The Webster-Ashburton Treaty resolved many long standing border disputes concerning the Maine / New Brunswick boundary which had led to the bloodless, International incident known as the Aroostook War.
Webster-Ashburton Treaty for kids: Background History
The Webster-Ashburton Treaty was a result of disputes over the boundary line between U.S. state of Maine and and the British Canadian province of New Brunswick. Previous treaties had been unable to reach agreements as to the border line because the disputed area had not been fully explored or mapped. A serious international incident called the Aroostook War had erupted in 1839 due to the dispute. There was no actual fighting (although it came very close) due to the intervention of President Martin Van Buren who sent General Winfield Scott to Aroostook to diffuse the situation. General Winfield Scott negotiated a truce and both sides agreed to joint occupancy of the disputed area until a satisfactory settlement could be reached. The primary purpose of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty was to resolve this issue.
Webster-Ashburton Treaty for kids
The signing of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty between the United States and Great Britain was one of the most important events during President John Tyler's administration. Ever since the Treaty of Peace of 1783, there had been a dispute over the northeastern boundary of Maine. Maine became a state in 1820 and began granting land to settlers in the Aroostook Valley, ignoring British Canadian claims. If the boundary had been run according to an interpretation of the Treaty of Peace, the people of Upper Canada would have found it almost impossible to reach New Brunswick or Nova Scotia during the winter. During the winter months the St. Lawrence River is frozen over, and the northern boundary of Maine ran so close to the St. Lawrence that it was difficult to build a road which would be wholly in British territory. It had therefore been in the interests of British to avoid settling the issue. The Aroostook War had brought the dispute to a head - it was essential for the dispute to be resolved.
Webster-Ashburton Treaty for kids: The Treaty
The Webster-Ashburton Treaty was negotiated by Daniel Webster, U.S. Secretary of State and Alexander Baring, First Lord Ashburton for Great Britain. The Webster-Ashburton Treaty was signed on August 9, 1842 and not only settled the disputed boundary, but also established a series of agreements on US and British relations.
Webster-Ashburton Treaty: Terms relating to Boundaries
The Webster-Ashburton Treaty agreed the following:
The United States received 7,015 sq miles of the disputed area
Great Britain received 5,012 sq miles of the disputed area
The US - Canada border dispute in the Great Lakes area was settled
The boundaries of the 1783 Treaty of Paris were defined and the border at the 49th parallel reaffirmed
The current border between Maine, New Brunswick and Quebec was established
The east-west passage of the St John's river was open to free navigation by both countries
Shared use of the Great Lakes
The U.S. government agreed to pay to Maine and Massachusetts $150,000 each for their expenses in resolving the issue
Webster-Ashburton Treaty: Other Agreements
The Webster-Ashburton Treaty also agreed the following:
Guidelines for the extradition of fugitives in either nation were established for the crimes of murder, piracy, arson, forgery and robbery
A joint naval system for suppressing the slave trade off the African coast
Significance of the Webster-Ashburton Treaty
The Webster-Ashburton Treaty was significant as it resolved the outstanding border disputes between the US and Canada and also marked an improvement in Anglo-American relations which had declined since the War of 1812.