The American Revolutionary War: The Story of Two Victors

During the American Revolutionary War, France and America fought Great Britain. After five years of fighting together, they had defeated Britain in America. But this military victory had very different results for the two countries.

America gained many benefits from the war. First, and foremost, it gained its independence from Britain and it was given larger borders than it had at the end of the war. Furthermore, America drew up the ten articles of the Treaty of Paris which stated that Britain would never claim to have any control of America . Not only Britain had to leave American soil, it was banned from taking any supplies and such out of the country. Both sides also had to return any prisoners of war and various trade links were established for both sides such as fishing rights.

Overall, it is now agreed that America did very well out of the Treaty of Paris, especially in terms of its enlarged borders. Britain did not do too badly itself with several other territories that it lost during the war being returned to it. Finally, both countries established trade links with each other.

The real losers of the war, however, appeared to be France who fought as an ally of America. They officially joined the war in 1778 until the end in 1793. But they had been bankrolling the Americans right from the start in 1775 with various supplies like munitions. One of the main reasons that France joined the war was an attempt to halt the power of Britain and to exact revenge on them after the defeat of the seven year war. But this compulsion to be involved had a detrimental impact on France and most importantly, on its economy. France spent 1.3 billion livres on direct support for America; this figure did not include other skirmishes occurring outside the USA. This meant that at the end of the war, after receiving no compensation, France was severely in debt. This crippling debt led to possibly the biggest event in French history happening;the French Revolution. But France did make some small gains at the end of the war. All the territory that it lost to Britain was returned to it. In addition, they were given the island of Tobago and Senegal, but these were hardly gains considering how much money France put into fighting the war. The only other real gains for France was the guarantee of fishing rights of Newfoundland, which did provide another way for France to try and very, very slowly recoup cost. France’s biggest gain was actually a psychological one. This was the conformation that France was a military power and the national pride at beating the British.

To conclude, despite being crucial in winning the war for America, the French did very poorly out of it. Whilst America obtained its independence, large borders and many trade agreements, France only obtained crippling debt and a vague sense of pride all of which lead to a revolution in the country. Some thanks for helping America win the war and gain independence.

Contributed by Matthew Rudd

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