How did Congress struggle between peace and war with Britain?

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mkoren | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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Congress struggled with the idea of going to war against Great Britain or maintaining peace with them. There were reasons for supporting both ideas.

The Federalists wanted us to have a good relationship with Great Britain. We did a lot of trading with them. Our economy was dependent on this trade. We also based our government and legal system, at least to some degree, on the British version of these systems. Congress understood the potential for a good relationship with Great Britain was strong.

However, we also had issues with Great Britain. Great Britain interfered with our trade with France. Since France and Great Britain were fighting a war, the British didn’t want us to trade with France. Thus, they seized our ships and impressed our sailors. This violated our rights as a neutral nation in this conflict. Some people also thought Great Britain encouraged the Native Americans to attack us in the West. People were very unhappy with Great Britain. Some people wanted Congress to go to war with Great Britain because of their actions against us.

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