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King Louis XVI & Benjamin Franklin, Charles Gabriel Sauvage
Date Issued: 1978-05-04
Postage Value: 13 cents

Commemorative issue
French Alliance - American Bicentennial
King Louis XVI & Benjamin Franklin, Charles Gabriel Sauvage

The design of this stamp is taken from a porcelain statuette by Charles Gabriel Sauvage. Once the Americans had proven their ability to continue fighting against Britain and not attempt reconciliation with King George III, the French foreign minister was prepared to ask King Louis XVI for "public" support of the revolutionaries rather than covert aid only. Gen. Gate's victory at Saratoga led the reasoning that pushed France toward such formal recognition. Formal treaties of commerce and alliance were signed by French and American diplomats on February 6, 1778. The alliance made France the first country to recognize the new nation. France further renounced all claims to North America east of the Mississippi River and agreed with the United States that neither would lay down its arms until American independence was guaranteed.

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