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Causes of the War of 1812

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Causes of the War of 1812

The War of 1812 was fought between the United States and Great Britain from June 1812 to the spring of 1815 (Findling, 15). When the war began, it was being fought by the Americans to address their grievances toward the British, though toward the end, the issues eventually were unjustified and reasons manipulated. There is no single cause for the War of 1812 but instead, several related causes, such the influence of the War Hawks, the impressments as well as the Embargo and Non-Intercourse acts, and the British’s possible interference with the Indian Nations, and land ownership disputes between the Natives and Americans, ultimately leading to the Battle of Tippecanoe.

The War Hawks were a group of 20 Democratic Republicans from the south and west United States, who supported the war against Britain. They were united by the outrages regarding the impressment on the seas and the British Orders in Council which were crippling the American economy. The War Hawks were annoyed at the slow strategies that Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison were taking; war, the War Hawks were convinced, was the only responsible and honorable reply to the injustices against the USA. A new congress met in 1811, with many War Hawks in prominent and powerful positions, giving them a lot of influence on the debates and access to the government’s funds. Henry Clay, a War Hawk and passionate speaker, was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, as well as Peter B. Porter had the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. With many men in high positions, the War Hawks had a good platform to be heard. From November 1811 to June1812, the War Hawks argued for war and the necessary financial and military preparations (http://www.galafilm.com/1812/e/ background/war_hawks.html, War Hawks). Many were against war, but several voted for increased military spending, and to expand the militia. The Hawks were confident that Britain would yield to US demands if it saw America considering military battle. Any way, Britain was already involved with the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, thus being short on money and men. Ultimately, the War Hawks convinced majority of congress to vote in favor of this “Second Struggle for Liberty”. Though a few rebellious congressmen fought over little details, everyone agreed that it wasn’t realistic to expect a peaceful and diplomatic conclusion to the constant divergence with Britain.

In the early 19th century, Britain and France were engaged in a life-or-death struggle. After much war through the years, France dominated a lot of Europe, though Britain was the ruler of the seas. When it became obvious that neither side was likely to win a decisive military contest, the warring nations turned to commercial warfare: Britain tried to blockade all of Europe, and France attempted to prevent the sale of British goods in their possession(http://gatewayno.com/history/War1812.html, War of 1812). During the 1790s, French and British maritime policies produced several crises with the United States, but after 1803 the difficulties became much more serious. In November of 1807, Britain issued a trade regulation called an Order in Council, which compelled all neutral ships to either call at British ports or be subject to a search by British authorities. A month later, Napoleon decreed that neutral ships that sailed to British ports, paid British duties, or allowed themselves to be searched by the British, would be considered as denationalized and could be seized by France. (http://www.galafilm.com/1812/e/ background/amer_embargo.html, Embargo). The US thought its rights as a neutral nation was being violated by both Britain and France, but especially Britain. The British claimed the right to take from American merchant ships any British sailors who were serving on them, regardless if they were Americans. This practice of impressment became a major injustice to the USA(http://gatewayno.com/history/War1812.html, War of 1812). The British Navy was able to abduct as many as 6,000 Americans in the early 1800s (http://www.galafilm.com/1812/e/background/amer_impress.html, Impressment). Later in the war, President James Madison said to congress "our commerce has been plundered in every sea [by the British]" (Hickey, 30).

From 1792 to 1815, the Napoleonic Wars stormed through Europe. Napoleon Bonaparte I sold the Louisiana land to the U.S. to raise funds for future military campaigns, especially campaigns against France's oldest rival, Britain. In the early 1800s, Emperor Napoleon made himself King of Italy, defeated Prussia, acquired the Kingdom of Westphalia, and made the Russian Czar Alexander I his ally (http://www.galafilm.com/1812/e/background/brit_napoleon .html, Napoleon). Despite all of this, Napoleon was still unable to overpower Britain. In 1806, Napoleon began economic warfare against Britain. Britain fought

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