Britain and France at the Birth of America: The European Powers and the Peace Negotiations of 1782-1783


This is the first comprehensive study of the peace negotiations which ended the American War of Independence. It challenges traditional views and uses a wide range of sources to provide a detailed analysis of the treaties signed between Britain and France, Spain, the Netherlands, and the United States. It shows that American independence, rather than being the important issue of the negotiations, was consistently subordinated to European balance of power considerations. The book demonstrates the importance of personality and popular prejudice in determining foreign policy, and new insights are offered into the personalities and objectives of the leading political figures of the time, including George III, Louis XVI, Benjamin Franklin, Lords Shelburne, Grantham and North, Charles James Fox, the comte de Vergennes, John Jay, John Adams, Catherine the Great and Frederick the Great. The result is a significant new study of eighteenth-century diplomatic and political history which overturns previously established views.


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