Treaty of Paris (1783)

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Treaty of Paris
The Definitive Treaty of Peace Between the Kingdom of Great Britain and the United States of America
DraftedNovember 30, 1782
SignedSeptember 3, 1783
Location Paris, France
EffectiveMay 12, 1784
ConditionRatification by Great Britain and the United States
Signatories
Depositary United States government [1]
Language English
Wikisource-logo.svg Treaty of Paris (1783) at Wikisource

The Treaty of Paris, signed in Paris by representatives of King George III of Great Britain and representatives of the United States of America on September 3, 1783, ended the American Revolutionary War. The treaty set the boundaries between the British Empire in North America and the United States, on lines "exceedingly generous" [2] to the latter. Details included fishing rights and restoration of property and prisoners of war.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, as well as the arts. The City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €709 billion in 2017. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, and ahead of Zurich, Hong Kong, Oslo and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong Kong, in 2018. The city is a major railway, highway, and air-transport hub served by two international airports: Paris-Charles de Gaulle and Paris-Orly. Opened in 1900, the city's subway system, the Paris Métro, serves 5.23 million passengers daily, and is the second busiest metro system in Europe after Moscow Metro. Gare du Nord is the 24th busiest railway station in the world, but the first located outside Japan, with 262 million passengers in 2015.

George III of the United Kingdom King of Great Britain and Ireland

George III was King of Great Britain and King of Ireland from 25 October 1760 until the union of the two countries on 1 January 1801, after which he was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until his death in 1820. He was concurrently Duke and prince-elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg ("Hanover") in the Holy Roman Empire before becoming King of Hanover on 12 October 1814. He was the third British monarch of the House of Hanover, but unlike his two predecessors, he was born in Great Britain, spoke English as his first language, and never visited Hanover.

Kingdom of Great Britain Constitutional monarchy in Western Europe between 1707 and 1801

The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called simply Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 31 December 1800. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". After the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.

Contents

This treaty and the separate peace treaties between Great Britain and the nations that supported the American cause—France, Spain, and the Dutch Republic—are known collectively as the Peace of Paris. [3] [4] Only Article 1 of the treaty, which acknowledges the United States' existence as free, sovereign, and independent states, remains in force. [5]

France in the American Revolutionary War

French involvement in the American Revolutionary War began in 1775, when France, a rival of the British Empire, secretly shipped supplies to the Continental Army. A Treaty of Alliance in 1778 soon followed, which led to shipments of money and matériel to the United States. Subsequently, the Spanish Empire and the Dutch Republic also began to send assistance, leaving the British Empire with no allies. Spain openly declared war but the Dutch did not.

Dutch Republic Republican predecessor state of the Netherlands from 1581 to 1795

The Dutch Republic was a confederal republic formally established after the from the formal creation of a confederacy in 1581 by several Dutch provinces—seceded from Spanish rule—until the Batavian Revolution of 1795. It was a predecessor state of the Netherlands and the first Dutch nation state.

Peace of Paris (1783) set of treaties which ended the American Revolutionary War

The Peace of Paris of 1783 was the set of treaties that ended the American Revolutionary War. On 3 September 1783, representatives of King George III of Great Britain signed a treaty in Paris with representatives of the United States of America—commonly known as the Treaty of Paris (1783)—and two treaties at Versailles with representatives of King Louis XVI of France and King Charles III of Spain—commonly known as the Treaties of Versailles (1783). The previous day, a preliminary treaty had been signed with representatives of the States General of the Dutch Republic, but the final treaty which ended the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War was not signed until 20 May 1784; for convenience, however, it is included in the summaries below.

Agreement

The United States delegation at the Treaty of Paris included John Jay, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Laurens, and William Temple Franklin. Here they are depicted by Benjamin West in his American Commissioners of the Preliminary Peace Agreement with Great Britain. The British delegation refused to pose, and the painting was never completed. Treaty of Paris by Benjamin West 1783.jpg
The United States delegation at the Treaty of Paris included John Jay, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Henry Laurens, and William Temple Franklin. Here they are depicted by Benjamin West in his American Commissioners of the Preliminary Peace Agreement with Great Britain. The British delegation refused to pose, and the painting was never completed.

