The Treaty of Paris
The Treaty of Paris was signed nearly two years after the Battle at Yorktown. What took so long?
After the Battle of Yorktown, Britain's King George III did not think he could win the war anymore, but he still did not want to give the American colonists independence from Great Britain.
Three representatives were sent from America to Great Britain to work out the terms of the peace treaty. Those men were John Adams, John Jay, and Benjamin Franklin. It took them a great deal of time and discussion to finally convince King George III that America would not sign a peace treaty, ending the Revolutionary War, until that treaty included American independence from Great Britain.
And, it took time and discussion to work out the other details of the treaty, if not to the satisfaction, at least to the acceptance of the other parties involved who had fought on the side of the American colonists - the French, the Spanish, and the Dutch, each of whom had their own national interests.
Finally, in September 1783, the Treaty of Paris was ratified. The French sided with the Americans to get back at the British after losing the French and Indian War. The treaty largely saw the European nations exchange colonial possessions with Britain regaining the Caribbean nations of the Bahamas, Grenada, and Montserrat, while giving parts of Florida to Spain. France's gains included the African nation of Senegal as well as having fishing rights guaranteed on the Grand Banks in Canada.
For America, The Treaty of Paris accomplished:
1. END OF WAR: The official end of the Revolutionary War
2. NEW GOVERNMENT: This treaty gave the colonies their independence from Great Britain. The 13 states were free to make their own rules and create their own state and national government without British interference.
3. MORE LAND: The British gave America all the land between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mississippi River, and from Canada to the north and Florida to the south. Land that Parliament had "reserved" for the Indian nations would now be open for settlement.
4. REMOVAL OF BRITISH MILITARY: The British army and navy agreed to leave all American territories.
5. FREE TRADE: British Parliament had passes many laws to control trade in the American colonies. These laws were repealed, and American colonists were free to trade with whomever they chose.
As the map shows, much of the land granted to the United States in the treaty did not belong to any of the 13 original states. For a time, some of the original states tried to claim these new lands as their own. For instance, New York tried to claim lands that included present-day Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. North Carolina tried to claim portions of what is now Tennessee, while Virginia tried to claim land that is now part of Michigan.
Directions: Answer the following questions in complete sentences.
1. Why did the Treaty of Paris take so long to ratify? Who were the representatives sent to work on the deal?
2. What 3 countries fought on the side of the colonists?
3. What government decisions were the colonists now allowed to do?
4. Summarize the new lands that the colonists gained from the Treaty of Paris.
5. After the treaty was ratified, who were the colonists free to trade with?
6. What land conflicts arose between the colonies after the Treaty of Paris was ratified?
7. What will be some problems the new American government will face? Make predictions