Cambridge Archive Editions

North America Collection

Cambridge Archive Editions (CAE) presents a wealth of historical reference materials from the 18th-20th centuries on the national heritage and political development of numerous countries. “America and Great Britain: Diplomatic Relations 1775-1815” is the first Cambridge Archive Editions collection covering North America.

Comprising official diplomatic correspondence between America and Britain, these volumes provide extraordinary insight into the shaping of a nation, from the territory being referred to in 1775 by King George III as “our Colonies and Plantations in North America”, to its recognition as the “United States” by Britain in 1782 and the official cessation of hostilities in 1815.

The correspondences are made up of an extensive collection of letters, despatches and proclamations from high-ranking British and American politicians, including a number of the Founding Fathers such as George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Hancock.

Together these correspondences form a narrative which not only captures major historical events from a contemporary viewpoint, but also provides a vivid, lively and uniquely personal insight into the creators of modern America.

The collection also provides an insight into European politics during this period, as America increasingly became the subject of political intrigue for Britain and France, whose hostilities dominated Europe at the time. Conflicts between America, France and Britain arising over trade, defense and diplomacy are explored and increase our understanding of this complex trans-Atlantic triumvirate.

North America Collection Volumes

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America and Great Britain: Diplomatic Relations 1775–1815: British Government Documents contains the following volumes:

Volume 1: 1775-1781
Selected documents illustrating the development of tensions in relations between Great Britain and the American Colonies and the growing disaffection on the part of American colonists, the American Revolutionary War, the American rejection of initial British proposals, and the prospect of war with France and Spain.


Volume 2: 1781-1782
This volume follows the negotiations at Paris in 1782, culminating in the Treaty of Paris in 1783, which brought an end to the American Revolutionary War. Also shows the diplomatic process behind the key questions of independence and commercial relations.


Volume 3: 1783-1791
Official arrangements, reports and correspondence on continuing negotiations in Paris, before the Treaty of Paris is ratified in September 1783. Looks at post-treaty concerns such as trade and boundary disputes. Period also sees the signing of the Constitution in 1788 and the election of Washington as President in 1791.


Volume 4: 1792-1794
Volume 4 looks at Franco-American trade and its effect on relations with Britain, who were enforcing a naval blockade. Questions are raised about British involvement in Indian-American War as well as diplomatic debate concerning maritime law.


Volume 5: 1794-1799
Treaty of Amity and Commerce of 1794 resolves heightening diplomatic tensions, though the problem of British impressment of US sailors continues. Also looks at the worsening US-French relations.


Volume 6: 1800-1805
Start of the Napoleonic war has diplomatic implications on Anglo-US and Franco-US relations. The period covered also witnesses the Louisiana Purchase in 1803, which saw the near doubling of American owned territory.


Volume 7: 1806-1808
Period dominated by diplomatic tension over naval issues, most notably the Chesapeake affair, and worsening relations as a US embargo on British trade is enacted. The US government considers retaliation against British ‘aggression’ on US coasts and waters.


Volume 8: 1809-1812
Volume 8 focuses on diplomatic negotiations concerning trade, neutrality, blockades, and Anglo-French competition. British diplomat oversteps his mandate resulting in protracted talks about diplomatic practice.


Volume 9: 1812-1815
The outbreak of the War of 1812 was the culmination of several longstanding and unresolved issues between the two countries. The volume focuses on the diplomatic process behind the bringing of peace in the form of the Treaty of Ghent which was ratified in 1815.

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