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October 19, 2004

Holy Bejeebers! I almost forgot this...

It's entirely possible that there would be no Global War on Terror (and you can take that however you like) if this event had not happened on October 19, 1781.

Lord Cornwallis' surrender to General Washington at Yorktown.

Immediately after the surrender Lord North, the British Prime Minister, resigned. The Brits decided that it was no longer in their best interest to continue the war, and Britain recognized the United States and promised to remove all its troops from the country under the accords of the Treaty of Paris. 8 years after the Declaration of Independence, the United States of America was fully established as an independent nation. And we're war-weary after two years now?

While I credit the combat assistance and sacrifices of the soldiers and sailors under the command of General Rochambeau and Admiral de Grasse (amply repaid I would say) I would note that during the negotiations at Paris, the the French set the tone for Franco-American relations that would in this century make money for John J. Miller of National Review fame and his co-author, Mark Molesky. Congress told the American negotiators, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, and Henry Laurens, to follow the advice of the Comte de Vergennes. It soon became obvious, however, that Vergennes did not have the best interests of the United States first on his agenda, as is perhaps understandable - and ain't nothing changed since - except our own national naivete'!

A nice summary of events can be found here.