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Britain and France at the Birth of AmericaThe European Powers and the Peace Negotiations of 1782-83$
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Andrew Stockley

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780859896153

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: May 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9780859896153.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM LIVERPOOL SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.liverpool.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Liverpool University Press, 2020. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in LSO for personal use.date: 06 June 2020

The Birth of America

The Birth of America

Chapter:
(p.51) 2 The Birth of America
Source:
Britain and France at the Birth of America
Author(s):

Andrew Stockley

Publisher:
Liverpool University Press
DOI:10.5949/liverpool/9780859896153.003.0003

In analysing the peace negotiations between Britain and America, Richard Morris suggests that American independence was the most important issue at stake at the time. He notes that the Americans won an outstanding peace settlement because the American peace envoys were more clever and more moral than their European counterparts. While Morris is correct in claiming that America gained independence and received generous concessions in terms of boundaries, fisheries, and other interests, this chapter challenges the assumption that Americans outwitted crafty but stupid Old World diplomats to put an end to the War of American Independence. It first considers Britain's willingness to make concessions due to two factors: Britain's concern with the European balance of power; and the peculiar, albeit visionary, beliefs of the earl of Shelburne. The chapter then discusses the role of France and Spain, America's suspicion of French intentions with regards to the peace negotiations, the creation of a commission headed by Richard Oswald, and British resistance and concessions.

Keywords:   peace negotiations, Britain, America, Richard Morris, peace envoys, American Independence, earl of Shelburne, France, Spain, Richard Oswald

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