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What did the Treaty of Paris accomplish?

November 30th

peaceNovember 30, 1782 — The Treaty of Paris was signed today, officially ending the Revolutionary War between Great Britain and the United States.

It recognized American independence and established borders for the new nation.

After the British defeat at Yorktown, peace talks in Paris began in April 1782 between Richard Oswarld representing Great Britain and the American Peace Commissioners Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and John Adams.

The American negotiators were joined by Henry Laurens two days before the preliminary articles of peace were signed. However, it was not formally signed until September 3, 1783.

The Continental Congress, which was temporarily situated in Annapolis, Maryland, at the time, officially ratified the Treaty on January 14, 1784.

Words of Wisdom

Preamble to the Treaty of Paris

This document: Declares the treaty to be in the name of the most holy and undivided Trinity, states the bona fidesof the signatories, and declares the intention of both parties to forget all past misunderstandings and differences and secure to both perpetual peace and harmony.

1. Acknowledging the United States (viz. the Colonies, with a list of all thirteen[11]) to be free, sovereign and independent states, and that the British Crown and all heirs and successors relinquish claims to the Government, property, and territorial rights of the same, and every part thereof;
2. Establishing the boundaries between the United States and British North America;
3. Granting fishing rights to United States fishermen in the Grand Banks, off the coast of Newfoundlandand in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence;
4. Recognizing the lawful contracted debts to be paid to creditors on either side;
5. The Congress of the Confederation will earnestly recommend to state legislatures to recognize the rightful owners of all confiscated lands and provide for the restitution of all estates, rights, and properties, which have been confiscated belonging to real British subjects (Loyalists);
6. United States will prevent future confiscations of the property of Loyalists;
7. Prisoners of war on both sides are to be released; all property of the British army (including slaves) now in the United States is to remain and be forfeited;
8. Great Britain and the United States are each to be given perpetual access to the Mississippi River;
9. Territories captured by Americans subsequent to the treaty will be returned without compensation;
10. Ratification of the treaty is to occur within six months from its signing.

Eschatocol. Done at Paris, this third day of September in the year of our Lord, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three.

— The Treaty of Paris

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