Wednesday, December 17, 2008

December 17, 1777

One of my favorite places on the Internet is the This Day in History page at the website. It used to be referred to as the History Channel website because it was supported by the television network of the same name. Today's entry made me stop and think. One of the events they highlighted today was that on this day in 1777, France recognized the United States of America as an independent nation. If this hadn't happened, you have to wonder if we would have won our independence from England.

Of course, our winning our independence depended on a number of things. For one thing, the open support from the French depended on our being able to convince them that we had a chance of winning. The huge victory at Saratoga in October of that year allowed that. Also, the fact that Benjamin Franklin was our "ambassador" helped a lot. He captivated the French with his knowledge and his charm. He was able to convince the important and powerful people in the French court that their helping us was a way to get back at the British for France's defeat and losing its North American territories in the Seven Year's War.

It troubles me that some "super patriots" in our present day are often willing to complain about France when they disagree with us and to put down the French as when they insisted on renaming French Fries to Freedom Fries. Yet they are willing to look back at the American Revolution for guidance in how we should be running our country now. But they forget about the help the French gave the Founding Fathers during the Revolution. We wouldn't have won our freedom without the sacrifice and dedication of the Founding Fathers but we also may not have won our freedom without the help of the French.

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