Treaty of Paris Ends Revolutionary War 

U.S. #2052

After more than eight years of fighting, the American Revolutionary War came to and end on September 3, 1783, with the signing of the Treaty of Paris.

Two years earlier, the British suffered a disastrous defeat at Yorktown, leading to the surrender of Lord Cornwallis and capture of over 7,000 of his men. This loss dramatically lowered British support for the war, leading that nation’s Prime Minister to resign the following spring. That April, the House of Commons voted to end the war in America and agreed to enter into peace talks.

U.S. #1046 – John Jay later negotiated the Jay Treaty, which averted another war and settled issues that went unresolved following the Treaty of Paris.

Negotiations between Britain and America (as well as Britain and America’s allies France and Spain) lasted through that summer. David Hartley and Richard Oswald represented Great Britain, while Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Henry Laurens, and John Adams represented the United States. On November 30, both nations signed a preliminary agreement.

Though representatives were settling on peace agreements, fighting continued intermittently during this time. In February 1783, as the both nations’ governments reviewed the terms of the agreement, King George III issued the Proclamation of Cessation of Hostilities to end the fighting.

U.S. #1030 – Hoping to gain control of all of North America, Franklin nearly got Britain to cede eastern Canada, but they later rejected the proposal.

The representatives met once again, at the Hotel d’York in Paris on September 3, 1783 to sign the peace agreement, officially ending the war. The same day, Britain also signed peace agreements with France and Spain.

In the treaty’s preamble, both nations agreed to “forget all past misunderstandings and differences” and “secure to both perpetual peace and harmony.” Britain agreed to acknowledge America as a free, sovereign nation, and that all future British rulers would relinquish claims there. The agreement established boundaries between the U.S. and British North America, and granted fishing rights, among other things.

U.S. #806 – One of Adams’ major contributions to the treaty was obtaining fishing rights for America.

Many historians agree that the terms were particularly favorable to the United States. This was likely because the British believed America could become a major trading partner.

The treaty was then taken before the U.S. Congress, which ratified it in January 1784. The British ratified it that April and representatives exchanged ratified versions on May 12.

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  1. Franklin was the only American to sign all four revolutionary documents: the Articles of Confederation, the Declaration of Independence, the Treaty of Paris, and the United States Constitution.

  2. Always had a love of History esp. U.S History….
    and I started collecting stamps when I was 12
    years old….no wonder I enjoy this ………and
    thank you Mystic Stamps!!!!!!!!!! and please
    continue as you make an 82 year old Veteran
    ( Korea ) extremely happy…………….

  3. Very enjoyable history reading, bite-sized enough to check in every day, reminds me of one of the reasons I started stamp-collecting in early grade school. Thanks Mystic, and keep up the good work!

  4. I have collected stamps and history information most all of my 75 years. Now, to impress my old friends, I send them emails from “Only and old stamp collector would know this.” Some send info along to their friends.

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