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2023 National Treaty of Paris Festival

Come Celebrate the 240th Anniversary of the Signing of the 1783 Treaty of Paris!


September 16-17, 2023
The Michael E. Busch Annapolis Library

1410 West St
Annapolis, MD 21401

Festival Itinerary


10:00am: The library opens with outdoor tables, uniformed soldiers, and activities.


W3R (Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route)

Daughters of the American Revolution, Peggy Stewart Chapter

Ann Arundell County Historical Society

Colonial Tours of Annapolis

Arundel-on-the-Bay History Group

The John Hanson Memorial Association

10:15am: The Auditorium opens with indoor tables, exhibits, and activities.


Historic Annapolis

Historic London Town and Gardens

Chesapeake Crossroads Heritage Area

Daughters of the American Revolution, Peggy Stewart Chapter

Original pre-Washington presidential documents, including items from George Brown's private collection

Arundel-on-the-Bay History Group

11:00am: Festival  welcome and opening remarks begin in the Auditorium.

11:00am-Former Annapolis Mayor Ellen Moyer

11:05am-State Delegate Dana Jones

11:10am-State Senator 

Sarah Elfreth

11:15am-State Delegate Shaneka Henson

11:20am-USNA Instructor Mark Croatti

11:30am: Presentation by Dr. Matthew Dziennik

Professor, Department of History
at the United States Naval Academy 
and contributor to Beyond 1776: 
Globalizing the Cultures of the 
American Revolution
(2018, University of Virginia Press).

"The Significance of the 1783 Treaty of Paris: British and French Perspectives."
The Siege of Yorktown, the American Revolution's critical turning point, convinced the British that it was impossible to retain the American colonies through war. Combined French and American forces under General George Washington and the Comte de Rochambeau surrounded a British army led by Lord Cornwallis, leading to the surrender of over 7,000 soldiers and the start of peace negotiations that culminated in the Treaty of Paris, signed on September 3, 1783. The importance of the city of Annapolis cannot be overstated; St. John's College served as a crucial staging post for encamped French soldiers marching to Yorktown and, following the defeat of the British Empire in America, the Maryland State House hosted Congress when it ratified the treaty, establishing Annapolis as the first peacetime capital of the United States.


1:30pm: Presentation by Mark Croatti, M.A.

Instructor, Department of History at the United States Naval Academy and the creator of "The Hall of Presidents Before Washington" exhibit at The Westin in the Presidents Hill neighborhood of Annapolis (2017 Grand Opening).

"The Significance of the 1783 Treaty of Paris: American and Canadian Perspectives."

The 1783 Treaty of Paris didn't just end the American Revolution; it was a negotiated cease-fire that forced the United States to purchase its independence by agreeing to pay the war debts of several European countries, including Great Britain and France, and also agree to restricted borders that guaranteed a continuing British presence in North America that included Naval forces on the Mississippi River, which later directly led not only to Shays's Rebellion and the need for a new Constitution to pay off those debts but also the invasion of Canada, which violated the treaty's border restrictions and started The War of 1812.

3:00pm: Auditorium re-enactment, "The Signing of the 1783 Treaty of Paris"

The 1783 Treaty of Paris was signed on September 3 in France by United States representatives Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, and John Jay, and Great Britain's representative, David Hartley (the Younger)

4:00pm: The library closes until the festival resumes tomorrow.

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 (Constitution Day):

1:00pm: The library opens.

1:30pm: Presentation by Mark Croatti, M.A.

Instructor, Department of History 

at the United States Naval Academy

"The Treaty of Paris Period 

(1783 - 1787): From the 

Articles of Confederation 

to a New Constitution"

During the Treaty of Paris Period, between 1783, when the Treaty of Paris was signed, and 1787, when the Constitutional Convention met in Philadelphia, the city of Annapolis served as a bridge from the Revolution to the Constitution by playing a major role in a series of events that directly led to a new governing document that converted what had been a regional entity of "united" but sovereign states into a single, federal state. These events include the 1784 Land Ordinance, the 1785 Mount Vernon Compact between Maryland and Virginia, and the 1786 Annapolis Convention, where 12 delegates from five states met at Mann's Tavern, just as Shays's Rebellion was underway, to determine whether the Articles of Confederation could be amended in order to finally pay the war debts that had been agreed to in the Treaty of Paris.

3:00pm: Presentation by Dr. Russell Rockefeller

Former Professor and Chair of the 

Department of History at

Anne Arundel Community College

"Intentions of The Founders:

An Historical Context of The Constitution, the Bill of Rights, 
and Original Intent vs. Changes 
over Time"

Amid much current debate over “legal originalism,” history can enlighten us much more than political debate can. The founding documents were not written in a vacuum, but rather out of experience and a profound knowledge of the past. Examining historical records can give us a clear understanding of political theory in the Early Republic regarding such now misconceived concepts as federalism, the separation of power, and checks and balances, as well as both property and individual rights. Those concepts changed over time--as expected by the Founders, who devised methods for change--but only through an honest reexamination of historical context should we attempt to understand the legal ramifications of the founding documents.  Join Dr. Rockefeller as we go back in time to the Constitutional Convention in order to embark on a fresh start to such a comprehensive effort.

5:00pm: The library closes.


Past Televised Lectures

Click on a link below:


Fall semester, 2022:
Documents owner Sam Brown and 

Naval Academy instructor Mark Croatti 

speak about the 14 Presidents before 

Washington under the Articles of 

Confederation and Continental Congress.


April 4, 2015:
Peter Hanson Michael speaks about
"Remembering President John Hanson
at the Treaty of Paris Center.

Sept. 14, 2013: Dr. Chris Arndt of JMU
speaks at
our 2013 National
Continental Congress Festival
held at the Annapolis Masonic Lodge.

Nov. 26, 2012: Dr. Ken Bowling
of GWU speaks at our
2012 National 
Continental Congress Festival held at
Governor Calvert House.


Nov. 26, 2012: Glenn Grasso speaks
at our
2012 National Continental
Congress Festival held at
Governor Calvert House.
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