1783 : Benjamin Franklin Badgers Britain Into Ceding Isle Royale to U.S.

September 3, 2018 all-day

Portrait of Benjamin Franklin

Great Britain and the United States signed the Treaty of Paris, thus ending the Revolutionary War and ceding Michigan to the United States of America. However, to retain the lucrative fur trade in Michigan, Britain did not abandon its military or political position in Michigan for another thirteen years.

Interestingly enough, the Treaty of Paris was the culmination of a two-year battle by Benjamin Franklin to have Isle Royale fall within the American boundary. Franklin had heard Isle Royale had many copper resources, and successfully badgered the British into drawing the boundary line not through the middle of Lake Superior but further North around the island.

Britain’s Prime Minister at the time, Lord Rockingham, reportedly said “Mr. Franklin, I don’t give a damn if that island is solid copper. If the treaty conference had lasted another week, you Yankees would have insisted on running your infernal boundary line around Ireland.”

Sources :

Michigan Historical Calendar, courtesy of the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University.

Michigan Every Day

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