Press/Journalists

Press Release
May 14, 2008

U.S. and Canadian Archives to Present Treaty of Paris

1783: Subject or Citizen?

Historic International Exhibition Explores the Beginnings of Two Nations

Contact Information

  • U.S. National Archives Public Affairs contact U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Affairs staff, 202-357-5300
  • Library and Archives Canada contact Pauline M. Portelance, Library and Archives Canada, 819-994-4589

Washington, DC…The year 2008 marks the 225th anniversary of the Treaty of Paris that ended the American Revolution and resulted in the reshaping of modern North America. The new exhibition, 1783: Subject or Citizen? reveals the untold story of the Treaty of Paris and marks the first time the National Archives and Records Administration of the United States and Library and Archives Canada have collaborated on an international exhibition. The exhibition is on display May 6 through August 5, 2008 in Ottawa, Canada, and October 3, 2008 through January 25, 2009, at the National Archives in Washington, DC.

In conjunction with the exhibit, a special free document display of the Treaty of Paris will be on view Friday, August 29 through Wednesday, September 3 at the National Archives in Washington, DC, to mark the September 3 anniversary of the document’s signing.

The American Revolution (1775–83) divided North Americans, forcing them to make the life-altering choice of whether to remain subjects to the King or become citizens of an independent republic. The revolution divided British American families along political lines and raised equally powerful questions for those not of English origin, pitting First Nations peoples against each other, courting the loyalty of French-speaking North Americans, and raising the hopes of African slaves.

In France, war-weary American and British negotiators met to negotiate peace. Founding Fathers Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and John Adams locked horns with their British counterparts over issues such as boundaries, fishing rights and financial compensation. The agreement they reached, the Treaty of Paris, signed September 3, 1783, formally ended the Revolutionary War and established the United States as an independent and sovereign nation. It provided the foundation for what was to become the Canadian nation.

1783: Subject or Citizen? incorporates 60 archival treasures from the vaults of both institutions, including the rarely displayed 1783 Treaty of Paris which is from the U.S. National Archives. The multi-media exhibit includes audio interactives and 18th-century maps, books, paintings, and letters that tell the story of the individuals living during a time of unprecedented change. Images of documents and artifacts featured in the exhibition are available upon request.

Following its run at Library and Archives Canada, the exhibition will open October 3, 2008 at the National Archives on the National Mall on Constitution Avenue at 9th Street, NW. The exhibition was made possible with support from the Foundation for the National Archives. It will be free and open to the public.

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Contacts:
U.S. National Archives and Records Administration, Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300, and Pauline M. Portelance, Library and Archives Canada at 819-994-4589.

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