This Day in History

On Sept. 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed and the American Revolution came to a close. Representatives from the United States, England, France and Spain gathered to execute the treaty, which brought peace to the nations.

The Treaty of Paris established the independence of England's 13 American colonies. Also, America's boundaries were formalized to include Florida up to the Great Lakes, and from the Atlantic Coast over to the Mississippi River.

First Spark of Revolution Dated Back to April 1775

The first inklings of the revolution that led to the Treaty of Paris began in April 1775, when a group of American colonists took up arms in protest against King George III's denial of economic and political reforms. Next, on July 4, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was adopted. After five years of war, British General Charles Lord Cornwallis finally surrendered to French and American forces in October 1781 at Yorktown, Virginia.

Approximately a year later, in September of 1782, Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and John Jay started peace talks with the English. Thomas Jefferson and Henry Laurens were also supposed to be present for the peace talks, but Laurens was captured by the English and was being detained in the Tower of London, and Jefferson was hit with travel delays. The U.S. delegation did not trust the French, so they met and negotiated with the British separately.

Ben Franklin Asked England to Give Up Canada

During the peace discussions, Benjamin Franklin asked the English to give Canada to the United States, but they refused. Nevertheless, the United States was able to double its size with the amount of new territory it received south of Canada. The United States also gained key fishing rights to Canadian waters, and British creditors retained the right to try and recover debts owed by Americans. After two months of negotiations, the preliminary articles were signed on Nov. 30, 1782. France and Britain signed their preliminary agreement on Jan. 20, 1783. Then, on Sept. 3, 1783, all three nations signed the Treaty of Paris together. The document was later approved by the Continental Congress in January of 1784.