The American War of 1812

Discussion in 'The War of 1812' started by spidge, Nov 12, 2007.

  1. spidge

    spidge Active Member

    The American War of 1812

    To Great Britain the War of I8I2 was simply a burdensome adjunct of its greater struggle against Napoleonic France. To the Canadians it was clearlya case of naked American aggression. But to the Americans it was neither simple nor clear.The United States entered the war with confused objectives and divided loyalties and made peace without settling any of the issues that had induced the nation to go to war.

    [SIZE=+1]Origins of the War[/SIZE]

    The immediate origins of the war were seizure of American ships, insults and injuries to American seamen by the British Navy, and rapid expansion of the American frontier. The British outrages at sea took two distinct forms. One was the seizure and forced sale of merchant ships and their cargoes for allegedly violating the British blockade of Europe. Although France had declared a counterblockade of the British Isles and had seized American ships, England was the chief offender because its Navy had greater command of the seas. The second, more insulting, type of outrage was the capture of men from American vessels for forced service in the Royal Navy. The pretext for impressment was the search for deserters, who, the British claimed, had taken employment on American vessels.

    The reaction in the United States to impressment differed from that aroused by the seizure of ships and cargoes. In the latter case the maritime interests of the eastern seaboard protested vigorously and demanded naval protection, but rather than risk having their highly profitable trade cut off by war with England they were willing to take an occasional loss of cargo. Impressment, on the other hand, presented no such financial hardship to the shipowners, whatever the consequences for the unfortunate seamen, and the maritime interests tended to minimize it.

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