Peace negotiations began in Paris in April 1782 and continued through the summer. Representing the United States were Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Henry Laurens, and John Adams. David Hartley and Richard Oswald represented Great Britain. The treaty was drafted on November 30, 1782, [lower-alpha 1] and signed at the Hotel d'York (at present 56 Rue Jacob) in Paris on September 3, 1783, by Adams, Franklin, Jay, and Hartley. [6]

Benjamin Franklin American polymath and a Founding Father of the United States

Benjamin Franklin was an American polymath and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, Freemason, postmaster, scientist, inventor, humorist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. As a scientist, he was a major figure in the American Enlightenment and the history of physics for his discoveries and theories regarding electricity. As an inventor, he is known for the lightning rod, bifocals, and the Franklin stove, among other inventions. He founded many civic organizations, including the Library Company, Philadelphia's first fire department and the University of Pennsylvania.

John Jay American politician, Patriot, diplomat, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States

John Jay was an American statesman, patriot, diplomat, Founding Father of the United States, negotiator and signatory of the Treaty of Paris of 1783, second Governor of New York, and the first Chief Justice of the United States (1789–1795). He directed U.S. foreign policy for much of the 1780s and was an important leader of the Federalist Party after the ratification of the United States Constitution in 1788.

Henry Laurens American planter and congressman

Henry Laurens was an American merchant, slave trader, and rice planter from South Carolina who became a political leader during the Revolutionary War. A delegate to the Second Continental Congress, Laurens succeeded John Hancock as President of the Congress. He was a signatory to the Articles of Confederation and President of the Continental Congress when the Articles were passed on November 15, 1777.

Regarding the American Treaty, the key episodes came in September 1782, when French Foreign Minister Vergennes proposed a solution that was strongly opposed by his ally, the United States. France was exhausted by the war, and everyone wanted peace except for Spain, which insisted on continuing the war until it could capture Gibraltar from the British. Vergennes came up with the deal that Spain would accept instead of Gibraltar. The United States would gain its independence but be confined to the area east of the Appalachian Mountains. Britain would take the area north of the Ohio River. In the area south of that would be set up an independent Indian barrier state under Spanish control. [7]

Great Siege of Gibraltar 18th-century siege

The Great Siege of Gibraltar was an unsuccessful attempt by Spain and France to capture Gibraltar from the British during the American War of Independence.

Northwest Territory United States territory (1787-1803)

The Northwest Territory in the United States was formed after the American Revolutionary War, and was known formally as the Territory Northwest of the River Ohio. It was the initial post-colonial Territory of the United States and encompassed most of pre-war British colonial territory west of the Appalachian mountains north of the Ohio River. It included all the land west of Pennsylvania, northwest of the Ohio River and east of the Mississippi River below the Great Lakes. It spanned all or large parts of six eventual U.S. States. It was created as a Territory by the Northwest Ordinance July 13, 1787, reduced to Ohio, eastern Michigan and a sliver of southeastern Indiana with the formation of Indiana Territory July 4, 1800, and ceased to exist March 1, 1803, when the southeastern portion of the territory was admitted to the Union as the state of Ohio, and the remainder attached to Indiana Territory.

The Indian barrier state or buffer state was a British proposal to establish a Native American state in the portion of the Great Lakes region of North America west of the Appalachian Mountains, and bounded by the Ohio and Mississippi rivers and the Great Lakes. The concept of establishing such a state, first conceived in the late 1750s, was part of a long-term plan to reconcile the Indian tribes to British rule and diminish hostilities between the tribes and the British Army following its victory in the French and Indian War. After the region was assigned to the United States in the 1783 treaty ending the American Revolutionary War, British officials pursued efforts to organize the various tribes within it into a sort of Confederation that would form the basis of an Indian state, independent of the United States and under their tutelage, as a way to protect their fur trade ventures in the region and to block anticipated American attacks upon their remaining North American possessions.

