Lead: In late 1776 Benjamin Franklin, accompanied by two grandsons, was sent as the United States’ first ambassador to France. His skillful diplomacy secured that nation’s support and therefore the success of the American Revolution.

Intro.: A Moment in Time with Dan Roberts.

Content: When Ben Franklin arrived in Paris he was the best known American in Europe. His writings and experiments on electricity had been celebrated for years, his epigrams were widely quoted and he was feted by society matrons, diplomats, scientists and ordinary citizens. Franklin was on a mission, however, and by the New Year he had engaged the French foreign minister in secret negotiations over a proposed alliance. Franklin used his fame and popularity to great advantage and played upon French dreams of retribution for repeated losses during the eighteenth century to the growing British Empire. He was convinced the French would help the Americans if the cause did not seem a hopeless one.