Battles of the American Revolution - 1783
American concluded a preliminary peace treaty with Great Britain on Nov. 30, 1782, and Congress approved on April 15, 1783, It was signed on Sept. 3, 1783.
The Treaty of Paris recognized the independence of the United States and established the new nation's borders. United States territory extended west to the Mississippi River, north to Canada, east to the Atlantic Ocean, and south to about Florida. Britain gave Florida to Spain. The treaty also granted the Americans fishing rights off the coast of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia. In addition, it instructed the Congress to recommend that the states restore property taken from loyalists during the war. The last British soldiers were withdrawn from New York City in November 1783.
As a result of the Revolutionary War, the 13 British colonies threw off royal rule. In its place, they established governments ruled by law and dedicated to the guarantee of certain basic rights, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Admiration for the principles that guided the revolution led peoples elsewhere to demand political reforms. Thomas Paine declared that the Revolutionary War "contributed more to enlighten the world, and diffuse a spirit of freedom and liberality among mankind, than any human event ... that ever preceded it."
Most historians estimate that about 7,200 Americans were killed in battle during the war with approximately 8,200 more wounded. About 10,000 others died in military camps from disease or exposure. Some 8,500 died in prison after being captured by the British. American military deaths from all causes during the war thus numbered about 25,700 with another approximately 1,400 soldiers missing. British military deaths during the war totaled about 10,000.
Many soldiers in the Continental Army came out of the war penniless. They had received little or no pay while they served. Soldiers who had enlisted for the entire war received certificates for Western land but many veterans had to sell the certificates because they needed money before Western lands became available. In 1818, Congress agreed to pay pensions to needy veterans.
The 13 states and the Congress went deeply into debt to finance the war. A new Constitution, approved in 1788, gave Congress the power of taxation. Largely through taxes, Congress paid off much of the war debt by the early 1800's.
The Revolutionary War severely strained Britain's economy. The king and Parliament feared the war might bankrupt the country but, after the war, greatly expanded trade with the United States helped the economy recover, as taxes on that trade substantially reduced Britain's debt.
Of all the warring nations, France could least afford its expenditures on the war. By 1788, the country was nearly bankrupt and France's financial troubles helped bring on the French Revolution in 1789.
Post War Considerations
Although the American Revolution had ended with Britain's recognition of the United States, the British did not leave the North American Continent. British troops remained in Canada and in that area claimed by Britain in the 1774 Quebec Act. The area lay between the southern Great Lakes and nortwest of the Ohio River. In 1778-1779, an expedition led by George Rogers Clark, under the authority of the state of Virginia, was sent against the British posts in the area, later known as the Northwest Territory. When peace came in 1783, Clark's conquest doubtless influenced the award to the United States of the area. His offensive movements had also been of importance in defending the frontier from Indian raids and British expeditions.
However, unlike the eastern seaboard, the British did not completely evacuate the northwest and continued to roam about the area, encouraging Indian hostilities with American settlers. This "backdoor" activity, along with disputes on the Canadian border and problems at sea, was a major factor contributing to the War of 1812.
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