The Continental Congress ratified the Treaty of Paris on January 14, 1784, officially establishing the United States as an independent and sovereign nation. The Continental Congress approved preliminary articles of peace on April 15, 1783. The treaty, signed in Paris on September 3, 1783, required Congress to return the ratified document to England within six months.
Although Congress was scheduled to convene at the Maryland State House in November, as late as January 12 only seven of the thirteen states were legally represented. Operating under the weak Articles of Confederation, Congress lacked the power to enforce attendance. With the journey to England requiring approximately two months, time was running short.