Treaty of Ghent, December 24, 1814,

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On The Treaty of Ghent was signed by British and American representatives at Ghent, Belgium, ending the War of 1812. By terms of the treaty, all conquered territory was to be returned, and commissions were planned to settle the boundary of the United States and Canada. In June 1812, the United States declared war against Great Britain in reaction to three issues: the British economic blockade of France, the impressment of thousands of neutral American seamen into the British Royal Navy against their will, and the British support of hostile Indian tribes along the Great Lakes frontier. A faction of the U.S. Congress, made up mostly of Western and Southern congressmen, had been advocating the declaration of war for several years. These War Hawks, as they were known, hoped that war with Britain, which was preoccupied with its struggle against Napoleonic France, would result in U.S. territorial gains in Canada and British-protected Florida. After the British burned the White House during the War of 1812, President James Madison and his wife were unable to live there. Madison’s successor, James Monroe, moved back into the White House in 1817, while it was still being rebuilt. In the months following the U.S. declaration of war, American forces launched a three-point invasion of Canada, all of which were repulsed. At sea, however, the United States was more successful, and the USS Constitution and other American frigates won a series of victories over British warships. In 1813, American forces won several key victories in the Great Lakes region, but Britain regained control of the sea and blockaded the Eastern seaboard.
In 1814, with the downfall of Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821), the British were able to allocate more military resources to the American war, and Washington, D.C., fell to the British in August. In Washington, British troops burned the White House, the Capitol and other buildings in retaliation for the earlier burning of government buildings in Canada by U.S. soldiers. However, the British soon retreated, and Fort McHenry in Baltimore harbor withstood a massive British bombardment and inspired Francis Scott Key (1779-1843) to pen the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
On September 11, 1814, the tide of the war turned when an American naval force under Thomas Macdonough (1783-1824) won a decisive victory at the Battle of Plattsburg in New York on Lake Champlain. A large British army under Sir George Prevost (1767-1816) was thus forced to abandon its invasion of the U.S. northeast and retreat to Canada.

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