Revolutionary War Ends

The Continental Congress ratified preliminary articles of peace ending the Revolutionary War with Great Britain on April 15, 1783.

International intrigue and intense negotiation preceded the formulation of these preliminary articles.

The June 1, 1781, entry in the Journals of the Continental Congress notes "that Congress have received undoubted intelligence…that the Courts of Vienna and Petersburg have offered their mediation to the belligerent powers for the re-establishment of peace…" A few days later, on June 15, 1781, the Congress issued "instructions to honourable John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Henry Laurens and Thomas Jefferson, ministers plenipotentiary on behalf of the United States to negotiate a treaty of peace." Although Jefferson did not go to Europe to negotiate, he eventually shepherded the treaty through Congress and later drafted the legislation for the political organization of the western lands acquired by the treaty.

In London as political support for the war plummeted after Yorktown, Prime Minister Lord North resigned in March 1782. In April 1782, the Commons voted to end the war in America. Preliminary peace articles were signed in Paris at the end of November, 1782; the formal end of the war did not occur until the Treaty of Paris was signed on September 3, 1783, and the United States Congress of the Confederation ratified the treaty on January 14, 1784. The last British troops left New York City on November 25, 1783.

Britain negotiated the Paris peace treaty without consulting her Native American allies and ceded all Native American territory between the Appalachian Mountains and the Mississippi River to the United States. Full of resentment, Native Americans reluctantly confirmed these land cessions with the United States in a series of treaties, but the fighting would be renewed in conflicts along the frontier in the coming years, the largest being the Northwest Indian War.