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Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial

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Put-In-Bay, Ohio


While monuments to peace are rarely associated with military victories, Oliver Hazard Perry's victory over a British fleet in the War of 1812 so contributed to a lasting peace that the Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial on Lake Erie is a fitting tribute to both.

By defeating the British—the first time an entire British fleet was captured—the Americans took control of Lake Erie and with it most of the old Northwest. The victory helped persuade the British to cease hostilities and enabled the United States to claim the Northwest at the peace talks in Ghent a year later. Washington Irving put it concisely: "The last roar of cannon which died along the shores of Erie was the expiring note of British domination."

The battle was one of the few American successes in a war that was far from popular. The end of the fighting produced no clear winner, but for the United States, the Northwest was secure and its boundaries undisputed, giving Americans room to expand. Ironically, the British embargo on shipping, meant to cripple American commerce, became a spur to America's infant industries, which faced no foreign imports during the blockade. Just as important were the less tangible benefits. Both parties at the talks sensed that the United States had emerged from the conflict full of confidence, with a stronger sense of nationhood and rid of the last vestiges of dependence on Europe. The Treaty of Ghent was signed not in bitterness but with a newfound respect between Britain and the United States. Both sides gained from the Rush-Bagot Agreement signed 2 years later, which limited the number of warships on Lake Erie. That agreement, though strained several times in the following years, paved the way for the permanent disarmament of the 4,000-mile border between the United States and Canada in 1871. For over a century, the two nations have shared a continent with little more than a line on a map to separate them. This memorial is therefore no contradiction. It honors not only the principle of settling differences between nations by negotiation but also the naval battle that helped create the mutual confidence and trust necessary to the success of that principle in North America.


This resource is based on the following source:

National Park Service.  1997.  Perry's Victory and International Peace 
     Memorial, Ohio.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
This resource should be cited as:
National Park Service.  1997.  Perry's Victory and International Peace 
     Memorial, Ohio.  U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Unpaginated.
     Jamestown, ND: Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center Online.
     http://www.npwrc.usgs.govpbayinfo.htm 
     (Version 22MAY98).

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