Impact of French World-Wide Involvement
This page provides a brief summary of data to help assess the size of the French contribution to the War for American Independence. In particular the American cause was fought by the combined action of two partners:
Respective belligerent resources and forces in the 'War for America'
Populations (as a potential for raising manpower and taxes to support military and naval operations):
Historians have estimated the overall cost of the War to the Royal French budget at 1,500 million livres -- about five billion Euro Dollars -- (L'économie de la Révolution Française by Florin Aftalion (Hachette, Paris 1987).
Continental Army (according
to général Knox, secretary of War, report to Congress, 1789).
British ground troops : The War for America by Piers Macksey (Harvard 1964).
French Royal Armies in 1778 (États Militaires; Ordonnances en vigueur)
Line vessels (French Navy and American Independence by J. Dull)
Thanks to Louis XVI's foreign diplomacy, Britain did not succeed, for once, entring into any alliance.
In order to balance the British Navy effectives, France dragged
Spain into the conflict.
Spain's policy was to minimise the American English colonists' forces
that could threaten her efforts to keep Louisiana, to recover Florida,
and to enlarge further its possessions in North America.
The other main European nations (Russia, Austria, Prussia, Sweden, Portugal) entered into a League of Armed Neutrality not to be involved. They refused the American Congress demand to be admitted into this pacific alliance.
Germany did not yet exist as a nation. Almost every German speaking participant from Europe who fought for the American cause were members [or had been in service] of the French Royal Armies (Deux-Ponts, Kalb, etc. ...) or dispatched under French governmental influence (Steuben).
This page is based upon one created by the comte de Trentinian,
Executive vice-president, French State Society, Sons of the American
Originally prepared for the website of Fils de la Révolution Américane; SAR - branche française, and modified for this page.
Page posted 15 November 2001; revised 3 January 2010.
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