War of 1812 (Great Events from History: North American Series)
Article abstract: The first war waged by the United States under its new Constitution tests the republic’s sovereignty and generates a sense of nationalism.
Summary of Event
The War of 1812 was a result of the Napoleonic Wars in Europe, during the first decade of the nineteenth century. Ever since war had broken out between France and Great Britain in 1793, the United States had tried, with some success, to follow a policy of neutrality toward both belligerents, avoiding a struggle with Great Britain by Jay’s Treaty of 1794 and ending a war crisis with France in 1800 by the Convention of Mortefontaine.
In 1805, the Napoleonic War took a new turn, placing U.S. neutrality on a precarious basis. With Napoleon dominating the European continent and the British controlling the seas, the struggle turned into an economic squeeze, with the United States in the middle.
In an attempt to starve the other into submission, each side began to harass and seize U.S. ships. By the Order in Council of 1806, Great Britain declared a paper blockade of the European coast from Denmark to Brittany and required U.S. ships to be searched for contraband. France countered with the Berlin Decree, which authorized the seizure of any ship going to England before coming to a continental port. When Great Britain responded by issuing a second order in council requiring neutral vessels destined for a continental port to stop...
(The entire section is 1838 words.)
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War of 1812 (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: American sovereignty and neutral rights on the seas. Result: Military stalemate; neither side achieved its objectives in the peace treaty.
The War of 1812 is sometimes called the Second War of Independence, because Americans believed that Great Britain’s aggressive policies had forced them to fight to defend U.S. sovereignty and honor. They demanded that the British treat them with the respect usually shown to great powers and allow the new nation a freedom of action unjustified by American weakness. When George Washington insisted that London observe neutral rights on the high seas, privileges then unrecognized in international law, the two nations were placed on a course toward confrontation.
Under normal circumstances, the British would have accommodated the United States, their most important trading partner, by modifying their actions. However, Britain was locked in a life-or-death struggle against Napoleon I’s France and believed that a militant stance against its former colonies was imperative to its own survival. British obstinacy and an emerging American national pride thus produced a war that many people at the time thought was unnecessary.
Impressment, the removal of sailors from American ships and their forceable enlistment in the British military, was the most objectionable of British actions. London invigorated this long-standing policy...
(The entire section is 1885 words.)
War of 1812 (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The War of 1812 between the United States and Great Britain was a conflict fought over the right of neutral countries to participate in foreign trade without the interference of other nations and the desire of many in the United States to end British occupation of Canada. The war, which lasted from 1812 to 1815, proved inconclusive, with both countries agreeing to revert to their prewar status as much as possible.
The U.S. declaration of war against Great Britain that President JAMES MADISON signed on June 18, 1812, culminated nearly a decade of antagonism between the nations. The British, who from 1802 to 1815 were involved in the
Napoleonic Wars with France, sought to prevent the United States, a neutral, from trading with France. Britain imposed a blockade on France and required that U.S. ships stop at British ports and pay duties on goods bound for France. In addition, outrage grew in the United States over the...
(The entire section is 654 words.)