The Treaty of Ghent (8 Stat. 218), signed on 24 December 1814, in Ghent (modern-day Belgium), was the peace treaty that ended the War of 1812 between the United States and the United Kingdom. The treaty largely restored relations between the two nations to status quo ante bellum, with no loss of territory either way. The treaty was ratified by the UK on 30 December 1814. Because of the era's slow communications it took weeks for news of the peace treaty to reach the United States; the Battle of New Orleans was fought after it was signed. However the treaty was not in effect until it was ratified by Congress in February, 1815, a month after the battle ended.
Treaty of Ghent in Trail of Glory
The terms of the Treaty of Ghent were finalized on December 21, 1814, just as British forces were preparing to initiate what became the Battle of the Mississippi.
The terms essentially ignored the issues which had started the war in the first place (rendered moot by the course of the war), and restored the status quo antebellum. Both sides had stalled at times in the hopes of gaining some sort of advantage. Certain parts of the American group had hoped the victory at the Battle of the Capitol would result in more concessions from the British. The British, on the other hand, dragged their feet in the hopes that a British victory in Louisiana might result in the British capture and retention of New Orleans.
Ultimately, the stalling profited neither side. The Battle of the Capitol was a useful moral battle in the long run, but had no strategic value. The Battle of the Mississippi insured that New Orleans would stay American.
The Treaty did touch off a rivalry between two of the American representatives, John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay. The two would remain bitter political rivals in the years to come, even facing off in the presidential election of 1824
- 1812: The Rivers of War, ch. 36.