World Events and Major Publications 1780-1795

Major Events 1780-1800

The First League of Armed Neutrality

1780 - 1783

Spearheaded by Empress Catherine II of Russia, The First League of Armed Neutrality was created in 1780 in opposition to the British Royal Navy's wartime seizure of goods that were being shipped by neutral countries.Denmark and Sweden agreed with Russia's protest and joined the League, which lasted until the Treaty of Paris was signed in 1783, which ended the Revolutionary War.
Portrait of Catherine II:

Siege of Yorktown

September 1781 - October 1781

General George Washington and Comte de Rochambeau with nearly 18,000 American and French soldiers lay siege to Yorktown, a vital harbor in the lower Chesapeake Bay for British supply and troop movement.General Lord Cornwallis and 8,000 British troops try to defend the city in vain, and after nearly a month of fighting surrender to Washington and Rochambeau. This will prove to be the last major land battle of the Revolutionary War.
Surrendering Yorktown:

Treaty of Paris Signed

September 3, 1783

The Treaty of Paris is signed, officially ending the Revolutionary War. Americans John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Jay successfully negotiate two key points of the treaty: 1). British recognition of American Independence, and 2). the delineation of boundaries. The latter will make it possible for American expansion west.

Treaty of Constantinople


Turkey gives control of the Crimea over to Russia.

The United States Adopts the Dollar


A fledgling country, the United States makes a bold move and adopts the dollar, the first decimal coinage system in history.

The Constitution is Drafted and Signed

May 1787 - June 1788

The United States Constitution is signed in Philadelphia. Although the initial form is drafted and signed, it is decided that it would not be ratified until approval from nine of the 13 original colonies. On June 21st, 1788, New Hampshire becomes the ninth state to approve the Constitution. It will still be nearly a year before the government officially begins operating under the Constitution. (March 4, 1789).

George Washington Inaugurated


George Washington is inaugurated as the first U.S. President.

Portrait of Washington:

Storming of the Bastille; The French Revolution Begins

July 1789

Hungry, angry citizens storm the steps of the Bastille in Paris, and the French Revolution erupts. Over the next three years the absolute monarchy ruled by King Louis XVI will gradually lose power and eventually fall.

Painting of the Storming of the Bastille:

The First Census

March 1790

The first United States census takes place. The census determines there are nearly 4 million people living in the U.S.. The most populated city, Philadelphia, boasts an impressive population of 42,000.

Benjamin Franklin Dies

April 1790

Benjamin Franklin dies at 84 years old. Over 20,000 mourners are present at his funeral in Philadelphia.

French Revolutionary Wars Begin


France, in the middle of internal upheaval, begins warring with several surrounding European states. The fighting will continue into the 19th century.

National Convention Establishes a Republic in France


With the power of Louis XVI failing, The French National Convention abolishes the ruling monarchy in favor of a republic.

Louis XVI Executed

January 1793

Louis XVI is executed by way of the guillotine.

Portrait of Louis XVI:

London Newspaper report of his death:

The French Reign of Terror

1793 - 1794

Amidst all of the chaos, The National Convention that now rules over the French Republic proves to be more brutal than Louis XVI ever was. During the Reign of Terror, more than 20,000 people are sentenced to death.

The Rise of Napolean Bonaparte


Napolean Bonaparte begins his rise to the top of France's military when he is named commander of the Army of Italy.

Portrait of Napolean:

Publications 1780-1795

Critique of Pure Reason published


German Philosopher Immanuel Kant publishes the first edition of his book Critique of Pure Reason.

Cecilia published


Frances "Fanny" Burney publishes the romantic novel Cecilia

A History of the Corruptions of Christianity published


Joseph Priestley publishes A History of the Corruptions of Christianity, challenging many widely held Christian beliefs.

The Power of Sympathy published


William Hill Brown publishes the epistolary novel The Power of Sympathy.

Charlotte Temple Published


Charlotte Temple is published by Susanna Rowson in England under the name Charlotte: A Tale of Truth.

A Vindication of the Rights of Woman published


Mary Wollstonecraft publishes A Vindication of the Rights of Women in 1792 in response to a report to the French National Convention that women should only receive domestic education. Wollstonecraft is one of the earliest known outspoken feminists, and despite the sensitive subject, the book was largely accepted.

An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice published


William Godwin publishes An Enquiry in Political Justice in response to the French Revolution.