Weird History Spoiler Alert: The French Won The American Revolution - Not The Americans  

Cleo Egnal
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The Revolutionary War was a turning point in world history, cementing the United States of America as its own nation (or collection of Colonies), free from British control and establishing it as a strong international layer. However, it is possible – nay, likely – that America's victory would not have been possible without the help of France.

France's role in the American Revolution was absolutely integral, but it isn't discussed as much in the context of the overall war as individual American heroics, like Paul Revere's ride and other fables about the founding of America. From necessary funds and arms to the bodily participation of French soldiers, America owes its freedom to the French who helped support the colonists against the British.

France Provided Money, Weapons, And Soldiers – All The Essentials Of War


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Photo:  Benjamin Franklin via Library of Congress/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

France didn't just help out America a little bit – the French were crucial in winning America the war. It is highly improbable that America could have won the war without French money, weapons, and soldiers, which France began supplying only a year after the war began in 1765.

France supplied America with things the young country could not have gotten on its own, and even protected it from stronger British military inundation by fighting the British before they even got to America. The French role in the war was so significant, in fact, that some consider the American Revolution nothing more than a "proxy war" between the French and the British.   

The French Used America As A Platform To Keep Fighting The British


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Photo: Emanuel Leutze/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

France's reasons for helping America were a bit less "altruistic" and more self-serving than just wanting to see the little guy win. France had been fighting with England for centuries and saw the Revolutionary War as another platform to one-up their longtime enemy. According to Dan Holliday, writing for Quora: "The American war for independence presented the French with an opportunity to draw British forces away from the West Indies (the valuable colonies for both France and Britain) and Europe."

Whatever France's motives, their assistance guaranteed America its freedom. 

90% Of The Gunpowder Used To Fight The War Of Independence Came From France


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Photo:  Harper & Brothers/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

If it doesn't seem like a few soldiers and weapons were that integral to winning the war, think again. France supplied America with nearly everything they needed to win the war. Beginning in 1776 (one year after the war began), France "sent American colonists 25,000 uniforms and pairs of boots, hundreds of cannons, and thousands of muskets."

In addition, overall, France ended up supplying 90% of all the gunpowder used in the war. That's because there was one, single American gunpowder mill, the Frankford Mill in Pennsylvania. A single mill wouldn't have been able to produce nearly enough powder to winn an entire war. Thankfully, the French came through and solved the gunpowder shortage.

Britain Had To Get Through France Before They Could Even Make It Across The Pond, Which Meant Some Pre-Fighting


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Photo:  Jean Antoine Théodore de Gudin/Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Another reason France was so key to America's success was because they fought off the British by sea before they could even reach the shores of the Colonies. France's navy went through numerous rounds with the British navy in Europe before the British even made their away across the Atlantic. France even convinced Spain to get in on the action, and the two attacked Britain from all sides, all before America even got to see the business end of a bayonet. 

The French navy also prevented Britain from rescuing its own battle-worn army, leaving those British soldiers who were actually fighting on American soil weaker than those back in England who couldn't get out to join the fight.