Lesson Plan: 1783 Treaty of Paris

Goals of the Treaty of Paris

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Professor Kathleen DuVal discussed the goals of the meeting in Paris following the American Revolution.


Following the defeat of the British at Yorktown, peace talks began in Paris to negotiate the terms for a treaty to formally end the Revolutionary War. Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and John Jay were among the negotiators for the United States. In this lesson, students will view videos to hear the various proposals that were presented to resolve issues surrounding the conflict and learn the provisions that were included in the final agreement that was signed between Britain and the United States.


  • SET-UP:

    This lesson offers several options for you to use with your students whether you are teaching in class, using a hybrid model, or engaging through distance learning. It can be completed in steps as a class or students can move at their own pace and complete the activities independently.

    You can post links to the videos in the lesson along with the related handouts and engage in discussion to share responses on a discussion board or learning management system.

    You can also save and share the following Google resources for students to use with this lesson.

    Vocabulary Chart: Treaty of Paris of 1783 (Google Doc)

    Note-taking Chart: Treaty of Paris 1783 (Google Doc)

    Handout with Questions: Treaty of Paris of 1783 (Google Doc)

    In Google, choose "File" then "Make a Copy" to get your own copy. You can make any needed adjustments in the instructions such as which activities students need to complete, when it is due, etc. and then make it available to them via Google.


    Have students view the video clip below to provide background on the topic. Then engage in class discussion with the related question.

    Video Clip 1: Goals of the Treaty of Paris (2:23)

    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Professor Kathleen DuVal discussed the goals of the meeting in Paris following the American Revolution.

    • Discuss the three issues that were going to be decided during the post-war meeting in Paris as Kathleen DuVal explains.

    Have students view the following video clips and respond to the accompanying questions. They can watch each video independently or view a video with a partner, prepare responses to the questions and share them in class discussion.

    Video Clip 2: Treaty of Paris: Benjamin Franklin's Proposal (4:06)

    Professor Kathleen DuVal explained Benjamin Franklin's proposal during negotiations at the 1782 meeting in Paris.

    • Describe Benjamin Franklin's approach to having the colonies reconcile with Britain.

    • Explain his proposal.

    • What was Britain's response to Franklin's proposal?
  • Video Clip 3: Treaty of Paris: Spain's Proposal (1:54)

    Professor Kathleen DuVal described Spain's proposal as part of this treaty.

    • Which parts of the U.S. did Spain control during this time?

    • Describe the United States' renewed request as part of a treaty.

    • What was Spain's proposal?
  • Video Clip 4: Treaty of Paris: France's Proposal (1:39)

    Professor Kathleen DuVal described France's proposal as part of this treaty.

    • Describe France's proposal at this meeting.
  • Video Clip 5: Signing the Treaty of Paris (4:00)

    Professor Kathleen DuVal discussed alliances among the colonies, Spain, France, and Britain. She explained the terms that were agreed upon by the United States and Britain in this document.

    • Explain the issues with alliances that existed prior to negotiating a new treaty as Kathleen DuVal discusses.

    • How did the United States proceed?

    • Explain France's reaction.

    • Explain the provisions of the Treaty of Paris that was signed between Britain and the United States in 1783.

    Engage in class discuss to have students share their responses to the questions and to ensure understanding of this document and its impact on the United States.


    Ask to students to consider their notes and information from class discussion and write a brief essay explaining the details of the final signed agreement. They should also discuss the potential effects of this agreement on the United States and its inhabitants once it is implemented.


    • Provide students with a map of the United States. Have them color in the portions of each country's proposal. Students can evaluate the outcome of the final signed document with the suggested proposals and determine the impact on the United States as well as other countries.

    • What if they had social media during the meeting in Paris? Write a twitter thread of information you would share if you were in Paris to update leadership and the people in the United States. Then summarize your position on the final treaty. Do you agree with the terms? Explain your reasoning.

Additional Resources


  • Allies
  • Appalachian Mountains
  • Appease
  • Benjamin Franklin
  • Betrayal
  • Dependent
  • Industrialized
  • John Adams
  • John Jay
  • Loyalists
  • Mollify
  • Ohio River
  • Proposal
  • Raw Materials
  • Refugee
  • Reparations
  • Revenue
  • Sovereign
  • Treasury


U.S. HistoryWorld History


Middle SchoolHigh School