Thursday, June 28, 2012

266. China and the Founding of the United States

It seems a historical irony that China, the ancient and far away empire, also had an impact on the founding of the United States. Military support from France was one of the key factors in the colonists’ victory in the American Revolutionary War. One reason the French royal court fought the British in North America was to prevent a British from monopoly of trade with China.

The French court understood that the French needed a victory in order to “destroy British hegemony, not only in North America but in the sugar-rich With the accession of King Louis XVI, Charles Gravier Comte de Vergennes (1717-1787) became foreign minister. He believed that the power of the states on the periphery of Europe, namely Great Britain and Russia, was increasing and should be checked. His rivalry with the British and his desire to avenge the failure of the Seven Years’ War led to his support of the Americans in their war for independence. In 1777 he told the Thirteen Colonies’ commissioners that France acknowledged the United States and was willing to form an offensive and defensive alliance with the new nation. It was also due to his encouragement that King Louis sent expeditions to Indochina. Thomas Fleming, The Perishes of Peace: America’s Struggle for Survival After Yorktown, New York: Smithsonian Books, 2007, p.57.

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