The Treaty of Paris: The Document that Ended the American Revolution

Login to Watch  

Duration 01:02:14

University of Maryland

Dr. Richard Bell is Professor of History at the University of Maryland. He holds a PhD from Harvard University and has won more than a dozen teaching awards, including the University System of Maryland Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has held major research fellowships at Yale, Cambridge, and the Library of Congress and is the recipient of the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship and the National Endowment of the Humanities Public Scholar award. Professor Bell is author of the new book Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home, which was shortlisted for the George Washington Prize and the Harriet Tubman Prize.


Signed in November 1783, the Treaty of Paris was the formal agreement that ended the War for Independence and created the United States of America. It’s one of the most important founding documents in this country’s history; but it is also the least well known and the most misunderstood. Over many months of negotiation, three teams of delegates—from the United States, Great Britain, and France—had pushed and pulled to secure every advantage. The French delegation proposed confining the borders of the newly United States to the area east of the Appalachian Mountains and allowing Britain to keep possession of all land north of the Ohio River. But the U.S. delegation balked, cutting France out of subsequent negotiations and dealing directly with London. Weakened by the war and desperate to restore trade with America, British leaders bent over backwards to give Benjamin Franklin and his fellow U.S. delegates most of what they wanted. When the ink was dry, the United States had secured rights to all land east of the Mississippi River that was north of Florida and south of Canada, as well as important fishing rights, and the restoration of property and prisoners of war. As the Comte de Vergennes, the French foreign minister, bitterly observed, “The English buy peace rather than make it.”



1 reviews
5 stars
100 %
4 stars
0 %
3 stars
0 %
2 stars
0 %
1 star
0 %
Maggie Olmstead

Fascinating talk

I learned a lot about an incredibly interesting subject, about which I previously knew almost nothing. Thank you!

2 years ago
Scroll to Top