The War of 1812

America: almost lost, but now forever found

Causes of the war

  1. Impressment - During Madison's term as President, he repealed the embargo (which restricted trade to Europe), replacing it with the Non-Intercourse Act. This Act reopened American trade with all European countries except France and Britain. Once France dropped their restrictions on American shipping, Madison aimed the Non-Intercourse Act solely at Britain. American sailors were impressed into servitude by Britain when the British seized American ships. As the British continued to attack American ships and force American sailors into service aboard British ships, this "recruitment by force" left Madison no choice but to declare war on Britain.
  2. The War Hawks - Americans who strongly desired to initiate war against Britain were known as War Hawks - two of the most well-known were congressmen Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun. This group specifically resented Britain’s violation of the trading conflict and their support of Native American hostility towards Americans as they began to settle farther West. This attitude towards Britain strongly encouraged war.
  3. The Quest for More Land - Another factor that initiated war was American expansion into Native American territory. America embodied a relentless desire to expand - hence movement westward. As settlers moved westward, some Native Americans conformed to their co-existence while others rejected American settlement. As the latter Native Americans resisted American movement westward, Americans received information that the British were supporting Native American efforts against America. Ultimately, Americans were not pleased with the British support of Native Americans efforts to prohibit American expansion and sought to retaliate.


Sources:

Of the People

"War of 1812 - Crash Course US History #11"

http://www.history.com/topics/war-of-1812

Recapping THE milestones

  1. Detroit - Though war was declared with Britain, many Americans were hesitant about taking military action and their worries were soon vindicated at Detroit. The American army – which consisted of two thousand troops – was greatly outnumbered by the British, did not have a strong leader, and did not have a healthy budget. As a result, America was forced to surrender as they attempted to invade Canada.

  2. Put-In-Bay - Britain also proved victorious in the Atlantic. They greatly outnumbered the small American fleet and easily dominated the waters. Their control would result in a naval blockade that stretched from the Chesapeake Bay to New Orleans. This blockade resulted in crushed coastal settlements and restricted American trade.

  3. Washington, D.C. - The British eventually invaded Washington D.C. They wreaked havoc throughout the city, burning “the Capitol, the White House, the Treasury Building, the Naval Yard” and by terrorizing civilians (Of the People 272). Though unable to reach any key political figures – who had already escaped – Britain left Washington D.C. ablaze.

  4. Baltimore - Turning away from Washington D.C., Britain headed for Baltimore. Fort McHenry, which was located at Baltimore, was attacked by the British who hoped to seize the Chesapeake Bay. Twenty-five hours after this particular conflict began, America raised her flag and soon afterwards the British abandoned their post to recompose themselves for a later battle. It was also during this struggle when the lawyer, Francis Scott Key, wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner”, a poem that would later be embedded into the nation's existence.

  5. New Orleans - The War of 1812 was causing a strain on both Britain and America, and it was soon decided that the war was ended. Unaware that terms of peace had been made, the British launched an attack on New Orleans. Andrew Jackson served as an American hero of this war using his counterattack to give America a long-awaited victory.


Sources:

Of the People

"War of 1812 - Crash Course US History #11"

http://www.history.com/topics/war-of-1812

through the eyes of an american

We all saw war coming. The British behavior towards our right to free trade was unacceptable. I asked myself many times: why do the British think they are better than us? Their impenitency regarding trade only stimulated us to produce the goods we needed in our homeland. For example, once I heard that our trade was been compromised, I began manufacturing cloth. Others that I know began doing the same, though in different areas. If Britain wanted to cut our trade off, we would produce our own goods – we were more than capable of it. It seemed as though the British still did not see us as an independent nation. As war came upon us, we looked to our military to permanently establish our country not only as an independent nation but as an emerging world power. Our military has our greatest trust; it is always ready to fight for our freedom and greatness. War ensued; however, and I began to worry. We had lost numerous battles against the British, yet my petty fears were relieved when Andrew Jackson resulted victorious against them in the Battle of New Orleans. Once we received the information that a peace treaty had been agreed upon, we knew it could only mean one thing, we had won. It is from this fact alone that I knew that I was part of a truly great nation.

The Treaty of Ghent

The Treaty of Ghent was the document that concluded the War of 1812. Both the British and American sides had been exhausted of resources, time, and energy. Britain – having the upper hand – agreed to give America peace; however, American expansion, free trade, and impressment would not be addressed. Though the treaty did not settle the disputes that triggered the war, it was a savior to a country that had unquestionably not been prepared for war- it was the document that gave "victory" to America.


Sources:

Of the People

"War of 1812 - Crash Course US History #11"

http://www.history.com/topics/war-of-1812


Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Treaty_of_Ghent

Andrew Jackson

Having lost his mother, brothers, and his home during the revolution, Andrew Jackson had a deep hatred for the British. He became a lawyer but had a deep desire for a military career - to fight against those who prevented further expansion for Americans. His first war effort was leading a force against the Red Stick sector of the Creek Indians at Horseshoe Bend. Jackson resulted victorious in the Creek War and this forced the Indians to sign a treaty which gave 23 million acres of their land to the United States. Later, Andrew Jackson led the most notable American victory in the War of 1812 which was the Battle of New Orleans. His troops inflicted staggering losses upon British troops, while maintaining strong numbers themselves. While he had both critics and supporters, both of these victories proclaimed Andrew Jackson a respectable hero and launched his career, setting him up for a future presidency.


Sources:

Of the People

"War of 1812 - Crash Course US History #11"

http://www.history.com/topics/war-of-1812


Image source: http://www.history.com/topics/us-presidents/andrew-jackson

The Hartford Convention

The Hartford Convention, which took place in the December of 1814, was sparked due to New England's lack of cooperation with the war efforts. Members of New England did not believe the war would result in a favorable outcome, and emphasized these concerns at the convention. Extreme Federalists wanted New England to have its own confederacy which would end the war for them immediately. This did not happen, and the results of the convention were some proposed amendments to the Constitution. Some of the proposed changes included: repealing the Three-Fifths Compromise, implementing a two-thirds vote for Congress to declare war, and limiting the length of time a President can remain in office. However, before the proposal reached Washington D.C., the war had already ended, leaving the Federalist Party with a bad reputation. Ultimately, the disbanding Federalist Party was seen as disgraceful to America as they sought to amend the Constitution while the patriotic fervor of the nation was at its peak.


Sources:

Of the People

"War of 1812 - Crash Course US History #11"

http://www.history.com/topics/war-of-1812


Image source: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/2002708988/