Here are a select few foreigners who helped establish the Unites States of America during the Revolutionary War. Some names are recognizable. Several more should be!
The Marquis de Lafayette – France
While he was given the title of General and did bravely lead men into battle. However, his greatest contribution may have been diplomatic as he gave the French people a French Hero of the Revolution. He was also very influential in persuading the French Government to financially and militarily lend support. In addition he contributed a great deal of his own personal fortune to the cause.
Baron von Steuben – Prussia
His contribution came during the long winter at Valley Forge where he created a training regimen that put the troops on equal footing with the well trained British Army for the first time.
Baron Johann de Kalb – Germany
He commanded the Maryland and Delaware Continentals who fought bravely in the battle of Camden. He died on his horse as a Major General at the head of his troops, leading a counterattack on the British lines.
Thaddeus Kosciuszko – Poland (present day Lithuania)
He was the engineer who built Fort West Point and was responsible for the fortifications on Bemis Heights that were invaluable in securing the surrender of General Burgoyne and 6000 British and German soldiers in that battle which is generally considered the turning point in the war.
Jose Monino de Redondo Count of Floridabanca – Spain
Floridabanca was the Spanish Minister of State who did more than any other Spanish government official to get Spain to enter the war as America’s ally
Admiral Francois Joseph Paul Comte de Grasse – France
This is the man who commanded the French Fleet that defeated an English fleet and blockaded the Chesapeake Bay keeping General Cornwallis from escaping while the joint French and American army forced General Cornwallis to surrender
General Comte de Rochambeau – France
He was the French General that oversaw the preparations for the siege works against Yorktown which accepted the surrender of British General Cornwallis and became the final major battle of the Revolution
Charles Gravier Comte de Vergennes – France
He was the French Minister of Finance who was responsible for most of France’s miltary and economic contribution to the war.
Caron de Beaumarchais – France
He was responsible for setting up a private trading company that France could use to covertly funnel supplies to the colonies at the beginning of the conflict.
Charles Fox – Great Britain
Fox was one of the most outspoken Members of Parliament in support of the American Cause against the British government. He indefatigably argued that the colonies protests were valid and that the British Government’s insistence on treating the colonies as subservient would result in their loss to the Empire of Great Britain.
- Adopted Son, Washington, Lafayette and the Friendship That Saved the Revolution by David A. Clary, 2007, Bantam Books
- Rochambeau, America’s Negelected Fouding Father by Arnold Whitridge, 1965, The MacMillan Company
- Spain and the Independance of the United States, An Intrinsic Gift by Thomas E. Chavez, 2002, Universtity of New Mexico Press
- The Long Fuse, How England Lost the American Colonies, 1760-1785 by Don Cook, 1995, Atlantic Monthly Press