The 1783 Treaty of Paris: America's Future on the Line with Dr. Richard Bell

The 1783 Treaty of Paris: America's Future on the Line with Dr. Richard Bell


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Signed in November 1783, the Treaty of Paris was the formal agreement that ended the War for Independence and created the United States of America. It’s one of the most important founding documents in this country’s history. But it is also the least well-known and the most misunderstood.

Over many months of negotiation, three teams of delegates — from the United States, Great Britain, and France — had pushed and pulled to secure every advantage. The French delegation proposed confining the borders of the newly United States to the area east of the Appalachian Mountains and to allow Britain to keep possession of all land north of the Ohio River. But the US delegation balked, cutting France out of subsequent negotiations and dealing directly with London. 

Weakened by the war and desperate to restore trade with America, British leaders bent over backward to give Benjamin Franklin and his fellow US delegates most of what they wanted. When the ink was dry, the United States had secured rights to all land east of the Mississippi River that was north of Florida and south of Canada as well as important fishing rights, and the restoration of property and prisoners of war. As the Comte de Vergennes, the French foreign minister, bitterly observed, “The English buy peace rather than make it.”

Led by an expert on American history, Dr. Richard Bell, this interactive seminar will explore this treaty's significance within the framework of the nation's foundational documents.  Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of these historical negotiations which set the tone for the American political sphere, for nearly three hundred years hence.

Dr. Richard Bell is Professor of History at the University of Maryland. He holds a PhD from Harvard University and has won more than a dozen teaching awards, including the University System of Maryland Board of Regents Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching. He has held major research fellowships at Yale, Cambridge, the Library of Congress and is the recipient of the Andrew Carnegie Fellowship and the National Endowment of the Humanities Public Scholar Award. Professor Bell is author of the new book Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and their Astonishing Odyssey Home, which was shortlisted for the George Washington Prize and the Harriet Tubman Prize.

This conversation is suitable for all ages.

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
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V
Vivienne (San Diego, US)
Fascinating, fast-paced, foundational US history

It's surprising how most Americans, including me, know nothing about the Treaty of Paris, because as the seminar description stated and as the seminar showed, the Treaty of Paris really creates the foundation for America as we know it. It did that by awarding the nascent United States with massive amounts of territory, stripped from the Native peoples, and paving the path for Manifest Destiny. Dr. Bell covered a lot of material in this talk. It's a very dense seminar but it had to be that way. And he was his usual brilliant and scintillating self.

T
T (Tempe, US)

Outstanding seminar on an event I previously knew very little about. Rick was able to describe so many different perspectives which made the subject more thought provoking.

L
Lawrence Davidson (Great Neck, US)
Outstanding Class

Dr. Bell presented another great class. Always interesting and I learned quite a bit. He provides a great deal of information but not to the point where it becomes overwhelming.

Customer Reviews

Based on 3 reviews
100%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
V
Vivienne (San Diego, US)
Fascinating, fast-paced, foundational US history

It's surprising how most Americans, including me, know nothing about the Treaty of Paris, because as the seminar description stated and as the seminar showed, the Treaty of Paris really creates the foundation for America as we know it. It did that by awarding the nascent United States with massive amounts of territory, stripped from the Native peoples, and paving the path for Manifest Destiny. Dr. Bell covered a lot of material in this talk. It's a very dense seminar but it had to be that way. And he was his usual brilliant and scintillating self.

T
T (Tempe, US)

Outstanding seminar on an event I previously knew very little about. Rick was able to describe so many different perspectives which made the subject more thought provoking.

L
Lawrence Davidson (Great Neck, US)
Outstanding Class

Dr. Bell presented another great class. Always interesting and I learned quite a bit. He provides a great deal of information but not to the point where it becomes overwhelming.