The Fourth of July: American Independence… and France? 

Weston Waite

By Weston Waite 

We, as Americans, all (hopefully) know what The Fourth of July is all about: The struggle for American liberty and freedom, the rebellion against a tyrannical British empire,and the celebration of America as a whole, a country where we are truly free, with guaranteed rights and privileges. We’ve learned it in our history and government classes, but there is another part of the American Revolution that we fail to talk about enough, or perhaps we don’t even know about.

That missing part is the country of France. Now you may ask, “Well what exactly has France got to do with the American Revolution?” A better question to ask is “how much?” France was a huge contributor to the American Revolution. They provided our founding fathers with new enlightenment ideas, thoughts that men should be treated equally and be granted  fundamental rights. Some of these ideas come from French thinkers like Montesquieu and Rousseau. Outside of just mere scholarly thought, France was also an ally to the United States during the American Revolution. Of course, Britain and France were bitter rivals, so France couldn’t resist the opportunity to defeat them in a war. Secondly, France did see the struggle for American Independence as a worthy cause, and it was supported by both politicians and citizens. Remember Benjamin Franklin? Benjamin Franklin was actually the formal ambassador (then titled minister) to France. He spoke French fluently, and his brilliant scientific inventions, as well as his rugged frontiersman style clothing, were a huge hit with the French people. A young French aristocrat, by the name of Marquis de Lafayette, served as an aide to General George Washington, helping him and the patriots defeat the British and gain American independence. The next time you’re celebrating America with your friends and family, remember to keep in mind, that without the help of the French, we may have not had anything to celebrate. 

Weston Waite is a senior at Duquesne University, majoring in Political Science and French. His academic specialties are those of American history and American politics. In addition, Weston belongs to the Duquesne Men’s  Hockey Team and  Sigma Nu Fraternity. He is a lifelong resident of McCandless, where he currently resides with his family.