Ghent, Treaty of

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Ghent, Treaty of

Treaty of Ghent, 1814, agreement ending the War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain. It was signed at Ghent, Belgium, on Dec. 24, 1814, and ratified by the U.S. Senate in Feb., 1815. The American commissioners were John Q. Adams, James A. Bayard, Henry Clay, Jonathan Russell, and Albert Gallatin. Negotiations were begun in August, with the recent defeat of Napoleon I giving the British an advantage reinforced by the burning of the Capitol at Washington shortly afterward. Only the victory of Thomas Macdonough at Plattsburgh and the threat of further hostilities in Europe induced the British to give up their demands to control the Great Lakes and erect a Native American state under British control in the country NW of the Ohio River. Thus the agreement to restore territory and places taken by either party was a diplomatic victory for the United States. It was provided that commissions would be set up to determine the boundary from the St. Croix River west to Lake of the Woods. Both parties were to use their best endeavors to abolish the slave trade. No mention was made of the fisheries question, the impressment of American seamen, or the rights of neutral commerce.

See F. L. Engelman, The Peace of Christmas Eve (1962).

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