Death Of Brian
Perhaps the least talked about aspect of American history is our fickle relationship with France. This may be a result of the perspective one is forced to take if one regards France’s role in our “Revolution” with the weight it actually has.
See, the United States never would have had a chance if it had not been for France’s involvement in the aristocratic coup’d’tat we like to think of as our Revolutionary War. Our ruling locals (ie Jefferson, Hamilton, Allen, Franklin, Morris, Webster et al) had no seats with votes in the British Parliament, thus thier lands were subject to taxes as per the Crown’s charter agreements with the respective colonial bodies but not eligible for the same sort of representation that thier percieved peerage had. We could further interpret this as sour grapes on the part of our Founders resulting from the fact that they WEREN’T members of the peerage and thus weren’t reeping the benifits of Enclosure; but that’s too hard to explain right now. Let’s just take it as writ; Taxation without Representation drove the aristocratic polis to whip up a “grassroots” movement for separation from the Crown. There is no way, repeat NO CHANCE IN HELL that a sparsly armed group of dissenting colonials representing perhaps 40% of the population would be able to withstand the reluctant assault of the British regulars, and if things got hot it was well known that the Hessians would be called in (as they were). Thus, the cabal orchestrating the coup knew at the penning of the Declaration that they had French naval support.
The 100 years War, the Franco/Anglo war of Succession over the Aquitain Possession, had been going for over 400 years by 1776. The last 300 had been hit-and-run via proxy, both sides using the kind of cold-war tactics the US and USSR emulated in the 20th century. The East Indies had been the fun zone for centuries, but during the 1700’s the French-Indian Wars had proven most lucretive bloodshed for the privateers involved. France’s ability to establish a lasting foothold on the New World had been fairly well curtailed by the British, and now the endgame was beginning. At least the French could spoil the booty for King George by encouraging, arming and lending naval support to the colonial “freedom fighters.”
So they did. An overconfident British contingent was caught in a classic harbour pincher, and we celebrated Independance with our French compatriots. A few years later, the popular myth of a rag-tag group of Enlightenment liberatines had fueled the ergot-laced stew of mismanagement and peasant outrage at the starvation tactics of Enclosure into an ACTUAL revolutionary movement in France. In the first real grassroots uprising since Magna Carta the populace rose up and marched against thier monarchial oppressors and the aristocracy that supported them. They recognized the network of land owners and capitalists who had been profiting off of their disenfranchisement, and invented a quick, efficient and humane method of removing these greedy, sadistic elitists from the gene pool.
The American aristocracy called them monsters, rejecting the guillotine justice of the French revolution as “anarchy”.
France was stunned. Surely the Americans would understand what it meant to the common man to be under the yoke of an undemocratic ruling class? They had been of like minds once, no?
No. The French allied with the US were of the same aristocratic class as our Founding Fathers, and did so for strategic purposes. The people’s revolution in France was a different thing entirely, and the US joined the rest of the Western World in condemning it and aiding the Monarchists in acts of incursion, issolationism and terrorism against the fledgling republic.
We betrayed the French people, but stayed loyal to the internationalist class of landed aristocrats who have ALWAYS ruled us.
Later, the French gave us the Statue of Liberty.
Since we helped the Nazis gain power, our role in the 20th century liberation of the Continent is a net null; we merely belatedly helped neutralize a problem we created.
So we still owe France at least one (1) world-class Wonder.
I try to do my part.