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Rush-Bagot Treaty

James Monroe

Rush-Bagot Treaty: James Monroe was the 5th American President who served in office from March 4, 1817 to March 4, 1825. One of the important events during his presidency was the Rush-Bagot Agreement of 1817 that demilitarized the Great Lakes.

Definition and Summary of the Rush-Bagot Treaty
Summary and definition:
The Rush-Bagot Treaty, or "Rush-Bagot Disarmament", was an agreement between the United States and Great Britain to substantially reduce their naval vessels to patrol boats  at the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain following the end of the War of 1812.

The Rush-Bagot Treaty was ratified by the United States Senate on April 16, 1818.

The Rush-Bagot Agreement: Richard Rush and Charles Bagot
The Agreement
was signed by Richard Rush, Acting Secretary of State of the United States, and Sir Charles Bagot, the British minister in Washington DC.

Facts about Rush-Bagot Treaty
The following fact sheet contains interesting facts and information on Rush-Bagot Treaty.

The Rush-Bagot Agreement for kids: Background History
The War of 1812 between the US and Great Britain had abruptly concluded with the Treaty of Ghent. The War of 1812 had been fought for the conquest of Canada. Both the British and the Americans were constructing massive battleships for Lake Ontario at the time the treaty was signed. The War of 1812 had ended in a stalemate. Both sides wanted peace, the war had been extremely expensive and both sides were looking for ways to save money.

What was the Rush-Bagot Agreement? The Exchange of notes
The Rush-Bagot Treaty was extremely unusual as it was based on an exchange of notes (letters) between Richard Rush and Sir Charles Bagot.  The terms were suggested to Richard Rush by President Monroe in a letter dated August 2, 1816. The method for obtaining the understanding between the US and British governments was the diplomatic device known as 'an interchange of notes'. A series of notes passed between Rush and Bagot and they reached agreement. In 1818 the U.S. Senate gave its approval of the notes, giving them the authority of a treaty. The simple exchange of notes between the two diplomats therefore became the Treaty of Rush-Bagot.

What were the aims of the Rush-Bagot Agreement?
The Rush-Bagot was aimed at:

  • Demilitarizing the Great Lakes regions

What were the Terms of the Rush-Bagot Agreement?
The terms of the Rush-Bagot were that each side should confine their naval vessels as follows:

  • On Lake Ontario one Vessel not exceeding 100 Tons and armed with one 18 pound cannon.

  • On the Upper Lakes two Vessels not exceeding the above

  • On Lake Champlain one Vessel not exceeding the above

  • All other armed Vessels on these Lakes were to be dismantled

  • No other Vessels of War shall be armed or built there

The Significance of the Rush-Bagot Agreement:
What was the significance of the Rush-Bagot Treaty? The Rush-Bagot agreement was significant because:

  • It signified a improvement of diplomatic relations between the US and Great Britain

  • The agreement terminated the expensive arms race on the Great Lakes that had begun with the War of 1812

  • The Rush-Bagot Treaty was therefore the first treaty for arms reduction

US American History
1801-1828: Evolution Era

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Updated 2018-01-01

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