Last updated: March 5, 2015
Negotiating in War and Peace
Diplomatic negotiations officially ended the hostilities in February 1815. The Treaty of Ghent brought peace between Britain and the United States and an end to three years of fighting that inflicted thousands of deaths and incalculable miseries.
But formal diplomacy was only one kind of negotiation that occurred during the war years. From the moment the war broke out, individuals and groups engaged in complex and often ambiguous negotiations as they tried to steer a course through the conflict. Political parties negotiated with their opponents; soldiers negotiated with their officers; women negotiated new roles in society; enslaved African-Americans negotiated the territory between bondage and freedom. Those wartime negotiations did not end abruptly with the signing of an official treaty. And many of the negotiations left legacies that lingered long after the formal cessation of hostilities.