HIS103 - The Eclipse of France

HIS103 - The Eclipse of France - The Eclipse of France:...

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The Eclipse of France: Part Two Monday, November 15, 2010 It appeared that after the American War of Independence, France should be able to reach long term dividends The only problem was that the financial cost of this strategy (both in terms of the legacy of the 7 years war, and the extra financial burden from supporting the American Revolution) Further expansion of the French armed forces was necessary to sustain the expansive foreign policy they wished to pursue By 1785, it appeared that whatever the financial cost, they had more or less succeeded In 1785, French diplomats managed to pull off a diplomatic coup, to form a formal alliance with the provinces of the Netherlands The Dutch Republic by now was not a genuine great power, but it did have relics of its previous “glory days” Substantial Dutch Navy and Dutch Home Ports added to France’s strategic assets – should guarantee Dutch/French Naval powers = Dutch/French supremacy in the English Channel This could put Britain at the mercy of this new block The advantages of an alliance with the Dutch was only good at home waters Cape of Good Hope + Ceylon – it would well be possible for the French to do to the British in India hat they had just done with them in NA (to plant hem as the major colonial power) The French aspired to do this with the help of the Dutch Patriot Party The problem was the burden of trying to sustain this ambitious foreign policy – finally broke the bank in France Over the centuries, people would turn themselves into “Hereditary Elite” The Crisis came in the late 1780s By 1787, France was seen as being bankrupt (declared it in the following year) By 1787, the accumulated state debt, stood at 5 billion (in French currency) Events in 1787-78 demonstrated its vulnerability in the international scene and to other states (to take over
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HIS103 - The Eclipse of France - The Eclipse of France:...

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