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Causes of the War of 1812

 
 

Below is information regarding the causes of the war of 1812.  This will assist in the understanding of why the war was started.

Causes of the war of 1812 - In the years following the American Revolutionary War, there were many disputes and aggravations between Great Britain and the United States. When revolutionary France declared war upon Great Britain in 1793, the United States sought to remain neutral while pursuing overseas commerce with both empires, which created much tension. Additionally, Great Britain had not abandoned fortifications in the Great Lakes region as called for in the 1783 Treaty of Paris, and was continuing to supply Native Americans in the Northwest Territory who were at war with the United States. In 1795, the United States secured the Jay Treaty with Great Britain and the Treaty of Greenville with the Native Americans, and thus ended these conflicts for the time being.

Causes of the war of 1812. However, when Great Britain and France went to war again in 1803 with renewed vigor, these same issues reappeared. Great Britain, short of manpower to keep the Royal Navy at sea, strictly enforced a policy of searching neutral vessels for British deserters. Late in 1806, the Monroe-Pinkney Treaty was negotiated in England, but it was not ratified in the United States because it did not address this issue of impressment. In 1807, the British ship HMS Leopard fired upon and then boarded the American ship Chesapeake, carrying off four seamen. Though the incident itself was minor, the American public was outraged at the slight, and many called for war.

Causes of the war of 1812. Meanwhile, France and Great Britain had implemented embargoes that made international trade precarious. President Thomas Jefferson responded with the Embargo Act of 1807, which prohibited American ships from sailing to any foreign ports and closed American ports to British ships. Although the embargo decreased the number of American ships attacked by the French and British, it seriously damaged the economy of the United States due to a lack of markets for its goods. Jefferson's embargo was especially unpopular in New England, where merchants preferred the indignities of impressment to the halting of all overseas commerce.

In the United States House of Representatives, a group of young men known as the "War Hawks" came to the forefront in 1811, led by Speaker of the House Henry Clay of Kentucky and John C. Calhoun of South Carolina. The War Hawks advocated going to war against Great Britain for a variety of reasons, mostly related to the interference of the Royal Navy in American shipping, which the War Hawks believed hurt the American economy and injured American prestige. War Hawks from the western states also believed that the British were instigating Native Americans on the frontier to attack American settlements, and so the War Hawks called for an invasion of British Canada to end this threat.

In the U.S. presidential election of 1812, U.S. President James Madison argued for war against Britain. The War of 1812 was thus the first war "sold" to the American public via popular appeal. On June 1, 1812 he gave a speech to the U.S. Congress, giving several reasons for war:

Causes of the war of 1812.Ongoing impressment of American sailors into service on British Navy ships, an insulting breach of American sovereignty; Britain's navy "violating the rights and the peace of our coasts";
Britain's blockade of U.S. ports ("our commerce has been plundered in every sea");
Britain's refusal to repeal its Order-In-Council forbidding neutral countries to trade with European countries, and the British Navy's enforcement of this order;
Britain's incitement of Native Americans (conventionally referred to as "savages") to violence against the Americans.
The Senate voted for war, 19 to 13. The conflict formally began with the American declaration of war on June 18. This was the first time that the United States had declared war on another nation. Critics of the war in the United States referred to it as "Mr. Madison's War."

 

 

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "war of 1812"

  


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