The Revolutionary War officially drew to a close almost a year and quarter after the last shots were fired when the Continental Congress of the United States of America ratified the Peace Treaty of Paris on January 14, 1784. With this momentous decision the Congress which had gathered at the Senate Chamber of the Maryland State House established the United States as a sovereign nation with all the territory extending west up to the Mississippi River now being called American soil. The preliminary articles of peace with Great Britain had been approved by the Congress on April 15, 1783. One article which needed deliberation had been drawn up and signed in Paris on September 3, 1783, was sent to the United States for ratification and needed to return to England within a period of six months. At the time, the document required about two months to travel back, making the Congress ratification top on the January agenda. The Congress complied in the nick of time making history. Great Britain received the ratified version in March and accepted the ratified treaty on April 9, 1784. American delegates then traveled to Paris again to exchange the ratified versions on May 12. News of the peace finally started to trickle through America.
The American War of Independence, also known as the Revolutionary war started in 1775 as a revolt waged by the original Thirteen Colonies. France, Spain and the Dutch Republic came out in support of the nascent revolutionaries and the original colonies declared their independence. The resounding impact of the Revolutionary War was not only felt through North America but also through many parts of the world where Great Britain and other European nations such as France and the Dutch Republic held colonies, including in southern Asia. In American history, the war would go down the annals of history as a symbol of liberty and freedom for which about 25,000 revolutionaries gave up their lives and 25,000 more were left wounded. In the eight years of the War of Independence, a number of important battles – such as the ones of Lexington and Concord – were fought. The two opposing forces continued to fight through 1782 and then with the British recognizing the sovereignty of the US, peace negotiations began. Canada was retained by the British, and the US was bordered by Florida in the South and the Mississippi River in the west.
The Peace Treaty of Paris had been signed by delegates from the newly formed Unites States and by Great Britain. Other signatories included representatives from France and Spain. The ratifying convention of the Continental Congress was scheduled at the Maryland State House in Annapolis – the then serving capital of the country – in November. The potential for a crisis was high as the Articles of Confederation were too weak to enforce the states to send in delegates and at least nine of the thirteen states needed to ratify the treaty for it to take effect. Many of the congressional delegates did not arrive in November and the vote could not be conducted right away. In December and early January many delegates started to arrive. By January 12, representatives from only 7 of the 13 states had arrived. By January 13, the final delegate required for a vote – South Carolina Representative Richard Beresford – reached Maryland. On January 14 the treaty was ratified.
You may also like :
January 14 1967 – The Human Be-In, a Prelude to the Summer of Love, Occurs in San Francisco