September 17, 2014 at 6:31 am #8769
There’s no doubt the Americans showed great heart in the Revolution. There’s also no doubt of the significant impact that Europeans had on influencing the American victory. For example, the Marquis de Lafayette was a wealthy and prominent Frenchman. He would come to America, help pay for his own unit, and become a friend to the cause in many significant ways throughout the war and after. While not an “official” Founding Father, he sought much praise in American even decades after the war ended, he was truly considered a hero.
Also, Baron von Steuben, was a Prussian born military officer. Via interactions that led through Ben Franklin, Steuben came to America and met George Washington. He would go on to help draw up the first drill manual for the American army, which would serve as the standard until around 1812. During the cold winter at Valley Forge in 1778 he would help train the American forces into a “true” army, preparing them for the war ahead. He gained significant respect from George Washington, and is no doubt a key factor in the later military success of the war.
What other figures from outside of the colonies had a significant impact on the outcome of the war and birth of America?September 19, 2014 at 7:03 pm #8782JoshParticipant
I think the great unsung hero’s of the American cause are the Spanish.
Principally Bernardo de Gálvez Spanish governor of Louisiana and Admiral José Solano y Bote who took Pensacola and drove the British out of Florida. A vital but under studied part of the war I think.
I was talking to some Americans on twitter yesterday and I got the Impression that Lafayette though perhaps popularly known to have taken part, is not so well known in the whole. I have to admit there is little around about him that I’ve seen.
Josh.September 20, 2014 at 9:41 pm #8786
I am looking forward to learning more about the Spanish influence overall. I would venture a guess that their holding Florida helped prevent an easy British accumulation of troops/supplies in the south that could have tipped the scales in their favor in the later years of the war’s fighting. Although, the British was able to strongly hold some major port areas in the war (New York, Philadelphia for a period, etc.).
I could see how Lafayette might not be too well known. I don’t recall much from history classes in school which mentioned much about him, if so likely only in a passing reference (while focusing more on the Founding Fathers).
I also wonder what British influences there might have been close to London and Parliament. Maybe there were some, if only few, that had thoughts of support for the American cause and in subtle ways politically influenced legal decision making or political appointments that in some way helped the American cause.September 25, 2014 at 12:29 am #8795JoshParticipant
Yes I want to learn more about the Spanish theatre of the war. Had they not held Louisiana and Florida etc, perhaps the whole southern campaign might have changed.
You need have no doubt that the opposition party in London were vehement in attempting to thwart the war British war effort, the longer the war went on, costing more money and lives each year, and the more defeats that occurred to offset the victories, the more they gained power. I think it was not just Rochembeau and Washington’s guns at Yorktown that ended the war, the raised voices in Whitehall, when a second army surrendered to the Americans.
Josh.December 30, 2014 at 10:12 pm #8808
I would imagine the British would have been able to build a more formidable “passive” offense if they held the south along with New York City. It’s possible they could have allowed them to set up a strong blockade of French supplies, help thin the American forces in any one area (now having to defend the north, ports on the east, and area to the south. Speculating even further, it might have allowed the British forces to send some units west to come up and essentially surround the colonies (on land south, west, and north and by sea on the east coast). Anywhere the American troops decided to attach, the British could face them on several fronts and constrain their resources.
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