon were necessary for the successful execution of the plans, but also that without the formidable fleet of Grasse the plan could not even have been made”
Extrait de la conclusion
If the decisive victory of Yorktown could not have been won without the aid of French arms on land and sea, certainly without French financial aid the American armies could not have been kept in the field during the trying years preceding that great campaign. Without the material assistance of France in arms and ammunition, taken as it were from French arsenals by French connivance, the Revolution would not have ended at Yorktown.
When Lord North heard the news of the surrender of Cornwallis, he exclaimed: "It's all over now." Yorktown was the last great battle of the Revolution. George the Third, much against his will, was compelled to open negotiations with the Americans, and these negotiations continued for a period of nearly two years. […] Finally, in September, 1783, a general peace was concluded at Paris between England, America, France and Spain. The indomitable spirit of the Americans would have succeeded ultimately without the influence and aid of France, for the cause of the Revolutionary fathers was just and righteous. However, the French alliance shortened the struggle and lessened the expense of the war.
Today, in the hundred and twenty-sixth year of American independence, it is probably immaterial to consider with too much nicety the motives that induced France to intervene on behalf of the struggling colonies. A careful study, however, of the history of the American Revolution in all its phases necessarily leads to the conclusion that without the military, naval and financial aid of France, the great Declaration of Independence would have been in 1783 a mere manifesto of unsuccessful rebels instead of the great charter of a free people, drafted by the ablest revolutionists the world has yet seen.