Treaty of Paris Period (1783-87): The Bridge Between the Revolution and the Constitution

The National CONTINENTAL CONGRESS Historical Society

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The signing of the 1783 Treaty of Paris
The 1787 Constitutional Convention

The Treaty of Paris Period

is the time between the end of the Revolutionary War
and the start of the
Constitutional Convention.
Click on the image below to watch the video:

During the Treaty of Paris Period, a newly independent United States made a difficult but deliberate transition from fighting a war
to governing a nation through several key steps (see below) that eventually culminated in a new Constitution. Without learning this history, and why these events took place during that time, it's difficult to understand why a new Constitution was needed in peacetime once the Revolutionary War was finally over. As a result, most Americans don't know about the first form of American government and who was in charge of it. Students learn a version of history that seems to skip right from the Revolution straight to the Constitution.

The Center for the Study of the Treaty of Paris Period (1783-87) is dedicated to interpreting and understanding the importance of the crucial events
that took place between the end of the Revolutionary War in 1783 and the Constitutional Convention in 1787, a neglected era that is mostly omitted when teaching American history in elementary school, high school and college. The Treaty of Paris Period began with the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783 and concluded when, following the end of Shays' Rebellion in early 1787, the Constitutional Convention commenced in Philadelphia.

The 1783 Treaty of Paris directly led to a national convention in 1787 to write a new Constitution.

The Treaty of Paris Period (1783-87):
The Bridge between the Revolution and the Constitution

The signing of the Treaty of Paris in France on September 3, 1783 by Americans
Benjamin Franklin, John Jay and John Adams
formally ended the Revolutionary War.

The resignation of General George Washington from the Army in Annapolis on December 23, 1783,

set the stage for permanent, civilian rule of the United States.

The ratification of the Treaty of Paris by printed Proclamation in Annapolis on January 14, 1784,
led to official recognition of American independence by Great Britain
The April 23, 1784 Land Ordinance, a bill proposed by congressional delegate Thomas Jefferson
and passed by Congress in Annapolis, created new states out of the land
st of the Appalachian Mountains and laid the groundwork for future expansion.
The appointment of Thomas Jefferson as a minister to France from Annapolis on May 7, 1784
allowed the author of the Declaration of Independence to represent America's foreign policy in Europe.

A series of meetings in 1784-85 between Maryland and Virginia, first in Annapolis in December of 1784 and
finally hosted by George Washington at his home
at Mount Vernon from March 25-28, 1785,
led to an agreement on the use of the Potomac River known as the Mount Vernon Compact;
this document showed the new nation that the states could resolve the many
pressing issues, such as commerce, trade and expansion
, that divided them.
Shays' Rebellion, which began on August 29, 1786 and lasted well into 1787,
made clear the inadequacy of the Articles of Confederation and the need for constitutional reform.

The September 11-14, 1786 Annapolis Convention at Mann's Tavern was attended by 12 delegates from 5 states.
This is where James Madison and Alexander Hamilton argued,
after Shays' Rebellion was underway,
that the Articles of Confederation could not be amended and therefore
a Constitutional Convention needed to take place in Philadelphia in 1787.

The Treaty of Paris Period (1783-87) needs to be taught, analyzed and discussed in order to fully understand how a nation victorious in its war for independence found it necessary to write a new Constitution that today is the oldest continuously-used legal format for running a country.

The Center for the Study of the Treaty of Paris Period (1783-87) is part of the Annapolis Community Foundation, its fundraising "parent" organization. It has collected over $13,000 in donations and $8,000 in grants during the past calendar year to put together year-round activities themed around significant events that took place before the Constitution. The Center for the Study of the Treaty of Paris Period (1783-87), working with a database of over 1,300 people, has three primary goals:

  • To sponsor themed events in Annapolis throughout the year correlating to significant dates within the Treaty of Paris Period (1783-87), especially those that took place in Annapolis. These events usually consist of a presentation by local experts, followed by questions, held in the Crown and Crab Room at the Maryland Inn, where exact replicas of signed documents from the "America's 14 Forgotten Presidents of Congress Before Washington" collection are displayed.

  • To provide a place where Treaty of Paris Period (1783-87) walking tours, films and souvenirs can educate visitors about this lost history and and help teachers bring it back to life in the classroom.

  • To spearhead an effort to rebuild Mann's Tavern, which burned down in 1919, to be that place.

