When Was America’s Last War with England?
America and England were last at war with each other from June 1812 to December 1814. The War of 1812 was a military conflict fought between the United States of America and the United Kingdom, its North American colonies, and its Native American allies. Historians in the United States and Canada see it as a war in its own right, but the British often see it as a minor theatre of the Napoleonic Wars. By the war’s end in early 1815, the key issues had been resolved and peace returned with no boundary changes.
War broke out for two reasons: first, America’s expanding trade was threatened because the British were maintaining a blockade to prevent supplies reaching the French, with whom they were at war; secondly, there was a growing sense of nationalism in America, a feeling that she must fight to preserve her independence, sovereignty and honor.
When war was declared by President Madison, the Americans immediately invaded Canada, but were driven back. In 1813, after talk of an armistice came to nothing, more skirmishes broke out on the Canadian border and British sailors began to raid the American coast. By October 1814 it became clear that the Americans could not successfully invade Canada, while the British Navy could do no more than harry the coasts of America.
The chief sufferers were the merchants of New England. Also the financial state of the American government was so bad that it had no money to pay its bills abroad. Governor Strong of Massachusetts openly spoke against the war, and was suspected of planning to take his state over to the British.
However, no one in Britain wanted to fight the war of independence all over again. The desire was to trade with and not to fight against the United States. On December 24, 1814 the treaty of Ghent was signed in the city of Ghent, Belgium and the war was over. Neither side gained.
This was the peace treaty that ended the War of 1812 between the United States and the United Kingdom. The treaty restored relations between the two nations to status quo ante bellum, restoring the borders of the two countries to the lines before the war started in June 1812.
The Treaty was approved by the UK parliament and signed into law by the Prince Regent (the future King George IV) on December 30, 1814. It took a month for news of the peace treaty to reach the United States, and in the meantime American forces under Andrew Jackson won the Battle of New Orleans on January 8, 1815.
The Treaty of Ghent was not fully in effect until it was ratified by the U.S. Senate unanimously on February 17, 1815. It began two centuries of peaceful relations between the U.S. and Britain, although there were a few tense moments such as the Trent Affair.