tv Tom Shachtman How the French Saved America CSPAN November 25, 2017 3:00pm-4:01pm EST
i thought it was interesting. he was genuinely nice. he was authentic. he did none of that. he did not hire pollsters as he strangely bragged at one point. that came true. it airs on book tv. will, good evening ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the westport library my name is bill harmer i'm the executive director of the library and is so good to see all of you. thank you for coming out and supporting us this evening. please take a moment to silence here cell phones as a tell you about tonight's
program. on behalf of our community partner. it is my pleasure to introduce tonight's author tom shackman we could not be more thrilled to host tom as he discusses his new book how the french saved america. the soldiers, sailors, diplomats in the success of a revolution. financial support and the marquis lafayette were only parts of france's contribution to america's success against england. and how the french saved america he makes a convincing case that without france the night seats may never had gained its independence. to the rebelling colonies in the french assistance the aide however is often downplayed in history's retelling of the
event as we often like to think of our forefathers as having achieved independence all by themselves. after the declaration of independence that assistance that included the wages for our troops guns, cannon and ammunition engineering expertise that enabled victories and prevented defeat diplomatic recognition ..
>> >> taught at the york university and lectured at harvard and stanford. chairman and a trustee at the committee's counsel and a founding director at the heritage area and is a consultant at the foundation of science and technology initiative. it is a pleasure to have him with us this evening, our esteemed guest, tom shachtman. [applause] >> good evening.
thanks for coming. everybody has heard everything that needs to be said. this is the title of the book i will open from john adams from his son benjamin. only one continued from one end to the other the essence of the whole is from general washington they conducted all policy negotiations. in to be included is a paean the on. -- p. in the on the line here to tell you and they're all french.
one is francis david who is the librarian and another is a mysterious stranger he is 28 but looks 62 and there's all sorts of things wrong with him. in den with of getting to know you message. so the message is number one france wishes america well. that is pretty good. and of number two american investments are welcome in the french quarter's. but the third one is the kicker but france does not want canada back.
but today we know why but nobody knew that at the time. except franklin who thought they really wanted it back. so he tells a number of lives including the size of the american forces in there so excited by this he writes home it is those to be in secret code he forgot about it provincially the message gets back to her side -- versify france and this is for the french government comes in and. in the hands of this young gentleman he doesn't look that young he is only 21.
this is louis the 16 he is dead on the road about 18 months since his father louis the 15 died. and his air he was married at 16 to a young lady gave notice marie antoinette and still they have not figured out but knew he should have an elder statesman as a career diplomat especially that was not the mobility but you
could buy your ability that way you don't have to have for generations of forbearers. but they got along very well. with a policy objective which is the power of great britain they don't know quite how much that is the war called the seven years' war but the best way to have british power to the american rebels but then the french, and is a piece of cake.
and with those five sale prices. with rice and indigo that they had to buy from great britain. but they said they will do this says this is taking place, six months before the declaration of independence. under the portrait of general washington opposite boston. so the declaration of independence has not yet been issued. is a tremendous victory but they are ready to go and ready to start. but then they convinced the
king of spain for those that our ready to go they are from down the road as an international trader and a friend of franklin's and they had gotten together. and then they're there to buy things for the indians. but really there to get munitions for the americans with the declaration of independence. because it was not written at the time that they left.
but i have to say this is one of the most important vessels during the american revolution and. to have 52 cannon with some ammunition with shovels and blankets what you might want to. so there were 10 ships that day put together many from of caribbean to machines remissions. and some went to the united states. and when they arrived the spring of 1777 that was
exactly what they were waiting for. there were more on the ship and the entire american army at the point. it was a big deal. this is 76. nobody has come from anywhere yet. just born a month or two earlier, after washington had his wonderful success and was beaten up, this is a map of the british forces that everybody knew that they would try to attack your candidates did. washington was ready but not really with a tremendous
battle that lasted almost six weeks and eventually ended by evacuating his forces through manhattan supposedly he was having a bad timing continue to have a bad time through the end a 1776. where his forces are almost out of money and food and clothing and ammunition washington's forces are near the delaware bin he has got to do something. for the forces will to solve that the end of the year and if they do that who knows what will happen? so he crosses the river known as the delaware river to the of
young grandson's with him. with kidney stones you name it. that is coming across with a great revolutionary but decides that this time. and from my previous book will not address and fine clothes. including the wonderful coonskin cap. so about the time washington is crossing the delaware he sees his old friend so they
stated that we are hereby to have an alliance. and then we will talk. they sat there for one year for negotiations began. because in the spring and summer of 1777 there are two things that are going on. coming down from canada the first thing is ticonderoga to come down in meet the forces to come up from the south to the north. in with these radical people
and then he was already injured in a previous battle. but they were successful and capture the entire army. the biggest thing to happen in the revolutionary war at that time. using those flex engineers. analysts at the same time at brandywine creek under general powell so as you can see in this wonderful illustration to see the officer he is the only one wearing a uniform.
