Plan of 1776

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PLAN OF 1776

PLAN OF 1776, a model set of articles for treaties that the United States would negotiate with foreign powers. John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Dickinson, and Robert Morris drew it up. The plan remains significant because of its definition of neutrality rights, otherwise known as freedom of the seas. The committee selected from eighteenth-century European treaties definitions of neutral rights that would appeal to small-navied powers, such as the doctrine of free ships, free goods. It also restricted the category of contraband to a carefully defined list of arms, munitions, and implements of war, not including foodstuffs or naval stores.


Dull, Jonathan R. A Diplomatic History of the American Revolution. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1985.

Hutson, James H. John Adams and the Diplomacy of the American Revolution. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 1980.

Samuel FlaggBemis/a. e.

See alsoContraband of War ; Foreign Policy ; Freedom of the Seas ; International Law ; Neutral Rights ; Neutrality ; Treaties with Foreign Nations .