When American Independence Was Made Official: The Signing of the Paris Treaty of 1783

From 1775 to 1783 Americans fought and died in a great struggle against the British Army, the greatest army in the world at the time. They fought and died for the most noble of human desires, freedom. The Revolutionary War was one of the great moments in human history as, out of blood and great sacrifice, the greatest experiment in political freedom began and continues to this day, some 238 years later.  

This video gives an excellent, if brief account of the events toward the end of the American Revolution that finally brought the British Parliament to the table. They would sign the treaty on September 3, 1783 acknowledging the free and independent status of the original thirteen colonies. They would also sign over all of the territory to their west of the colonies from the Canadian border in the north to the Spanish held border of Florida in the south, and to the Mississippi River.

The Paris Treaty was signed in 1783.
The Paris Treaty was signed in 1783.

The video points out that at the beginning of the war, no one in Europe thought that the American colonies would have a chance against the powerful English Army and Navy. They began to see otherwise and Spain, France and others began to offer assistance to the Americans. The war took on global significance at that time and the British met defeats not only in the colonies but in the Mediterranean, the West Indies and other locations. This also helped to bring the British Parliament to the table.  

Today, the still unfolding experiment in political democracy and human freedom continues. Like all human endeavors, it has suffered at times from hypocrisy (slavery), the Indian wars and survived the Civil War. The effort to grow and to continue to honor the noble ideals enumerated in the Declaration of Independence and the noble document of our Constitution of the United States is never ending.

1784 Proclamation of the ratification of the Treaty of Paris by the US Congress in Annapolis, Maryland.
1784 Proclamation of the ratification of the Treaty of Paris by the US Congress in Annapolis, Maryland.

This nation’s commitment to carry on those efforts has advanced the cause of human freedom incrementally, as each generation has been challenged to learn from its mistakes and to take pride in its successes. It took the Founding Fathers the next 5 years after the Treaty of Paris to hammer out the details of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights (that is the first ten amendments) and the Preamble until it was finally ratified on June 21, 1788. Such a determined struggle to gain independence, and the constant vigilance to learn the difficult virtues needed to maintain and grow that freedom, has been a mark of our national character. May it never fail to continue the struggle to live out a “more perfect union.”

American Commissioners of the Preliminary Peace Agreement with Great Britain.
American Commissioners of the Preliminary Peace Agreement with Great Britain.

It is alway a good thing to recognize and study our history.  It is how we come to know ourselves.  It is how we can see our mistakes and how we can continue to develop the courage to confront them, and the will to grow and to make the country and this experiment in political freedom better with each generation.  

Enjoy this small bit of our common history.

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