- Historical event:
- 7 July 1798
- Paradoxically, the United States were at the time of their founding in the 1770s an ally of the feudal France of King Louis XVI. When they became independent, they went to war with the French revolutionaries.
On this day in 1798, a strange war between the United States and revolutionary France broke out.
Specifically, although the United States were a young nation at that time, created only about twenty years ago on the principles of republicanism, it went to war with the republican France, which, according to some principles, should have be an ally (at that time in the world, only the U.S. and France were republics based on the ideas of democracy).
Paradoxically, the United States were at the time of their founding in the 1770s an ally of the feudal France of King Louis XVI. When they became independent, they went to war with the French revolutionaries, as if they were a reactionary and conservative country.
The real reasons were political and diplomatic. Namely, the U.S. and Louis XVI’s France were allies as enemies of Britain (the French indeed unambiguously helped the Americans defeat the British in the War of Independence).
But, during the 1790′s, the U.S. and Britain made peace and formed an alliance on an equal basis. In the meantime, the French overthrew King Louis XVI and set up a new revolutionary government.
The Americans thus found an excuse to stop paying debts to France (they claimed that they were bound to the French crown, not the new government). That infuriated the French, so they began to plunder American merchant ships. War soon broke out because of this.
The problem for the U.S. was that, shortly after achieving independence, back in 1785, it practically disbanded its navy, selling almost all its warships.
American merchant ships were without protection, so the U.S. government rapidly renewed its war fleet. American-French clashes took place at sea and lasted until Napoleon Bonaparte came to power in France, and he eventually ceased hostilities with the United States.