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Collection Documents from the Continental Congress and the Constitutional Convention, 1774 to 1789

1783 to 1784

Timeline

  1. 1783

    The Army Complains. When a delegation of army officers complained to Congress about their unpaid salaries and pensions, Congress had no quick solution. An anonymous letter urged officers to unite and attempt one last appeal to Congress. If its attempt was ignored, the army was prepared to revolt against Congress. Washington, addressing the army in person at its headquarters in Newburgh, New York, convinced them to be patient, and not to dishonor themselves after their glorious victory. Visibly moved, the officers adopted resolutions to present to Congress, and pledged not to threaten violence or rebellion.

    Congress Ratifies the Preliminary Articles of Peace. After Spain, France, and Britain successfully came to terms, the treaty between France, Britain, and America was put into effect, and warfare formally ceased. Congress ratified the Articles of Peace on April 15.

    The Loyalists and British Evacuate New York. New York City was the last Loyalist refuge in America. Starting in April, nearly 30,000 Loyalists, knowing that the British soon would leave New York, packed their belongings and sailed to Canada and England, followed shortly by the British army. In November, when the British sailed away, Washington entered the city and formally bade farewell to his officers. Soon after, he resigned his commission.

    The American Army Disbands. In June, most of Washington's army disbanded and headed for home just before the British evacuated New York. A small force remained until all the British had departed.

    Congress Is Threatened. A group of soldiers from Pennsylvania marched on Congress, demanding their pay. Armed and angry, they surrounded Independence Hall. The members of Congress eventually were allowed to leave the building; they fled to Princeton, New Jersey.

  2. 1784

    The Western Territories. Thomas Jefferson headed a committee that proposed a plan for dividing the western territories, providing a temporary government for the West, and devising a method for new western states to enter the Union on an equal basis with the original states. The plan was adopted, but not put into effect.

    Congress Creates a Board of Finance. When Robert Morris resigned as superintendent of finance, he was replaced by a Board of Finance consisting of three commissioners.

    New York the Temporary Capital. Congress decided to make New York City the temporary capital of the United States, until the location of a permanent federal city was decided upon.

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