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Home > History > Ben Franklin in France - Turning the Tide of the War

Ben Franklin in France - Turning the Tide of the War

This article describes how Benjamin Franklin convinced the French to join the Americans in the war effort against France.

Benjamin Franklin was one of the key figures in convincing France to sign the Treaty of Alliance of 1778, which was a military alliance between the United States and France during the American Revolutionary War. Franklin was appointed as the American commissioner to France in 1776, and he played a crucial role in the secret negotiations that led to the treaty's signing.

Franklin's Influence

Franklin's role in the treaty negotiations was two-fold. Firstly, he was responsible for building and maintaining a positive relationship between the United States and France, which was essential for the treaty's success. Franklin was a skilled diplomat and was able to charm the French court with his wit and intelligence. He also used his influence to gain the support of key French politicians and military leaders.

Building the Case

Secondly, Franklin played an instrumental role in convincing the French government to provide the United States with military and financial assistance. He did this by providing the French with detailed information about the state of the American colonies and the progress of the war. He also highlighted the potential benefits that France would gain by supporting the American rebellion, such as weakening Britain's position in Europe.


Franklin's efforts were successful and the Treaty of Alliance was signed on February 6, 1778. The treaty was a significant turning point in the Revolutionary War, as it provided the United States with a powerful ally and helped to shift the balance of power in the colonies' favor. French assistance, which included troops, ships, and financial aid, proved critical in the American victory at the Battle of Yorktown in 1781.


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