Guest Lecture: John Quincy Adams in Ghent: The Diplomacy of the War of 1812
An illustrated lecture by Alan Henrikson, Lee E. Dirks Professor of Diplomatic History and Director of Diplomatic Studies at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
Monday Evening, April 30, 2012 at 7:00 PM
The War of 1812 was famously inconclusive regarding the issues which ignited the conflict between the United States and Great Britain: neutral rights, impressment of sailors, access to fisheries, protection of Indian tribes, and territorial ambitions.The "Christmas truce" that ended the war, negotiated at Ghent by John Quincy Adams on Christmas Eve, 1814 would be, Adams hoped, "the last treaty of peace between Great Britain and the United States."
Adams, American Minister to Russia, and his colleagues, former Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin, Speaker of the House of Representatives Henry Clay, Minister to Sweden Jonathan Russell, and Delaware Federalist Senator Thomas Bayard, each had their own opinions about negotiations with Great Britain."Mr. Gallatin," Adams noted in his diary, "is for striking out any expression that may be offensive to the adverse party.Mr. Clay is displeased with figurative language which he thinks improper in State papers.Mr. Russell, agreeing with the objections of the two other gentlemen, will be further for amending the construction of every sentence, and Mr. Bayard, even when agreeing to say precisely the same thing, chooses to say it only in his own language."Although the American diplomats prevailed, the diplomatic achievements of 1814 that ended the War of 1812, remain relatively unknown today.
Alan Henrikson, Fulbright Schuman Professor of United States-European Union Relations at the College of Europe in Bruges in 2010-2011, traveled to Ghent, located and photographed the sites where the American and British delegates lived, worked, and met to negotiate and achieve peace on the continent of North America.Professor Henrikson will share his insights into this fascinating and often-overlooked period in the diplomatic career of John Quincy Adams and American diplomatic history.
This program is free and open to the public.