However, the Americans realized that they could get a better deal directly from London. John Jay promptly told the British that he was willing to negotiate directly with them, cutting off France and Spain. The British Prime Minister Lord Shelburne agreed. He was in charge of the British negotiations (some of which took place in his study at Lansdowne House, now a bar in the Lansdowne Club) and he now saw a chance to split the United States away from France and make the new country a valuable economic partner. [8] The western terms were that the United States would gain all of the area east of the Mississippi River, north of Florida, and south of Canada. The northern boundary would be almost the same as today. [9] The United States would gain fishing rights off Canadian coasts and agreed to allow British merchants and Loyalists to try to recover their property. It was a highly favorable treaty for the United States, and deliberately so from the British point of view. Prime Minister Shelburne foresaw highly profitable two-way trade between Britain and the rapidly growing United States, as indeed came to pass. [10]

William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne British Prime Minister

William Petty, 1st Marquess of Lansdowne,, known as The Earl of Shelburne between 1761 and 1784, by which title he is generally known to history, was an Irish-born British Whig statesman who was the first Home Secretary in 1782 and then Prime Minister in 1782–83 during the final months of the American War of Independence. He succeeded in securing peace with America and this feat remains his most notable legacy. He was also well known as a collector of antiquities and works of art.

Commemorative plaque of the place where the Treaty was signed, 56 rue Jacob, Paris 6 Plaque Traite de Paris, 56 rue Jacob, Paris 6.jpg
Commemorative plaque of the place where the Treaty was signed, 56 rue Jacob, Paris 6

Great Britain also signed separate agreements with France and Spain, and (provisionally) with the Netherlands. [11] In the treaty with Spain, the territories of East and West Florida were ceded to Spain (without a clear northern boundary, resulting in a territorial dispute resolved by the Treaty of Madrid in 1795). Spain also received the island of Menorca; the Bahama Islands, Grenada, and Montserrat, captured by the French and Spanish, were returned to Britain. The treaty with France was mostly about exchanges of captured territory (France's only net gains were the island of Tobago, and Senegal in Africa), but also reinforced earlier treaties, guaranteeing fishing rights off Newfoundland. Dutch possessions in the East Indies, captured in 1781, were returned by Britain to the Netherlands in exchange for trading privileges in the Dutch East Indies, by a treaty which was not finalized until 1784. [12]

East Florida was a colony of Great Britain from 1763 to 1783 and a province of Spanish Florida from 1783 to 1821. East Florida was founded as a colony by the British colonial government in 1763; it consisted of peninsular Florida, with its western boundary at the Apalachicola River. Its capital was St. Augustine, which had been the capital of Spanish La Florida.

West Florida region

West Florida was a region on the northern coast of the Gulf of Mexico that underwent several boundary and sovereignty changes during its history. As its name suggests, it was formed out of the western part of former Spanish Florida, along with lands taken from French Louisiana; Pensacola became West Florida's capital. The colony included about two thirds of what is now the Florida Panhandle, as well as parts of the modern U.S. states of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama.

Menorca one of the Balearic Islands

Menorca or Minorca is one of the Balearic Islands located in the Mediterranean Sea belonging to Spain. Its name derives from its size, contrasting it with nearby Majorca.

