What Ended the War of 1812?

The Treaty of Ghent ended the War of 1812. Signed on Dec. 24, 1815, by representatives of the British and American governments, the treaty returned all conquered territory to its original owners and set up commissions to determine the borders between American and British territories.

President James Madison began the War of 1812 for three primary reasons: British support for Native American raids in the Great Lakes region, the economic blockade of France and the tradition of impressment, in which the British would force American sailors to join the Royal Navy. The Treaty of Ghent, which the U.S. Senate ratified unanimously on Feb. 16, 1815, did not solve any of these issues.

However, during the course of the war, the American military had defeated many of the Native American tribes, reducing their power, and the Treaty of Ghent made only vague promises to the Native Americans that the British did not enforce. Also, by the end of the war, the British had already stopped impressment, rendering one of the causes of the war moot. Though the war did not result in any strong gains for either side, it did end American ambitions for new land in Canada, and it established peaceful relations between the United States and the United Kingdom that have lasted until 2014.