NPS Logo

Historical Background

Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings

Suggested Reading

Colonials and Patriots
Historical Background

The Peace of Paris, 1783

Although the main British Army under Clinton remained intact in the North, Yorktown proved the decisive event of the War for Independence. The British Cabinet fell, and the new Government sued for peace. Minor skirmishes plagued the South for another 2 years, but the outcome of the struggle had already been decided.

Negotiations between British and American peace commissioners, involving also French and Spanish diplomats, began in Paris in the spring of 1782. Although the United States and France had been allied in the war, the American negotiators saw that, in view of French and Spanish aspirations in North America, self-interest demanded that the United States conclude a separate peace with Britain. The Treaty of Paris, signed in September 1783, recognized American independence. The United States was to extend from the Atlantic to the Mississippi and from Canada to the northern boundary of Florida, which England returned to Spain. The Mississippi was to be open to English and American vessels, but with Spain in control of its mouth a source of future trouble was left.

The Americans had won virtually all their demands. A new nation had been born.

Previous Next
Last Updated: 09-Jan-2005