Handshake at Ghent — Admiral Lord Gambier and John Quincy Adams
Treaty of Ghent 1814
Ghent is a city in Belgium.
The Treaty of Ghent was signed on December 24, 1814,
hence also called the Peace of Christmas
Eve. It was negotiated to end the
War of 1812.
The treaty was
concluded between Great Britain and the United States.
Negotiations at Ghent lasted from
August 8 to December 24, 1814, and were overshadowed by the
Congress of Vienna, which
assembled from September 1814 to June 1815 and discussed the future
of Europe after Napoleon had a go at it.
This was the reason why Great Britain
could only sent its B-team to Ghent, which, in turn, was the reason
why the United States won, if not the war, but these negotiations.
American diplomats signed the Treaty of Ghent on
December 24, 1814.
Left to right:
Anthony St. John
Baker (Secretary) Baker later
exchanged ratifications with U.S. President
Check this event in
the timeline of the War of 1812
(Plenipotentiary) (or Henry Goulburn)
(Plenipotentiary) (or William Adams)
Gambier (Chief Plenipotentiary)
John Quincy Adams
James A. Bayard
[unknown] (or Henry Clay)
(Plenipotentiary) (or Jonathan Russell)
(Plenipotentiary) (or unknown)
Oil on canvas by
Sir Amèdée Forestier, who created this artwork
What Did the Treaty of
It restored the status quo ante
bellum, the state that existed before the
War of 1812.
the state that existed with regards to the
Native American tribes in 1811, before the
Battle of Tippecanoe.
In other words, land that then belonged to the
Indians was returned to them.
However, in some instances developments were irreversible:
:: The Floridas
The U.S. took
advantage of Spain's weakness that resulted
from her involvement in the Napoleonic Wars
Spanish West Florida
bit by bit. This would result in the
in 1819, and
in July 1821, Florida would become a U.S.
:: The Native Americans
the Indians was broken. After the War of
1812, they could never again recover to
fight for themselves in a way that would
present a serious threat to the U.S. Britain
was no longer a possible ally and, to make
matters worse, the Treaty of Ghent failed to
allot land for the natives.
What else was agreed upon?
was allowed to hang on to the Passamaquoddy
Islands until their rightful ownership was
commissions were created to
determine the Canadian-American border and
the Passamaquoddy Islands issue.
Britain declared the slave trade
illegal from May 1, 1807, and the U.S. declared the slave trade
illegal from January 1, 1808. In the Treaty of Ghent, both nations
promised to work toward the abolition of the slave trade.
Britain abolished slavery from August
The U.S. abolished slavery from
December 6, 1865.
For more see also
Slavery and Abolition.
None of the
maritime issues that triggered the War of 1812
were mentioned in the Treaty of Ghent. These
issues were dropped as a condition for peace,
which was a good thing because there was no hope
of either side budging on neutrality at sea or
In 1815, the
engraver Alexis Chataigner couldn't help himself
and went monumental.
Peace of Ghent 1814 and Triumph of America
allegorical reference to the Treaty of Ghent
which ended the War of 1812, showing Minerva,
Roman goddess of war, dictating the terms of
peace, which Mercury, Roman messenger of the
gods, delivers to Britannia and Hercules, Roman
bodybuilder, compels her to accept.
by Alexis Chataigner / Library of Congress