Rush-Bagot Convention

Rush-Bagot Convention rŭsh-băgˈət [key], 1817, agreement between the United States and Great Britain concerning the Canadian border. It consisted of the exchange of notes signed by Richard Rush, Acting Secretary of State of the United States, and Charles Bagot, British minister in Washington. In 1818 the U.S. Senate gave its consent to the notes, thus giving them the authority of a treaty. The convention provided for practical disarmament on the U.S.-Canadian frontier; each nation should have no more than four warships, none to exceed 100 tons, on the Great Lakes. The agreement, a result of negotiations begun after the signing of the Treaty of Ghent, was important because it set a precedent for the pacific settlement of Anglo-American difficulties and because it inaugurated a policy of peace between the United States and Canada. Only one move was made to abrogate it—during the Civil War strained relations with Canada caused the Secretary of State, William H. Seward, to announce (1864) that the United States intended to abrogate, but before the six months of grace had elapsed the announcement was canceled (1865).

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