Treaty of Alliance

Updated February 28, 2017 | Infoplease Staff

The American Colonies and France signed this military treaty on February 6, 1778.

Believing that they would benefit militarily by allying themselves with a powerful nation, the revolutionary colonies formed an alliance with France against Great Britain. According to this first military treaty of the new nation, the United States would provide for a defensive alliance to aid France should England attack, and neither France nor the United States would make peace with England until the independence of the United States was recognized.

Treaty of Alliance with France, 1778; International Treaties and Related Records, 1778-1974; General Records of the United States Government, Record Group 11; National Archives

United States Alliance with France

Article I.

If war should break out between France and Great Britain during the continuance of the present war between the United States and England, His Majesty and the said United States shall make it a common cause and aid each other mutually with their good offices, their counsels and their forces, according to the exigence of conjunctures, as becomes good and faithful allies.

Article II.

The essential and direct end of the present defensive alliance is to maintain effectually the liberty, sovereignty and independence absolute and unlimited, of the said United States, as well in matters of government as of commerce.

Article III.

The two contracting parties shall each on its own part, and in the manner it may judge most proper, make all the efforts in its power against their common enemy, in order to attain the end proposed.

Article IV.

The contracting parties agree that in case either of them should form any particular enterprise in which the concur- rence of the other may be desired, the party whose concurrence is desired, shall readily, and with good faith, join to act in concert for that purpose, as far as circumstances and its own particular situation will permit; and in that case, they shall regulate, by a particular convention, the quantity and kind of succour to be furnished, and the time and manner of its being brought into action, as well as the advantages which are to be its compensation.

Article V.

If the United States should think fit to attempt the reduction of the British power, remaining in the northern parts of America, or the islands of Bermudas, those countries or islands, in case of success, shall be confederated with or dependent upon the said United States.

Article VI.

The Most Christian King renounces forever the possession of the islands of Bermudas, as well as of any part of the continent of North America, which before the treaty of Paris in 1763, or in virtue of that treaty, were acknowledged to belong to the Crown of Great Britain, or to the United States, heretofore called British Colonies, or which are at this time, or have lately been under the power of the King and Crown of Great Britain.

Article VII.

If His Most Christian Majesty shall think proper to attack any of the islands situated in the Gulph of Mexico, or near that Gulph, which are at present under the power of Great Britain, all the said isles, in case of success, shall appertain to the Crown of France.

Article VIII.

Neither of the two parties shall conclude either truce or peace with Great Britain without the formal consent of the other first obtained; and they mutually engage not to lay down their arms until the in. dependence of the United States shall have been formally or tacitly assured by the treats or treaties that shall terminate the war.

Article IX.

The contracting parties declare that being resolved to fulfil each on its own part the clauses and conditions of the present treaty of alliance, according to its own power and circumstances, there shall be no after claim of compensation on one side or the other, whatever may be the event of the war.

Article X.

The Most Christian King an( the United States agree to invite or admit other powers who may have received injuries from England, to make common cause wit them, and to accede to the present alliance under such conditions as shall be freely agree to and settled between all the parties.

Article XI.

The two parties guarantee mutually from the present time and forever against all other powers, to wit: The United States to His Most Christian Majesty, the present possessions of the Crown of France, America, as well as those which it may acquire by the future treaty of peace: And His Most Christian Majesty guarantees on his part to the United States their liberty, sovereignty and independence, absolute and u limited, as well in matters of government commerce, and also their possessions, and the additions or conquests that their confederation may obtain during the war, from any the dominions now, or heretofore possess by Great Britain in North America, comformable to the 5th and 6th articles above written the whole as their possessions shall be fixed and assured to the said States, at the moment of the cessation of their present war with England.

Article XII.

In order to fix more precis the sense and application of the preceding article, the contracting parties declare, that in case of a rupture between France and England the reciprocal guarantee declared in said article shall have its full force and effect the moment such war shall break out; and if such rupture shall not take place, the mutual obligations of the said guarantee shall not commence until the moment of the cessation of the present war between the United States and England shall have ascertained their possessions.

Done at Paris, this sixth day of February, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-eight.

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