Between Paris and Philadelphia, the road to the new United States began in Annapolis, the first peacetime capital of an officially independent United States. That road needs to lead to a destination, a home. We propose that the Annapolis Masonic Lodge no. 89 at 162 Conduit Street in Annapolis, Maryland be purchased by the National Park Service, the state of Maryland, Anne Arundel County or the city of Annapolis and then renovated and remodeled into a new Mann’s Tavern, the site of the 1783 dinner preceding George Washington’s resignation, the first Maryland-Virginia meeting in 1784 that turned into the 1785 Mount Vernon Compact and the 1786 Annapolis Convention that led to the Constitutional Convention in 1787. The events that occurred at Mann’s Tavern are second only to the Maryland State House in terms of where one can go in Annapolis to learn about the most important events in America’s history. Mann’s Tavern burned down in 1919 and was not rebuilt. The Maryland State House is the Independence Hall of Annapolis and it is rightly being restored to its original condition. Mann’s Tavern is the equal of Mount Vernon, Monticello, Arlington House or even Ford’s Theater, all of which have been rebuilt or restored. Mann’s Tavern needs to rise again! The site where the Annapolis Masonic Lodge no. 89 now meets is the last remaining building of the Mann’s Tavern complex. It should be remodeled to look like Mann’s Tavern by either adding a façade to the left side of the building or incorporating the house that occupies the space to its left into a new front entrance, across the street from the rear of Chick and Ruth’s Delly, in order to restore Mann’s Tavern.

This is Mann's Tavern, circa 1900. The tall building behind it, on the right, facing Conduit Street, is the structure that serves as the Annapolis Masonic Lodge no. 89. Everything else in front of this building burned down in 1919.
Between the front yard of what used to be Mann's Tavern and what is now Main Street is a transplanted structure (on the right, above) and a gravel parking lot enclosed by a wooden fence (on the left, above). In front of the lot and structure is a one-way, side street that the parking garage (not visible, on the far left) exits to. Mann's Tavern can be restored by enlarging the Annapolis Masonic Lodge from the brighter red structure in the background forward, into the gravel driveway, thus connecting the enlargement to the transplanted structure all the way to the one-way street. The last step would be to fill in the space between the two buildings on Conduit Street (see picture to the right), which is currently a gravel driveway that leads to the gravel parking lot.
Click on the above movie to see what the property looks like now.
The building on the right is today's Annapolis Masonic Lodge. The building on the left, next door to the Lodge, is the transplanted structure in the photo on the left. An extension built along the rear end of the Lodge's left side (the most recent addition) and extending to the one-way street (using the gravel parking lot), would restore Mann's Tavern's front entrance. The transplanted building (above, on the left) would appear to be part of the enlarged complex but it would not be accessible from the new entrance; it would continue to be self-contained with its own entrance, and the loss of the gravel parking lot would be compensated for with special permit parking on the one-way street and/or Conduit Street.
Click on the above movie to see Mann's Tavern restored.

We can help you rediscover the Treaty of Paris Period (1783-87)!

Mark Croatti is available to come and speak to your class, school, college or community about "The Treaty of Paris Period (1783-87)" or provide for any size group (even 2 or 3 people) a walking tour covering these Annapolis-based events:

* 1783: George Washington's resignation from the Army.
* 1783-84
: The process of signing and ratifying the Treaty of Paris and the appointment of Thomas Jefferson to France during the time when Annapolis was the nation's capital.
* 1785-87: How the Mount Vernon Compact between Maryland and Virginia led to the 1786 Annapolis Convention and how that event, along with Shays' Rebellion, led to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.

To come speak: Negotiable.
Walking tours: Individuals: $10 each / Under 18: $8 each / Group of 10: $80 / Group of 15: $100 / Group of 20 or more: $120.

To book Mark Croatti to speak or provide a walking tour, email:

Want to attend our events? Send us an email so that we can put you on our mailing list!

Contact Information:

Stephen Kling: Chair, Board of Directors, Annapolis Community Foundation

Jennifer Navabi: Executive Director, Annapolis Community Foundation

Mark Croatti: President, Center for the Study of the Treaty of Paris Period (1783-87)


The Center for the Study of the Treaty of Paris Period (1783-87) is the public face of the:


Congress (1783)


Convention (1786)


Note: ACCS is part of the Annapolis Community Foundation