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French Intervention: British Failure To Anticipate Transition In The American War of Independence

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Technical Report,05 Jul 2015,26 May 2016

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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In 1763, Britain signed the Treaty of Paris ending the Seven Years War. Despite the treaty, tension between Britain and the Bourbon powers, France and Spain, remained high. The loss of colonial possessions and degradation of European power embarrassed both France and Spain, which began to rebuild their naval power in anticipation of another war with Britain. While the Bourbon powers rebuilt militarily, civil unrest was growing in the British colonies in America, placing Britain in a vulnerable position. The situation in the American colonies gradually escalated from civil unrest to rebellion to a global war between European powers. From 1764 to 1775, Britain was unable to put an end to colonists dissatisfaction with British rule and in 1775, a civil war between Britain and the American colonists began. British strategy relied on coercive power and did not account for the possibility of European intervention. Meanwhile, American diplomats aggressively pursued European support and in 1778, the French entered into a Franco-American alliance. French intervention had a significant impact on the context of the war. The American War of Independence was no longer a civil war it became a global conflict with multiple fronts, marking a significant transition for the British both strategically and operationally.

Subject Categories:

  • Humanities and History
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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