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The Treaty of Washington

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In essence, the treaty of Washington took place in the year 1871 between United States and the Great Britain. As such, it was signed at Washington whereby the two nations are deemed to have come to an agreement to submit to arbitration what was by then known as Alabama Claims. In this case, these were claims that were made by the United States against the Great Britain on account of losses which were presumed as to have been caused to American shipping by the confederate privateers which were then fitted out in British ports. The treaty provided that each government  starting with the United States, Great Britain, Italy, Switzerland and Brazil should provide a court of arbitrators (Riendeau, 2007). Such arbitration would necessitate resolution of conflicts internationally without necessarily engaging in war.

Following this point, the court is said as to have sat at Geneva in 1872 whereby the US was able to provide evidence that the Great Britain had not been duly watchful as it is provided by the international law to prevent the use of her ports by the agents of the confederacy (Caso & Wolf , 2010). The result of the meeting held in Geneva brought about the British government being directed to pay the United States damages amounting to about fifteen million five hundred thousand dollars in gold. Following this point, the involvement of Canada surfaced in the case of northwest boundary relating to the Canadian Fisheries. In this case, the treaty of Washington provided for the settlement by arbitration of the boundary between Oregon region and Canada which was previously not defined well by the Treaty of 1846(Grant, Emberley & Davis, 2009).

The settlement also involved the fishery claims of the north-eastern Canadian coast. Following this point, the Treaty of Washington on the boundary question having been submitted to the German Emperor in 1872 resulted to the decision being made in favour of the US claim. This meant that US would compensate the Canadians for having used their shores illegally. Again in this context, the fisheries question went against US in the sense that the US government was given to the responsibility of paying five million five hundred thousand dollars for having used the Canadian shores for drying and curing fish.

According to Grant, Emberley & Davis (2009), after the Treaty of Washington of 1871, the relations of Canada with United States became more of an assumption friendship and permanent peace based relationship.  This is to suggest that Canadians thought that the Treaty was meant for peace and friendship but in reality some viewed it as a humiliation to the Canadians. Macdonald however stood against the critics and made promises that cost him a lot in terms of finances. So to speak, peace began and from thence existed between Canada and US and as such, Canada would enjoy the benefit of living without tensions due to the fear US.

At the same time, Riendeau (2007) asserts that the treaty of Washington of 1871 added so much to the Canadian history in the sense that the treaty marked the beginning of a series of events in duration of about six decades (p.204). As such, the treaty resulted to the strengthening of the Canada’s resolve to extract control of its foreign policy from Britain. As such, Canada gained sovereignty in the sense that it would operate its foreign policy independently.

Another point to note is that the appointment of the first Dominion high commissioner in the year 1880 to give Canada a greater voice in imperial policy was born out of the Treaty of Washington (Riendeau, 2007, p.204). This is to suggest that Canada enjoyed the policy of extending authority by territorial acquisition or rather by the institution of economic and political supremacy over other nations.  This was not achievable in the past but due to the Treaty of Washington, this was necessitated.

In the same line of thought, Riendeau (2007) asserts that the diplomatic recognition of Canada by America as a distinct transcontinental nation in North America was brought about by Macdonald’s signature being present in the Treaty of Washington (p.204). Accordingly, the Treaty of Washington brought about the easing of the tensions that existed between Canada and United States while establishing the principle of arbitration as a means through which international conflicts can be resolved with ease. It is important at this time to bring out the point that the Treaty of Washington brought about by the withdrawal of Britain Military from North America and as such, this is an act that brought about making this prospect to be less dangerous to Canada. There were no British forces which remained in Canada and this was achieved due to the Treaty of Washington.

Outstandingly, one can state that the boundary between US and Canada was settled by the establishment of the Treaty of Washington of 1971. This as well included the demarcation through the Great lakes being made to the benefit of both Canada and US. Needless to say, the treaty resulted to the formulation of the navigation rules for St. Lawrence River and as such, the two countries would work together to control the river traffic and as such provide resolution to the future problems deemed to arise in the context (Caso & Wolf , 2010). Furthermore, the two countries were brought together so as to work and create an international waterways commission deemed to advise the two countries concerning the matters of hydroelectric power generation.

From a broader point of view, the Treaty of Washington sought to resolve the issues of navigation rights. The US and Canadian boundary further led to the authorization and completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway of 1957 which gave room for commercial ocean-going vessels which were made to navigate the lakes (Caso & Wolf , 2010). In line with this point, the Canadian fish got admission of their fish into the American market.  So to speak, the only market in the world for the Canadian number one mackerel being the United States the previous condition before the Treaty of Washington limited Canada commercially. Therefore, it is evident that the treaty opened opportunities for Canada to operate freely both commercially and politically.

Arguably, the Treaty of Washington brought about Canada being portrayed if not in reality as a sovereign nation. Notably, the Treaty opened opportunities for Canada to expand in terms of fish trading, evade war and tensions that existed between US and Canada and as such it came to be recognized as a sovereign nation altogether. In relation to Crowley & Murphy (1993), the Treaty of Washington brought about demilitarization of the US-Canadian border in the sense that the two nations would operate with efficacy without the use of military force. Along with this point, the treaty brought about the resolution of the border issues that existed before.

More to this point, the treaty of Washington brought about the Great lakes of the region being industrialized (Riendeau, 2007). This resulted to commercial benefits to Canada and of course US in the larger point of view. The war between the US and Canada was  brought to an end by the establishment of the Treaty and as such, this was a great benefit to Canada as it afforded a chance to rather concentrate on the development of the country than on war. Finally in this context, the Treaty of Washington translated to great benefits to the Canadians both commercially and politically while making it possible to expand in terms of its imperial policy.   

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