Eliga H. Gould is a professor and chair of the history department at the University of New Hampshire. His most recent book is Among the Powers of the Earth: The American Revolution and the Making of a New World Empire (2012). Named a Library Journal best book of the year, it received the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Best Book Prize and was a finalist for the George Washington Book Prize. A Japanese-language edition was published in 2016. His current book project, "Crucible of Peace: The Treaty of Paris and the Founding of the American Republic," considers the least examined of the nation's founding documents.
Crucible of Peace is about the least-studied of the United States' founding documents: The Treaty of Paris (1783) that ended the American Revolutionary War. At the center of this story is a tension common to all treaties: between the terms imposed by treaty makers and the wishes of the people whom the treaty purported to bind. In 1783, this tension assumed particular urgency because the peace treaty was a treaty of partition that drew new, sometimes arbitrary lines through what had been unified British territory. The resulting upheaval produced two legacies. On one hand, it showed that the United States was a nation bound by the law of nations from the start. But Americans acquired a strong distrust of the treaty-making process. That legacy is with the republic to this day.