History & Celebrations Today – February 6

Celebrations Today – February 6

Holidays and observances

Celebrations Today – USA: February 6

National Frozen Yogurt Day
National Lame Duck Day
International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation
National Pay-a-Compliment Day
National Ronald Reagan Day

Today in US History: February 6

The Franco-American Alliance

The two contracting Parties shall each on its own Part, and in the manner it may judge most proper, make all the efforts in its Power, against their common Enemy, in order to attain the end proposed.Treaty of Alliance
Article Three,
signed February 6, 1778, in Paris, France.

The signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and of Alliance between France and the United States
The Signing of the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and of Alliance between France and the United States,
photograph of a painting by Charles E. Mills,
circa 1900-20.
Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920

On February 6, 1778, France and the fledgling United States of America signed the Treaty of Amity and Commerce and the Treaty of Alliance in Paris, France. The Treaty of Amity and Commerce recognized the United States as an independent nation and promoted trade between France and the United States. The Treaty of Alliance created a military alliance against Great Britain, stipulating American independence as a condition of peace. The treaty also required France and the U.S. to concur in any peace agreement.

Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin,
photograph of a painting,
circa 1900-20
Touring Turn-of-the-Century America: Photographs from the Detroit Publishing Company, 1880-1920

Secretly aiding the American colonies since  1776, France’s helpfulness was spurred by resentment over the loss of American territory to Britain in the French and Indian War. In 1776, the Continental Congress sent diplomats Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, and Arthur Lee to secure a formal alliance with France. American victory over the British in the Battle of Saratoga convinced the French that the Americans were committed to independence and worthy partners to a formal alliance. Over the course of the war, France contributed an estimated 12,000 soldiers and 32,000 sailors to the American war effort.

U.S. Capitol paintings. Lafayette in House chamber
U.S. Capitol Paintings, Lafayette in House Chamber,
Theodor Horydczak, photographer,
circa 1920-50.
Washington As It Was: Photographs by Theodor Horydczak, 1923-1959

The marquis de Lafayette, a French aristocrat, arrived in Philadelphia in July 1777 and offered his services to the Continental Army. Serving as a major general in the Continental forces, he quickly forged a life-long friendship with American commander in chief George Washington. Back in America by April 1780, Lafayette returned to the business of war, playing a key role in securing victory over British commander Lord Charles Cornwallis at Yorktown in late July.

The Royal Palace, Versailles, France
The Royal Palace, Versailles, France,
circa 1908.
Taking the Long View: Panoramic Photographs, 1851-1991

  • Search the Journals of the Continental Congress in A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation, 1774-1875 to locate Congressional information concerning the Treaty of Alliance. This collection also includes the Revolutionary Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States, which contains a large collection of letters sent by the American diplomatic team that negotiated the Treaty of Alliance.
  • Find maps from the American Revolution in The Rochambeau Map Collection. This collection consists of cartographic items used by Jean Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, comte de Rochambeau (1725-1807), when he was commander in chief of the French expeditionary army (1780-82) during the American Revolution.
  • France in America is a collaborative bilingual digital library conceived in partnership with France’s national library, the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The collection explores the history of the French presence in North America from the first decades of the sixteenth century to the end of the nineteenth century, including French participation in the American War of Independence.

Today in History – February 6-External Links

Today’s Weather in History
Today in Earthquake History
This Day in Naval History
Today’s Document from the National Archives
Today’s Events, Births & Deaths –Wikipedia
Today in History by AP
On this Day -1950 to 2005 – Today’s Story–BBC
On This Day: The New York Times
This Day in History –History.com
Today in Canadian History – Canada Channel
History of Britain that took place On This Day
Russia in History –Russiapedia