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The Continental Congress’s Ratification of the “Treaty of Paris”

January 14, 1784
The Continental Congress’s Ratification of the “Treaty of Paris” The Original Treaty of Paris, Center for Legislative Archives, National Archives and Records Administration Ratified in Annapolis, Maryland, in January 1784, the Treaty of Paris narrowly achieved its ratification deadline formally ending the Revolutionary War.
On this date in Annapolis, Maryland, the Continental Congress ratified the “Treaty of Paris,” formally concluding the colonies’ war for independence from Great Britain. The treaty confirmed American independence from Great Britain and outlined the withdrawal of royal forces from the colonies. Also among its nine principal provisions, it defined the east-to-west borders of the American colonies from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River, and its north-south borders from Canada to Spanish Florida. It also guaranteed American and British uses of the Mississippi River and fishing rights in Canada. Finally, the treaty pledged Congress to protect the civil rights of colonists who remained loyal to Great Britain throughout the conflict. Although diplomats signed the treaty in September 1783, Congress was required to ratify the document and return it to Great Britain within six months. Thomas Mifflin of Pennsylvania, who served as President of the Continental Congress, implored states to send delegates to Annapolis to ratify the treaty. Thomas Jefferson of Virginia wrote, “We have no certain prospect of nine states in Congress and cannot ratify the treaty with fewer.” By mid-December 1783, only seven states were represented in Annapolis. One month later, two more state delegations arrived. A total of 23 members from nine states unanimously ratified the treaty. President Mifflin facilitated the treaty’s delivery by sending his private secretary to France to deliver the ratified document. Mifflin also sent two copies with emissaries to ensure its delivery in Great Britain. After the ratification, Edward Hand of Pennsylvania wrote, “God grant the Peace may be perpetual & productive of every happiness to America, as I think it commences with the joint & full accord of all her good Citizens.”

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