As Risjord (1961) notes, a powerful motivation for the Americans was the desire to uphold "national honor" in the face of what they considered to be British insults. Brands says, "The other war hawks spoke of the struggle with Britain as a second war of independence". Andrew Jackson held that view with special conviction. The approaching conflict was about violations of American rights, but was it also about vindication of American identity. People at the time and historians since often called it America's "Second War of Independence".
Honor and the Second War of Independence
Trade with France
In 1807, Britain introduced a series of trade restrictions.The United States contested these restrictions as illegal under international law.
In 1803, a two-year peace between Britain and France broke down, and the two nations resumed a series of conflicts that originally began in 1793. Control of trade in the Atlantic was of great importance to both sides as they tried to deprive the enemy of material support coming in from neutral sites, such as the United States. Governments of all three nations struggled to protect commercial interests and limit trade with the enemy.
While the Royal Navy could man its ships with volunteers in peacetime, it competed in wartime with merchant shipping and privateers for a small pool of experienced sailors and turned to impressment when it could not operate ships with volunteers alone. Britain did not recognize the right of a British subject to relinquish his status as a British subject, emigrate and transfer his national allegiance as a naturalized citizen to any other country. Thus while the United States recognized British-born sailors on American ships as Americans, Britain did not.
Declaration of War
On June 1, 1812, President James Madison sent a message to Congress recounting American grievances against Great Britain, though not specifically calling for a declaration of war. The conflict began formally on June 18, 1812, when Madison signed the measure into law and proclaimed it the next day.
President James Madison, Jr. (March 16, 1751 - June 28, 1836)
In office March 4, 1809 - March 4, 1817
Atlantic Theatre - Key Battles
The War of 1812 was fought on several fronts, but one of the most critical theaters of the war was the Atlantic ocean. The British strategy focused on protecting its own trade vessels, while simultaneously imposing a blockade of American ports to disrupt the American economy. The American forces, outnumbered and outgunned by superior British naval power, employed a strategy similar to the tact taken during the Revolutionary War: engaging in small scale skirmishes that played to their strengths, and avoiding large staged battles.
American leaders assumed that Canada could be easily overrun. Former President Jefferson optimistically referred to the conquest of Canada as "a matter of marching". Many Loyalist Americans had migrated to Upper Canada after the Revolutionary War. There was also significant non-Loyalist American immigration to the area due to the offer of land grants to immigrants, and the U.S. assumed the latter would favor the American cause, but they did not. In prewar Upper Canada, General Prévost was in the unusual position of having to purchase many provisions for his troops from the American side. This peculiar trade persisted throughout the war in spite of an abortive attempt by the U.S. government to curtail it.
Great Lakes & Western Territories
The threat to the South became all too apparent in 1813 when thousands of Creek Indians, calling themselves “Red Sticks,” rose in rebellion. A militia army led by General Andrew Jackson crushed the Red Sticks at Horseshoe Bend in Alabama and elsewhere. Later Jackson was placed in charged of weak American defenses at New Orleans where he hurriedly patched together a remarkably diverse force composed of Tennessee and Kentucky militia, local Creole farmers, freed black slaves, and even pirates. This army of misfits then defeated a much more numerous and better armed detachment of British regulars at Chalmette Plantation south of New Orleans on January 8, 1815. Neither side had yet heard that a peace agreement had already been signed in Belgium.
President During the War ---------------------------------- James Madison (1751 — 1836)
4th President of the United States of America
Nickname: "Father of the Constitution"
The War of 1812 produced a new generation of great American generals, including Andrew Jackson, Jacob Brown, and Winfield Scott, and helped propel no fewer than four men to the presidency: Jackson, John Quincy Adams, James Monroe and William Henry Harrison.
Treaty of Ghent
By 1814, both sides had either achieved their main war goals or were weary of a costly war that offered little but stalemate. They both sent delegations to a neutral site in Ghent, Belgium. The negotiations began in early August and concluded on December 24, when a final agreement was signed; both sides had to ratify it before it could take effect. Meanwhile both sides planned new invasions.
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- A lot of money was put in to this war. We lost much of that money and great debt has been brought onto us. - Many Americans, British, and Native Indians died in the war and they will never be forgotten. -Lots of towns, cities, and buildings were destroyed, including the White House which was burned down.