End of the War and Peacemaking
On October 19, 1781, Lt. General Charles Earl Cornwallis surrendered to General George Washington at Yorktown. The news of the surrender reached England in November. Soon, the House of Commons declared that peace was needed. On March 20, 1782, British Secretary of State Lord North resigned and the wartime government fell. On March 26, Major General Sir Guy Carleton replaced Lt. General Sir Henry Clinton as Commander-in-Chief of the British Army in America.
On April 19, 1782, Holland recognized the United States of America. Lord Shelborne was Secretary of State in the new British government and he wanted peace. He sent David Hartley and Richard Oswald, who served as chief negotiator, to Paris as the British peace commissioners. John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Jay served as the American peace commissioners. By November 30, 1782, a prelimenary treaty had been signed that recognized American independence. On December 14, 1782, Savannah, GA was the last outpost to be evacuated. On February 4, 1783, Britain announced an end to hostilities. On April 11, Congress announded an end to hostilities. On April 15, Congress ratified the preliminary treaty.
However, terms with France and Spain still had to be negotiated. Finally, on September 3, 1783, the Treaty of Paris was signed by America, Britain, Spain, France and The Netherlands. Among the terms of the treaty other than recognition of independence was that America's borders were recognized to extent to the Great Lakes in the North, Florida in the South and the Mississippi River on the West. It was also agreed that Loyalists would not be persecuted. On November 25, 1783, the last British soldier evacuated from New York City. On January 14, 1784, the Treaty of Paris was ratified by Congress, finally officially ending the Revolutionary War.
Solidifying a Republic
On March 4, 1785, New York City became the capital of the United States. On May 25, 1787, the Constitutional Congress convened in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. On September 17, 1787, the United States Constitution was signed. On March 4, 1789, the Constitution took effect. On April 20, 1789, George Washington was sworn in as the first President of the United States. On December 9, 1790, Philadelphia became the capital of the United States. On December 15, 1791, the Bill of Rights were ratified.