During the American war of independence from Britain, many years before he became the second American president, John Adams represented his country as the first American ambassador to the Netherlands. The Dutch Republic was rich and a leading maritime power, and Adams insisted on the need for naval support from Europe for the American independence struggle.
His diplomatic mission was to gain support for the fledgling United States from the United Provinces of the Dutch Republic. Nothing came easy for Adams at first. He was kept waiting, and it wasn’t until the American rebels defeated the British at Yorktown that Europeans finally started to take notice. Historians from both sides of the Atlantic, including Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer David McCullough, join forces to tell the story of the 18th-century seeds of Dutch-American friendship.
Producer: David Swatling
Broadcast: April, 10 2005