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

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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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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