On January 14, 1784, the United States Congress of the Confederation ratified the Treaty of Paris in Annapolis, Maryland.
Once signed and ratified, the Treaty of Paris officially ended the American Revolutionary War. Peace negotiations had begun in April 1782. The United States was represented by Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Henry Lawrence, and John Adams. David Harley and Richard Oswald represented Great Britain. The treaty was drafted on November 30, 1782, and signed on September 3, 1783, by Jay, Franklin, Adams, and Harley.
There were ten points to the treaty:
- Britain acknowledges the United States to be free, sovereign, and independent states, and that the British Crown and all heirs and successors relinquish claims to the Government, property, and territorial rights of the same, and every part thereof,
- Establishing the boundaries of the United States, including but not limited to those between the United States and British North America from the Mississippi River to the Southern colonies. Britain surrenders their previously owned land,
- Granting fishing rights to United States fishermen in the Grand Banks, off the coast of Newfoundland and in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence;
- Recognizing the lawful contracted debts to be paid to creditors on either side;
- The Congress of the Confederation will “earnestly recommend” to state legislatures to recognize the rightful owners of all confiscated lands and “provide for the restitution of all estates, rights, and properties, which have been confiscated belonging to British subjects” (Loyalists);
- The United States will prevent future confiscations of the property of Loyalists;
- Prisoners-of-war on both sides are to be released. All British property now in the United States is to remain with them and to be forfeited;
- Both Great Britain and the United States are to be given perpetual access to the Mississippi River;
- Territories captured by either side subsequent to the treaty will be returned without compensation