Opinion: Maybe April 9 is the real birthday of our country

The approaching warm weather makes us think of the coming national holidays, such as July 4. We declared our independence from England on July 4, 1776. However, the king of England didn’t quite see it the same way and a war ensued for several years. With the evacuation of the British Army from the Yorktown peninsula, the fighting was over but not the war, with many issues to be resolved.


Benjamin Franklin, John Jay and John Adams were our ambassadors to Paris to negotiate peace on behalf of the United States. As a result, the Treaty of Paris of 1783 was developed and ratified by the British Parliament on April 9, 1784. The Crown of England and all of Europe then recognized the United States of America as a free and independent nation.  Maybe April 9 is the real birthday of our country.


Beside ending a war and proclaiming the independent nation status of the U.S., the Treaty  of Paris had many provisions beneficial to our infant nation. American flagged ships were guaranteed protection by the laws of the sea and patents and claims of the crown or Loyalists for real property on our continent were declared null and void. This one provision alone moved our western boundary to the Mississippi River.


Land title cases flooded our courts for a while, but finally all were resolved. I can remember when I was retained to help settle a chain of title cases some years back. The property in question was located in the extreme rural part of Sussex and Warren counties. I resurveyed land that hat been surveyed and subdivided by the king’s surveyors in 1744. I had to bring those parcels and any future subdivisions forward to establish clear title for the current owners. For me, the experience was quite educational.

Richard Pender is the senior vice commander of American Legion Post 459 in North Brunswick. He writes the occasional historical column for Newspaper Media Group. He can be reached at rapender@netzero.net.