In honor of Independence Day, I am publishing this reflection on the great contribution made by France to the cause of American independence.
Â In 1778, the British army occupied Philadelphia, then the largest and wealthiest American city.Â The British navy had â€œbottled upâ€ the port there, and in Boston and New York.
Â The Continental Congress had fled westward from Philadelphia, first to Lancaster, Pennsylvania, then across the Susquehanna River to the safety of York, Pa.
Â It was in York, Pennsylvania that the alliance with France was completed.Â To the disappointment of the colonial army, there were few immediate effects. But, when France moved, it moved mightily.Â French arms and warships began to turn the tide for the colonials within the next year.
Â In the end, it was the French Navy that prevented the British Navy from rescuing their fighting force on the middle peninsula of Virginia â€“where Lord Cornwallis was forced to surrender the largest British army in the New World.
Â In May of 1978, the US Postal Service issued a commemorative stamp in honor of the French Alliance.Â The stamp shows Benjamin Franklin arguing the case of the colonies to King Louis XVI.
Â The commemorative stamp was issued at the colonial courthouse, which was reconstructed amid original colonial buildings in the heart ofÂ York, Pa.
Â This First Day cover has a colorful cachet featuring the flags of the United States and France.