The United States Congress of the Confederation ratified the Treaty of Paris on January 14, 1784. Copies were sent back to Europe for ratification by the other parties involved, the first reaching France in March 1784. British ratification occurred on April 9, 1784, and the ratified versions were exchanged in Paris on May 12, 1784. [13]

Treaty key points

Last page of the Treaty Treaty of Paris 1783 - last page (hi-res).jpg
Last page of the Treaty
Map of the United States and territories after the Treaty of Paris United States land claims and cessions 1782-1802.png
Map of the United States and territories after the Treaty of Paris

This treaty and the separate peace treaties between Great Britain and the nations that supported the American cause—France, Spain, and the Dutch Republic—are known collectively as the Peace of Paris. [3] [4] Only Article 1 of the treaty, which acknowledges the United States' existence as free sovereign and independent states, remains in force. [5] The borders of the USA changed in later years, which is a major reason for specific articles of the treaty to be superseded.

Preamble . Declares the treaty to be "in the Name of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity" (followed by a reference to the Divine Providence) [14] states the bona fides of 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. Britain acknowledges the United States (New Hampshire, Massachusetts Bay, Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia [15] ) 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 of the United States, including but not limited to those between the United States and British North America from the Mississippi River to the Southern colonies. Britain surrenders their previously owned land,
  3. Granting fishing rights to United States fishermen in the Grand Banks, off the coast of Newfoundland and 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 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 either side 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."

Consequences

Historians have often commented that the treaty was very generous to the United States in terms of greatly enlarged boundaries. Historians such as Alvord, Harlow, and Ritcheson have emphasized that British generosity was based on a statesmanlike vision of close economic ties between Britain and the United States. The concession of the vast trans-Appalachian region was designed to facilitate the growth of the American population and create lucrative markets for British merchants, without any military or administrative costs to Britain. [16] The point was the United States would become a major trading partner. As the French foreign minister Vergennes later put it, "The English buy peace rather than make it". [2] Vermont was included within the boundaries because the state of New York insisted that Vermont was a part of New York, although Vermont was then under a government that considered Vermont not to be a part of the United States. [17]

Privileges that the Americans had received from Britain automatically when they had colonial status (including protection from pirates in the Mediterranean Sea; see: the First Barbary War and the Second Barbary War) were withdrawn. Individual states ignored federal recommendations, under Article 5, to restore confiscated Loyalist property, and also ignored Article 6 (e.g., by confiscating Loyalist property for "unpaid debts"). Some, notably Virginia, also defied Article 4 and maintained laws against payment of debts to British creditors. The British often ignored the provision of Article 7 about removal of slaves. [18]

The actual geography of North America turned out not to match the details used in the treaty. The Treaty specified a southern boundary for the United States, but the separate Anglo-Spanish agreement did not specify a northern boundary for Florida, and the Spanish government assumed that the boundary was the same as in the 1763 agreement by which they had first given their territory in Florida to Britain. While that West Florida Controversy continued, Spain used its new control of Florida to block American access to the Mississippi, in defiance of Article 8. [19] The treaty stated that the boundary of the United States extended from the "most northwesternmost point" of the Lake of the Woods (now partly in Minnesota, partly in Manitoba, and partly in Ontario) directly westward until it reached the Mississippi River. But in fact the Mississippi does not extend that far northward; the line going west from the Lake of the Woods never intersects the river.

Great Britain violated the treaty stipulation that they should relinquish control of forts in United States territory "with all convenient speed." British troops remained stationed at six forts in the Great Lakes region, plus two at the north end of Lake Champlain. The British also built an additional fort in present-day Ohio in 1794, during the Northwest Indian War. They found justification for these actions in the unstable and extremely tense situation that existed in the area following the war, in the failure of the United States government to fulfill commitments made to compensate loyalists for their losses, and in the British need for time to liquidate various assets in the region. [20] All posts were relinquished peacefully through diplomatic means as a result of the 1794 Jay Treaty. They were:

NamePresent day location
Fort au Fer Lake Champlain  Champlain, New York
Fort Dutchman's PointLake Champlain  North Hero, Vermont
Fort Lernoult (including Fort Detroit) Detroit River   Detroit, Michigan
Fort Mackinac Straits of Mackinac   Mackinac Island, Michigan
Fort Miami Maumee River   Maumee, Ohio
Fort Niagara Niagara River   Youngstown, New York
Fort Ontario Lake Ontario   Oswego, New York
Fort Oswegatchie Saint Lawrence River   Ogdensburg, New York

Notes

  1. The same day as the lopsided American loss at the Battle of Kedges Strait in Chesapeake Bay, one of the numerous ongoing engagements with the British and Loyalist forces throughout 1782 and 1783.

