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Treaty of Ghent: Summary and Significance

Samarpita Choudhury Mar 2, 2020
War leaves little room for reminiscing the goodness of war, for it is always the hardship that lingers as the aftermath of the war. After fighting head-on for almost 3 years in the War of 1812, Great Britain and the US mutually decided to put an end to it, signing the Treaty of Ghent. Let’s read the provisions, terms, significance and summary of this treaty.

Better Late than Never!

Owing to the inferior communication system of the time, the news about the signing of the peace Treaty of Ghent had not reached the countries, and thus the Battle of New Orleans was fought when Great Britain had attacked the US in the year 1815. However, Great Britain was defeated in the war.
The Treaty of Ghent was signed between the countries of Great Britain and the US. The direct outcome of the treaty was the end of the war between these two nations. This war was the famous war of 1812, which stretched for about three years.
The war was fought between these nations on grounds of trade policies, territorial expansion, maritime rights, and the like. There were many countries like that of Russia who wanted this prolonged war to end. And the reasons were not insignificant either.
Like Russia there were also other countries who wanted to have trade relations with both the US, and Britain. With the ongoing war, this was never practicable. Therefore, in due course, several initiatives were formulated to end the war forever. The Treaty of Ghent was the final resolve, which ceased the war for once and all.

Definition, Summary, and Significance of the Treaty of Ghent

The Treaty of Ghent, signed in the city of Ghent, between the warring nations of the US and Great Britain ended the war of 1812.
The treaty was signed on the eve of Christmas, and was approved by the British government on December 30th. It was ratified by the US in February 1815.
There wasn't a significant winner of the war, but the signing of the treaty was definitely a win-win situation for America, for it bagged the much-coveted chance of growing as a nation.
Britain was on the winning side of the war of 1812, until the scenario changed in favor of the Americans, when the latter was victorious in the Battle of Plattsburg, and the British army was thus eventually forced to retreat and let go of its hold on the northeast side of the US, and move to Canada.
This was the turning point of the war, and the milestone was thus set to end the war between the two powerhouses.

Thus, began the dedicated endeavors to start with the peace negotiations, which was finally bought to pass in the form of The Treaty of Ghent.
The treaty was signed by both the warring nations in the city of Ghent on December 24, 1814.
Ghent, a city in Belgium, was decided to be the venue for signing the treaty because it was a neutral country for both England and the US.
There was a total of 11 articles which together shaped up the Treaty of Ghent, signed and agreed by both the countries.
Notable points of the Treaty were that whatever territories both the countries acquired from the war, were to be returned.

The unreasonable treatment meted out to the territories of the First Nations were to be arrested by both countries.
Great Britain was not to aid the native Indians of the US, in their rebellion against the US.

One of the striking factors was that, the reasons which had in the first place caused the war, were not included in the treaty at all.

All the confiscated areas of upper and lower Canada and the US were released.
The prisoners of war of both the nations were to be released by both the nations.

There would eventually be set up a committee that would discuss the matter of the western boundaries of both the nations.

One of the remarkable outcomes of the treaty was that both the countries resolved to take steps to cease the slave trade in their respective countries.
The Battle of the New Orleans, under the leadership of Andrew Jackson of the American forces, was the last battle that was fought in the war of 1812.
The American delegates who headed the treaty in Belgium were John Q. Adams, Henry Clay, Jonathan Russell, and James A. Bayard. The British delegates were Lord Castlereagh, Lord Bathurst, Lord Gambier, Williams Adams, and Henry Goulburn.
Well, the significance of the war was not clearly experienced by either of the countries, as there was nothing that would be equal to the so-called profit from the war.
But there clearly was some significance about the treaty of Ghent. It allowed both the nations to have an increase in their trade and commerce.

There were also proposed commissions that would be set up in order to settle the row over the boundaries of the US and Canada.
In the concluding lines, it deserves mention that though the Treaty of Ghent was successful in concluding the war, among the American negotiators who had gone to sign the treaty, Adams and Clay were never in an amicable relation with each other.
But both of them chose to rest their enmity at the backseat and work in their country's interest, for the American economy was tearing apart because of the burden of the war of 1812.