event in particular and supposedly that his firm brandywine creek. oh there were some front officers. and they were wonderful. and they had nothing from these officers to make sure that they simply did not run off. so that the unit stayed intact. they were not best buddies at this point. but washington had a chest -- a test that they had to
do two things. they had to be brave in battle in be good on the field. second, take one for the team. so with this battle lafayette mission drew both. -- managed to do both. so now he notices it over nine more miles to understand that is another hour or more. with a young man named james monroe but he is gainfully
then washington called on those engineers i know them but general historians that quarrel flynn -- colonel flynn and then there was another and they were perhaps the two best trained men for these jobs and were in battle working with the retreat of brandywine so washington could trust him. to rebuild of those things. they pretty much takeover
and they are bombarded. some ships that they already have in the harbor in this is how you could imagine if not they would attempt to repair the damage. but he got a medal for something else to years later with the battle of stony point right next to west point. it is a famous battle it was almost insignificant but congress decided after what is called of medal of honor
and for what you did see on the diagram and on the left-hand panel you see the colonel in uniform of the british side. we know because this is still in commission with the american army corps of engineer. he is the chief engineer all of the officers have come from france in day cave officially and then were
finished in three weeks they gave the americans almost everything that they wanted. this is actually almost of miniature with franklin in the 16th signing the treaty because it was secret after they declared war on france. and then they had a single engagement and then jews celebrate and then to have
and on the other side they get over this anbar but anyway. and then to you do it. and then doesn't do anything either but then the american general has taken quite a while just about ready to do that. to take on the british garrison at newport then all the sudden the british fleet appears and at that time
when they go fight in the harbor. so the british are waiting for the french getting ready to have a wonderful steve battle. and then there is a hurricane. how nobody can do anything. and then to go to boston and they are fit to be tried as you can imagine. in the the fall of 1779 to leave the seeds of savannah he get so wounded he passed you take off to go home
meanwhile back at the ranch and talking to marie antoinette. but lafayette has left 1777 under indictment and then said to the british ambassador give a couple good ones for me. has the hero of washington absolutely untouchable. but every but the visits and he says to the king we can and do what we have been doing. now with a 60,000 men.
for washington. and then we will see what he looks like then. and says there will give you a series you must answer them truthfully. and then go right down the chute to. come up with the answer i already decided. can we do anything without naval superiority? sova the tiny get to the tenth question you cannot go after york the four years since he was kicked out. that is the only target but
but it is set in the harbor his name is francis and his spanish and sent by the spanish king in the caribbean with florida and mexico. and they get on board in a wonderful harbor and they decide to do the one to plunge. to come up and knock the of british out and to come back down with the spanish fleet
but the tide does not turn about 11:00 in the morning and then getting ready for three hours that is a very narrow channel. then the british are coming down from york in and it is perfect. all they have to do is fall on the of vanguard what does the british to? and it takes seven tel 3:46 p.m. in the afternoon. not a shot has been fired and it is quite something.
michigan and though whole upper reaches of the mississippi river florida, new orleans said there would not have the right to navigate on the mississippi river around the alleghenies. but unfortunately there were not in a position to enforce that. thank you very much. [applause] any questions?. >> because the french spend
but he said no it is a shot like a cannonball. and if that makes a difference but in any way at that moment then hamilton takes the dive right behind the back side of general box. indeed it is a shell that means it will bounce before exploding and knocks says to him. >> in the 17 nineties the americans are attempted to get out from under their
obligations we don't owe that anymore. any other questions?. >> i always find it interesting with the european nations france is one we have not been at war with. and they come to our rescue in the future. >> i don't understand the question. >> will the french do that again?. >> i don't understand the
during the revolution. >> because nobody would have known what would have happened. in the washington cabinet that is not precisely true but trying to get out of their obligation. with the same kind of revolution according to the united states to have a champion and that was difficult. >> wait for the microphone. >> i am a canadian
originally. so a lot of the history between the united states in france and england and canada a lined up almost automatically the french are always on the other side. and i am surprised that you are surprised that this relationship if the british were fighting the americans would line up automatically. >> everybody could assume that that like the native american and with catholicism.