See also

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References

  1. "British-American Diplomacy Treaty of Paris – Hunter Miller's Notes". The Avalon Project at Yale Law School. Retrieved October 19, 2014.
  2. 1 2 Paterson, Thomas; Clifford, J. Garry; Maddock, Shane J. (2009). American foreign relations: A history, to 1920. 1. Wadsworth Publishing. p. 20. ISBN   978-0547225647.
  3. 1 2 Morris, Richard B. (1965). The Peacemakers: the Great Powers and American Independence. Harper and Row. the standard scholarly history
  4. 1 2 Black, Jeremy (1994). British foreign policy in an age of revolutions, 1783–1793. Cambridge University Press. pp. 11–20. ISBN   9780521466844.
  5. 1 2 "Treaties in Force A List of Treaties and Other International Agreements of the United States in Force on January 1, 2016" (PDF). United States Department of State. United States Government. p. 463. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  6. "Avalon Project – British-American Diplomacy: The Paris Peace Treaty of September 30, 1783,".
  7. Dwight L. Smith, "A North American Neutral Indian Zone: Persistence of a British Idea." Northwest Ohio Quarterly 61#2-4 (1989): 46–63.
  8. Charles R. Ritcheson, "The Earl of Shelbourne and Peace with America, 1782–1783: Vision and Reality." International History Review 5#3 (1983): 322–345.
  9. In 1842 some shifts were made in Maine and Minnesota. William E. Lass (1980). Minnesota's Boundary with Canada: Its Evolution Since 1783. Minnesota Historical Society. pp. 63–70. ISBN   9780873511537.
  10. Jonathan R. Dull (1987). A Diplomatic History of the American Revolution. Yale UP. pp. 144–151. ISBN   978-0300038866.
  11. Frances G, Davenport and Charles O. Paullin, European Treaties Bearing on the History of the United States and Its Dependencies (1917) vol 1 p vii
  12. Gerald Newman and Leslie Ellen Brown, Britain in the Hanoverian age, 1714–1837 (1997) p. 533
  13. Dwight L. Smith, "Josiah Harmar, Diplomatic Courier." Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 87.4 (1963): 420–430.
  14. William Federer, American Clarion (September 3, 2012). http://www.americanclarion.com/2012/09/03/holy-undivided-trinity-11934/
  15. "A Century of Lawmaking for a New Nation: U.S. Congressional Documents and Debates, 1774–1875". memory.loc.gov. Retrieved September 11, 2015.
  16. Ritcheson, Charles R. (1983). "The Earl of Shelbourne and Peace with America, 1782–1783: Vision and Reality". International History Review. 5 (3): 322–345. doi:10.1080/07075332.1983.9640318.
  17. Bemis, Samuel Flagg (1935). The Diplomacy of the American Revolution. Appleton Century.
  18. Ely Jr., James W. (2007). The Guardian of Every Other Right: A Constitutional History of Property Rights. Oxford University Press. p. 35. ISBN   9780199724529.
  19. Jones, Howard (2002). Crucible of Power: A History of American Foreign Relations to 1913. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 23. ISBN   978-0-8420-2916-2.
  20. Benn, Carl (1993). Historic Fort York, 1793–1993. Dundurn Press Ltd. p. 17. ISBN   978-0-920474-79-2.

Further reading

Primary sources

  • Franklin, Benjamin. The Papers of Benjamin Franklin: January 21 Through May 15, 1783 (Vol. 39. Yale University Press, 2009)
  • Franklin, Benjamin (1906). The Writings of Benjamin Franklin. The Macmillan company.