Texas Tech University

“All the World’s a Stage”: Beaumarchais and the American Revolution

Dr. James E. Brink

Associate Professor and Director, Honors Arts and Letters, Honors College, Texas Tech University.

The Franco American alliance is the longest, although occasionally bumpy, understanding the U.S. has with a foreign power. It began in a series of clandestine arms deals between the 13 Colonies and France. Silas Deane for the Americans and the playwright Pierre-Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais for the French and a host of other notables including Benjamin Franklin and the Comte de Vergennes steered French funds through a bogus company in order to purchase badly needed war materiel the American way. When the upstart colonies had proved their mettle at the Battle of Saratoga in 1777, the French alliance was made public and thousands of seasoned officers and men joined the American forces to bring final victory over the British. The intrigue and back alley negotiations form the core of this story of how the French pulled the American chestnuts out of the fire.

Dr. Brink received a Ph.D. and M.A. in History from the University of Washington, and a B.A. from the University of Kansas. From 1998 to 2010 he was Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Texas Tech University.

Dr. Brink's lecture was held in the International Cultural Center at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX, June 25, 2014. This event was cosponsored by the TTU K-12 Global Education Outreach and supported by a grant from the Center for Global Understanding.