Treaty of Ghent

Treaty of Ghent
Signing of Treaty of Ghent (1812).jpg
Signing of the Treaty of Ghent. The leading British delegate Baron Gambier is shaking hands with the American leader John Quincy Adams. The British Undersecretary of State for War and the Colonies, Henry Goulburn, is carrying a red folder.
TypeBilateral peace treaty
Signed24 December 1814 (1814-12-24)
LocationGhent, United Netherlands
Original
signatories
United Kingdom
United States

The Treaty of Ghent (8 218) 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. Both sides signed it on December 24, 1814, in the city of Ghent, United Netherlands. The treaty restored relations between the two nations to status quo ante bellum, restoring the borders of the two countries to the lines before the war started in June 1812.[note 1][1] The treaty was approved by the UK parliament and signed into law by the Prince Regent (the future King George IV) on December 30, 1814. It took a month for news of the peace treaty to reach the United States, and in the meantime American forces under Andrew Jackson won the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815. The Treaty of Ghent was not fully in effect until it was ratified by the U.S. Senate unanimously on February 17, 1815. It began two centuries and more of peaceful relations between the U.S. and Britain, although there were a few tense moments such as the Trent Affair in 1861.

Background

After the abdication of Napoleon in April 1814 British public opinion demanded major gains in the war against the United States. The senior American representative in London told Secretary of State James Monroe:

There are so many who delight in War that I have less hope than ever of our being able to make peace. You will perceive by the newspapers that a very great force is to be sent from Bordeaux to the United States; and the order of the day is division of the States and conquest. The more moderate think that when our Seaboard is laid waste and we are made to agree to a line which shall exclude us from the lake; to give up a part of our claim on Louisiana and the privilege of fishing on the banks, etc. peace may be made with us.:[2]

However, the Prime Minister, Lord Liverpool, aware of growing opposition to wartime taxation and the demands of Liverpudlian and Bristolian merchants to reopen trade with America, realized Britain had little to gain and much to lose from prolonged warfare.[3][4]

After rejecting Russian proposals to broker peace negotiations, Britain reversed course in 1814. With the defeat of Napoleon the main British goals of stopping American trade with France and impressment of sailors from American ships were dead letters. The treaty was forward-looking, and did not pay attention to matters that were no longer live issues. Negotiations were held in Ghent, United Netherlands, starting in August 1814. The Americans sent five commissioners: John Quincy Adams, Henry Clay, James A. Bayard, Sr., Jonathan Russell, and Albert Gallatin. Except for Russell, all were very senior political leaders; Adams was in charge. The British sent minor officials who kept in close touch with their (much closer) superiors in London.[5][6]

Other Languages
العربية: معاهدة غنت
čeština: Gentský mír
فارسی: پیمان گنت
français: Traité de Gand
Gaeilge: Conradh Ghent
한국어: 헨트 조약
עברית: הסכם גנט
Bahasa Melayu: Perjanjian Ghent
Nederlands: Vrede van Gent
日本語: ガン条約
norsk nynorsk: Gent-traktaten
português: Tratado de Gante
Simple English: Treaty of Ghent
svenska: Freden i Gent
українська: Гентський договір
中文: 根特条约