Treaty of Ghent

Treaty of Ghent

The Treaty of Ghent (USStat|8|218), signed on December 24 1814, in Ghent, currently in Belgium, was the peace treaty that ended the War of 1812 between the United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The treaty largely restored relations between the two countries to "status quo ante bellum". Due to the era's slow speed of communication, it took weeks for news of the peace treaty to reach America, well after the Battle of New Orleans had ended.


The British delegation was composed of the minor diplomats William Adams, James Lord Gambier, and Henry Goulburn. Meetings were often delayed a week or more as the British diplomats lacked the power to make direct negotiations and waited for orders from London while the American delegation, composed of John Quincy Adams, James A. Bayard, Sr., Henry Clay, Albert Gallatin, and junior member Jonathan Russell, had full authority to negotiate.

The United States had been unsuccessful in its invasions of Lower and Upper Canada, while Britain had not made any significant gains, except for the burning of Washington D.C., with its retaliatory raids on American soil. War Hawks in Congress wanted to conquer Canada and Florida. [American Military History, Army Historical Series, Ch. 6, "p." 123, states "While the western "war hawks" urged war in the hope of conquering Canada, the people of Georgia, Tennessee, and the Mississippi Territory entertained similar designs against Florida, a Spanish possession". [] ]

The agreement

The treaty released all prisoners and restored all war lands and boats, that is, returned to America approximately convert|10000000|acre|km2 of territory near Lakes Superior and Michigan, in Maine, and on the Pacific coast. [cite book | author=W.G. Dean et al. | year=1998| title=Concise Historical Atlas of Canada] The treaty made no major changes to the pre-war situation, but did make a few promises. Britain promised to return captured slaves, but instead a few years later paid the United States £250,000 for them.Fact|date=May 2008 The British proposal to create an Indian buffer zone in Ohio and Michigan collapsed after the Indian coalition fell apart. The weak guarantees regarding American treatment of the Indians in article IX were ignored.

The aftermath

Fighting immediately stopped when news of the treaty finally reached the United States, after the American victory in the Battle of New Orleans and the British victory in the Battle of Fort Bowyer, but before the British assault on Mobile, Alabama.

The US Senate unanimously approved the treaty on February 16 1815, and President James Madison exchanged ratification papers with a British diplomat in Washington on February 17; the treaty was proclaimed on February 18. Eleven days later, on March 1, Napoleon escaped from Elba, starting the war in Europe again, and forcing the British to concentrate on the threat he posed.

ee also

*List of treaties
*Timeline of United States diplomatic history
*Results of the War of 1812



*"American Military History: Army Historical Series. Chapter 6: The War of 1812." Center of Military History, U.S. Army, Washington, DC, 1989. Official US Army history, available [ online] .
*Bemis, Samuel Flagg. "John Quincy Adams and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy" (1950).
*A. L. Burt. "The United States, Great Britain and British North America from the Revolution to the Establishment of Peace after the War of 1812", 1940 ( [ Online Edition] .
*Engelman, Fred L. "The Peace of Christmas Eve" (1962), popular account; [ online excerpt from "American Heritage Magazine" (Dec 1960) v 12#1] .
*Donald R. Hickey. "The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict" (1990) pp. 281-98.
*Perkins, Bradford. "Castelereagh and Adams: England and the United States, 1812-1823", 1964.
*Robert Vincent Remini. "Henry Clay: Statesman for the Union" (1991) pp. 94-122.

External links

*Full text of the Treaty of Ghent [ online] .
* [ Text of treaty from the Avalon Project]
* [ Treaty of Ghent and related resources at the Library of Congress]
* [ Library of Congress Guide to the War of 1812]

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