National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution

World Help in Establishing the U.S.A.

Jump List: Africa | England | France | Germany | Greece
Italy | Native Americans | Netherlands | Spain | Poland
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Sources of Information

-- Encyclopedia of the American Revolution, 3rd ed., by Mark M. Boatner III (Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg PA, 1994)
-- The SAR Magazine published a series of articles on the contributions of people of various ethnicities to American Independence.
     Spanish in Fall 2000 p 16,
     French in Fall 2001 p 22,
     Swedish in Summer 2001 p 14,
     Polish in Spring 2002 p 18,
     Dutch in Summer 2002 p 18,
     American Indians in Fall 2002 p 26,
     Jews in Winter 2002 p 24,
     Hungarians in Spring 2003 p 32,
     Swiss in Fall 2003 p 22.
     Italians in Spring 2004 p 20.
See the Europe page of "The Real Story of the American Revolution" to read many of these articles on-line.

  FRANCE worked with the United States government from the early stages of the Revolution. At first the help consisted of sending experienced army officers such as von Steuben, deKalb, and Kosciusko and enthusiastic young officers such as Lafayette. After the victory at Saratoga, the French recognized the United States government and was at war with England by June 1778. Later on, the French government provided cloth for uniforms, powder and muskets, naval vessels with firepower comparable to the British fleet, an army expeditionary force nearly the size of the Continental Army, and the heavy equipment and experienced officers required to execute a successful siege. French subsidies and loans, eventually totalling eight million dollars, were vital to maintaining the Continental Army in the field. General Rochambeau, Admiral de Barras, and Admiral deGrasse are some of the more prominent French officers. After Yorktown the French played a vital part in the peace negotiations.

All descendents of French persons who rendered service in the cause of American Independence (through military, diplomatic, or material support during the American Revolution) are eligible for membership in the SAR, regardless of where they live or their national citizenship.


  SPAIN secretly provided money and war materials to the United States at the start of the conflict, and provideded more later, for a total of about two-thirds of a million dollars. Spain declared war on England in June 1779 and drew many British ships and troops to the Carribean to fight over dominance of the islands and their rich plantations. On land General Galvez, commander of Spain's garrison in New Orleans, captured the British posts at Baton Rouge, Natchez, Mobile, and Pensacola, stopped a British expedition at St. Louis, and captured St. Joseph (just south of Detroit). If the British military forces occupied with fighting Spanish forces had been free to fight the Continental Army, the outcome of the revolution would likely have been much different.

All descendents of Spanish personss who rendered service in the cause of American Independence (through military, diplomatic, or material support during the Revolution) are eligible for membership in the SAR, regardless of where they live or their national citizenship.


  NATIVE AMERICANS Native American people at Catholic missions in the Carribean and what is now Mexico and the southwestern United States gave critically needed food to Spanish and United States forces. Native Americans supported both the British and the United States during the Revolution, and many bitter and harsh encounters took place in the western regions of the colonies. After the war large regions that had been the territory of native Americans who supported the British became bounty land given to United States veterans of the war.

All descendents of native American persons who rendered service in the cause of American Independence (through military, diplomatic, or material support during the American Revolution) are eligible for membership in the SAR, regardless of where they live or their national citizenship.


  GERMANY during the period 1750-1800 consisted of numerous separate political units who coordinated their policies to some extent through a regional council known as the Holy Roman Empire. This was a term retained from earlier days, and the organization was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire. The general area had been called Germany since Roman times, and the people there spoke a variety of German dialects, but there was no central government, so we cannot say there was a German nation but we can refer to the people as Germanic, even to include some who lived under French rule but spoke German.

Many years before 1776 the French Army had incorporated a regiment of Germanic troops in the Zweibrücken area (which the French called Deux Ponts for the two major bridges in that area). The Royal Deux Ponts Regiment came to the United States with the French Expeditionary Force under Gen. Rochambeau and helped win the siege at Yorktown.

Other Germanic soldiers and officers were also recruited into French Army units. Several Germanic officers in the French Army were recommended to and hired by the United States Army. Gen. Friedrich Wilhelm Ludolf Gerhard Augustin Von Steuben is credited with making the all-volunteer Continental Army an effective fighting force that could stand up to and win a bayonet fight with professional British troops. Gen. Johann de Kalb led United States forces in several major engagements and was the only general officer to die in battle during the Revolution.

