1776-1783 American Revolution U.S. Department of Seal
Department of State
1776-1783
1784-1800
1801-1829
1830-1860
1861-1865
1866-1913
1914-1920
1921-1936
1937-1945
1946-1968
1969-1989
Image of Benjamin Franklin   |
Benjamin Franklin: First American Diplomat
| [ Benjamin Franklin ] Benjamin Franklin, the most distinguished scientific and literary American of his age, was the first American diplomat.
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John Jay in Madrid
| [photo of John Jay] Elected President of the Continental Congress at age 32, John Jay was a bright and capable lawyer from a well-to-do New York merchant family.
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Fancis Dana in St. Petersburg
| American diplomacy during the War for Independence was short on financial and military assets and long on optimism.
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Robert Livignston: First Secretary of Foriegn Affairs
| [Photo Robert Livingston] The first constitution of the United States, the Articles of Confederation, permitted Congress to select "such committees and civil officers as may be necessary for managing the general affairs of the United States."
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American Revolution
1776-1783
Benjamin Franklin and the first U.S. diplomats win support for the revolution and negotiate a peace with Great Britain.
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French Assistance to the American Cause
| [Photo of Yorktown] The single most important success of American diplomacy during the War for Independence was the critical link forged with France.
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John Adams in Holland
| [photo Adams] John Adams, who represented the United States in France 1778-1779, returned to Paris in 1780 as a Peace Commissioner charged by the Continental Congress with negotiating a peace treaty with Great Britain.
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Treaty of Paris, 1783
| [photo of Treaty Signing] In April 1782 Benjamin Franklin rejected informal peace feelers from Great Britain for a settlement that would provide the thirteen states with some measure of autonomy within the British empire.
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1776, 1784, 1801, 1830, 1861, 1866, 1914, 1921, 1937, 1946, 1969