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

The National CONTINENTAL CONGRESS Historical Society

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Only 10 days left until the 2014 National Treaty of Paris Festival
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.

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. With over 1,600 people in our database, we are one of the largest history-related groupings of teachers, education administrators, historical organizations, elected officials, government employees, retired military personnel, community centers and interested citizens in the state. During the Treaty of Paris Period, there was neither a war going on nor a Constitution being written. It is the first period of peacetime rule prior to the new Constitution.

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

Click on the image below to watch the video about the "Annapolis Era" (Nov. 26, 1783 - Sept. 14, 1786)
within the Treaty of Paris Period.
The Treaty of Paris Period (1783-87):
The Bridge between the Revolution and the Constitution

BELOW: 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.

BELOW: 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.

BELOW: 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
BELOW: 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.

BELOW: 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.
BELOW: 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.

BELOW: 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 to put together year-round activities themed around significant events that took place before the Constitution. Working with a database of over 1,600 people, it 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 permanent place where Treaty of Paris Period (1783-87) walking tours, films and souvenirs can educate visitors about this lost history and help teachers bring it back to life in the classroom.

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:
TEACHERS: Download the "Treaty of Paris Period (1783-87)" lesson plan and a visual to accompany it.

Want to be notified of future events? Please 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)

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