The British offered to pay Germanic states for troops to fight on their side, and the state of Hesse (as well as several others) raised and rented out many such regiments. They are often lumped together and called Hessians as well as mercenaries. Many of these troops deserted or were captured and then agreed to fight for the United States (or for France).

All descendents of German persons who rendered service in the cause of American Independence (through military, diplomatic, or material support during the American Revolution) are eligible for membership in the SAR, regardless of where they live or their national citizenship.


  NETHERLANDS was a haven for many groups who sought freedom from the stifling laws of Europe. The Pilgrims lived there for several years before settling in New England and many Hugenots stayed there before settling in the mid-Atlantic colonies. The Netherlands was the first nation to recognize the sovereignty of the United States government.

All descendents of Netherlands persons who rendered service in the cause of American Independence (through military, diplomatic, or material support during the Revolution) are eligible for membership in the SAR, regardless of where they live or their national citizenship.


  POLAND consisted of numerous separate political units in 1750-1800. Many Poles served in foreign armies. Several who served in France came to the United States and served the cause of liberty here. Col. Thaddeus Kosciuszko was a military engineer who paid for his own passage to Philadelphia so that he might become part of the Revolutiuonary forces here. He assisted in planning the Delaware River defenses, designed many fortifications at Saratoga, and designed some of the fortifications at West Point. Col. Casimir Pulaski fought at Brandywine and Germantown and died from injuries received during the Siege of Savannah GA.

All descendents of Polish persons who rendered service in the cause of American Independence (through military, diplomatic, or material support during the American Revolution) are eligible for membership in the SAR, regardless of where they live or their national citizenship.


  GREAT BRITAIN trained many of the officers who later led the Continental Army and the state militias. These officers and many of the troops gained wartime experience in frontier conflicts under British leadership. Of course, the very mainstay of the movement to independence came from the concepts of participatory government that had been developed in Great Britain, but were being undermined by George III. So the form of government and the principles of government were not overthrown, but perfected in the institutions of the United States Congress, President, and Supreme Court. Many captured British soldiers elected to join the United States' forces rather than be exchanged or remain in prison.

All descendents of English-, Scots-, Irish-, and Welch-heritage persons who rendered service in the cause of American Independence (through military, diplomatic, or material support during the American Revolution) are eligible for membership in the SAR, regardless of where they live or their national citizenship.


  AFRICA was the source of slaves for English (and other nations') plantations. By the time of the American Revolution there were some 500,000 African-heritage slaves in the American colonies and a large number of free descendents of slaves (totalling about 20% of colonial population). The premise that "all men are created equal" resulted in people of all races, colors, and creeds fighting side by side for independence. Slave-owners were reluctant to arm their slaves and send them off to fight, but African-heritage soldiers constituted about 5% of the troops at the battle of Monmouth.

Every colony prohibited the slave trade during the war. Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont abolished slavery before the war ended. Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island had plans for gradual emancipation by the end of the war. The hopes for freedom for all men (and women) were dashed when the political compromises made to secure a strong union denied the right to vote for slaves and for women. Abolition of slavery nationwide took nearly a century, and securing the right for women and people of all heritages to vote took another century.

During the two hundred years when many people of African heritage were denied the right to vote in the United States large numbers of people of African heritage returned to Africa to help found or support nations with representative governments.

All descendents of African-heritage persons who rendered service in the cause of American Independence (through military, diplomatic, or material support during the American Revolution) are eligible for membership in the SAR, regardless of where they live or their national citizenship.


  GREECE was comprised of a number of warring city-states at the time when large-scale participatory government was first recorded in history. The early United States Congress was so opposed to England and so attracted to the government models and experience provided by Greece that a motion to replace English with Greek as the language of the United States failed by only one vote.

All descendents of Greek persons who rendered service in the cause of American Independence (through military, diplomatic, or material support during the American Revolution) are eligible for membership in the SAR, regardless of where they live or their national citizenship.


  ITALY changed from a group of warring city-states to the seat of a large empire. During its thousand years of political eminence many modes of government were tested and the advantages and disadvantages of each recorded and discussed in detail. These reflections on government played a vital role in the development of the United States Constitution.

All descendents of Italian persons who rendered service in the cause of American Independence (through military, diplomatic, or material support during the American Revolution) are eligible for membership in the SAR, regardless of where they live or their national citizenship.

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