The Treaty of Ghent

Authored by: Robert McColley

The Routledge Handbook of the War of 1812

Print publication date:  October  2015
Online publication date:  October  2015

Print ISBN: 9781138017719
eBook ISBN: 9781315780269
Adobe ISBN: 9781317701989


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When in 1814 Britain’s rulers agreed to negotiate a peace treaty in the city of Ghent, their thoughts about the United States were far from charitable. The United States had gone to war to punish Britain for its high-handed maritime practices, notably the impressment of sailors from United States ships and intercepting ships and their cargoes engaged in peaceful commerce. Though they would later deny it at Ghent and elsewhere, the President and Congress also went to war to add Canada to the vast and growing United States empire. Furthermore, they had declared war precisely when Napoleon, the Emperor of France—no longer a democratic republic—seemed on the verge of completing his conquest of all Europe. Struggling to survive, Britain could send but little aid to Canada, which the United States hastily attempted to invade at several points.

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