Commencement Level Lessons | Dissecting the Treaty of Ghent

One class period

Program Segments

Autumn 1814 Secession Threat in New England (9 minutes)
1815 Peace (4 minutes)

NCSS Themes

VI: Power, Authority, and Governance
IX: Global Connections

Canadian (Ontario) Concepts
Power and Governance

Canadian (Ontario) Specific Expectations – Seventh Grade
Describe the impact of the War of 1812 on the development of Canada

Students will be able to:

  • understand the accomplishments of The Treaty of Ghent
  • understand the provisions which were left out of The Treaty of Ghent

Focus Questions

  • What are the specific provisions of the Treaty of Ghent?
  • What has happened throughout the War of 1812 that would determine what is added/left out of the Treaty of Ghent?

Key Concepts

Instructional Resources

The War of 1812 DVD
The Treaty of Ghent copy 
Icon The Treaty of Ghent dissection worksheet (29.6 KB)


  1. The teacher will introduce the idea of a treaty, define it, and brainstorm the ideas that should be included within the Treaty of Ghent.
  2. This may be done by creating a list of ideas on a chalkboard or somewhere visible for all students to see.
  3. The teacher will pass out the actual copy of the Treaty of Ghent to the students.
  4. The teacher will explain to students their task, which is to dissect the primary document to determine what the Treaty of Ghent actually said or didn’t say.
  5. The teacher will pass out the Treaty of Ghent Dissection Worksheet that will guide the students through the document.
  6. After the students have finished, the teacher should review the students’ responses to ensure the correct answers are there.
  7. The teacher will then have the students watch two segments from the documentary on the Treaty of Ghent. While doing so, take notes on what is absent from the actual treaty.
  8. The teacher will lead a discussion, after viewing The War of 1812, to determine what issues were left out of the Treaty of Ghent and why. Compare this list to the original brainstorm by the class.

Thought Provoking Questions about the Treaty of Ghent

  1. Were there any major border changes as a result of The Treaty of Ghent?
  2. Impressment is often cited as one of the major reasons for the American declaration of war, where was it discussed in The Treaty of Ghent?
  3. A Native American buffer state/zone was discussed through diplomatic efforts throughout the war, where was this issue discussed in The Treaty of Ghent?

Assessment Tasks
Students should display appropriate participation in the open dialogue taking place during the brainstorming period along with sharing correct answers while looking at the actual Treaty of Ghent.

Additional Resources
Treaty of Ghent

Related PBS Resources

The Laws Live On
Examine the content of the U.S. Constitution, the Bill of Rights and Napoleon's civil code on France. Consider the strongest parts of each, and draft a new governing document.

The “Failed Peace”
Investigate why it was impossible to achieve a lasting peace after the end of fighting in the Great War. Research how propaganda swayed delegates against a "peace without victory," and create "pro-treaty" propaganda posters or speeches.

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 Icon Dissecting the Treaty of Ghent Lesson Plan (421.7 KB)

The Treaty of Ghent outlines the agreement that ended the war.

Providing support for

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Image - shop_warof1812.jpg


The signing of the Treaty of Ghent


Land discussed in the Treaty of Ghent


Symbolic representation of the Treaty of Ghent