History in the Making

Document Type



The diplomacy between the United States and countries in Europe during the Revolutionary War (1775–1783) has been of note for historians throughout American history as one can see how the United States’ foreign policy began to develop during the war due to international diplomacy. However, the specific discourse surrounding the diplomacy of American recognition has been lacking, in particular from the perspective of the European powers who formally recognized the United States as a sovereign country. The process of recognition is a vital part to the development of any country, both new and established. In addition to being vital, it is also beneficial. Yet how could recognition be beneficial for both countries, the recognized and the recognizee, at the same time? This article focuses on the perspective of three European countries (France, the United Provinces, and Great Britain) and key American diplomats to uncover the complex process of how the United States became a recognized country by major European powers. By examining the motives of each European country individually, one can see how the recognition of a new country is beneficial to established countries and how it falls within their desired foreign policy. Recognition and diplomacy also show the ambitions of certain political figures within the United States, as each individual had conflicting views on the development of the new American country.