Examine the conflicts between Native Americans and white Americans that led to the War of 1812.

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The conflict between Native Americans and white settlers along the Western frontier was not the primary cause of the War of 1812, but it was a major factor in the conflict. According to the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Revolutionary War, the United States claimed all the land east of the Mississippi River. The British refused to leave the forts in the Great Lakes area, and many American settlers correctly accused the British of arming the Indians. After the Revolutionary War, many settlers travelled west looking for farmland, a move they could now legally commit to after the Proclamation Line of 1763 was voided by the end of the war.

One Shawnee chief, Tecumseh, attempted to unite the Native Americans in the Old Northwestern territory to stand together against the white settlers. The British were an original ally, but after the War of 1812 slowly ended, the British lost interest in the region and left Tecumseh to fight alone. The Indian coalition lost a key battle at the Battle of Tippecanoe, and Tecumseh would go on to be slain at the Battle of the Thames in 1813.

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For Native Americans, the war was a chance to repel the "children of the Evil Spirit."  Native American leaders like Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa were vocal in how their lives were fundamentally being changed for the worse with the presence of White society.  White American land expansion was relegating Native Americans to being increasingly marginalized.  The presence of White Americans brought with it unknown diseases such as smallpox, which proved to be critical in causing so much death and sickness to Native Americans.  The attacks on White Americans on the frontier helped move both sides closer to hostile aggression.  Native Americans recognized the alliance with Britain as a chance to escalate these tensions into something of value.  The Native Americans saw an opportunity in forging an alliance with the British to restore their own pride and property and push back against White Americans.

War Hawks in Congress who were zealously in favor of war recognized the Native American alliance as hostility.  The cause for war was one in which the Hawks advocated war against anyone who was against the new nation.  They saw the Native Americans as representing the enemy.  This becomes the central issue facing both sides that causes the War of 1812.

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