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The Birth and Government

of the

United States of America

The American Revolution

1775 to 1783

Page 8

VICTORY AND TREATY OF PARIS

November 30, 1782 - A preliminary peace treaty was signed in Paris recognizing, among things, American independence. It defined boundaries of the United States and called for British withdrawal from America.

December 14, 1782 - The British evacuated Charleston, South Carolina

January 20, 1783 - Expressing a desire to end all hostilities, England signed a preliminary peace treaty with France and Spain, the two nations that supported American independence.

April 11, 1783 - A defining moment occurred when Congress officially declared an end to hostilities and military action.

September 3, 1783 - Representatives of Great Britain and the United States signed the Treaty of Paris. The three American representatives were John Jay, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin.

October 7, 1783 - The House of Burgesses in Virginia granted freedom to all slaves who served in the Continental Army.

November 2, 1783 - George Washington gave his formal farewell address to his army. The next day, all remaining troops were discharged.

November 26, 1783 - Congress convened in Annapolis, Maryland.

December 23, 1783 - A monumental event in world history occurs as George Washington appeared before Congress and voluntarily resigned his commission as supreme military commander of American forces. Never before had a conquering military leader laid down his weapons and walked away from power. It is generally agreed that Washington could have used his position to declare himself king and rule all of the United States under a monarchy. Washington stepped aside from power for the cause of democracy through representative government.

January 14, 1784 - Congress ratifies the Treaty of Paris bringing a formal end to the American Revolution.

SIGNIFICANCE OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

The time from the “shot heard around the world” on April 19, 1775 to the end of 1783 was a pivotal moment in the history of representative democracy. What began as a revolt against taxation without representation and British military rule in the American colonies ended with a formal declaration of independence and a victorious revolutionary war to defend that declaration. A new nation was born and its experiment in democracy began. The new nation could have chosen a king to rule over all the land and people. However, the victorious colonists rejected the idea of a monarchy (rule by kings and queens) and chose the more egalitarian method of representative democracy where the people rule through elected representatives.

Prior to its occurrence, history shows no parallel to the American Revolution. The ancient Greeks advanced the concept of representative democracy but could not sustain it in practice due to general volatility and upheaval in that part of the world at that period in time. The idea of overthrowing an oppressive king did not end with American colonial revolt. The American Revolution would inspire the oppressed citizens of France to revolt against French King Louis XVI in 1789.

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