Peace Negotiations Proceed
You might think Washington's official duties had ended, but although hostilities had ceased, peace was precarious while formal negotiations took place. Four American diplomats — John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, and Henry Laurens — were dispatched to Paris to begin the peace process.
Washington stayed on as commander of the American forces. He knew King George had acceded to the wishes of Parliament, and we can presume that Washington didn't put anything past the frustrated and defeated king. To be on the safe side, he maintained a state of military preparedness.
The first Purple Heart, a military decoration awarded to those wounded or killed in action, was designed by General Washington and established in 1782. One of his creative ways to keep his soldiers fighting on when the pay envelopes were not forthcoming was to grant a commission and promote men in rank. Winners of this Purple Heart would be permitted to pass any Continental guards or sentries without challenge.
General Washington could have easily usurped power and taken the role of a military dictator, or perhaps become a king himself. Instead, he chose the route of obedience to the Continental Congress and worked tirelessly to establish a strong central government by and for the people. Not only did Washington stress the need for a Constitutional Convention, he presided over it and helped gain ratification of the Constitution of the United States. Peace was officially proclaimed on April 15, 1783, but it wasn't until November that the last British boats left. The formal signing of the Peace of Paris occurred in September 1783, nearly two years after Cornwallis's surrender at Yorktown. Though Britain had hoped to give the Americans less than complete independence, it finally did just that, recognizing the thirteen United States of America.