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The War of 1812
The Causes of the War
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How It All Started

The war of 1812 was a conflict between new America and the British in 1812. After the Revolutionary War concluded Britain began another war with France and Napoleon. This war created a disturbance in the shipping and America took advantage of this trouble. America, however, was soon blockaded in their shipping by the British who impressed American sailors. This problem lead to the Chesapeake affair in 1807. The American government created restrictions in shipping to try to prevent war with Britain, but was unsuccessful in stopping shipping completely. Many Americans encouraged war because it would give America the opportunity to claim more land from Britain. These war hawks drove America to war and in 1812 after the Battle of Tippecanoe war was declared.

When Britain and France went to war, America took advantage of the opportunity to carry trade for both, "the United States sought to remain neutral while pursuing overseas commerce with both empires" (warof1812-history)Britain, however, did not want America to help the French and, therefore, began to seize American ships. The French also abused American merchant ships but the English attacks were more frequent and dangerous. The British impressed American sailors and forced them to join the British navy. This caused great anti- British sentiment was increased when the Chesapeake was attacked by the British Leopard and three Americans were killed, "Though the incident itself was minor, the American public was outraged at the slight, and many called for war" (warof1812-history)President Jefferson wished to avoid a war with the British and hoped for a peaceful settlement to their problems. Jefferson passed the Embargo Act in 1807, but this attempt at peaceful coercion lead only to economic disaster for American merchants, "Although the embargo decreased the number of American ships attacked by the French and British, it seriously damaged the economy of the United States due to a lack of markets for its goods" (warof1812-history).  Because American merchants were suffering, there was great difficulty in enforcing the Embargo Act. In 1809 the Non-intercourse Act was passed, but was quickly repealed. In 1811 James Madison, who was now president, was convinced by Napoleon to re-impose the non-intercourse act. These controversies over free trade and neutral shipping were a major cause in the start of the War of 1812.

The War of 1812 was also a result of the American desire for more free land. This land could only be gained if Americans were to go to war with the British. Many Americans believed that the British had been arming the Native Americans to prevent Americans from expanding, "the British were instigating Native Americans on the frontier to attack American settlements, and so the War Hawks called for an invasion of British Canada to end this threat" (warof1812-history). In 1811 the Battle o f Tippecanoe occurred where Tecumsehs brother led an attack on Harrisons army. The British had clearly supported and instigated this attack on America. This angered Americans who wished to expand into the West. Many Southerners supported the war because it would give them an opportunity to obtain West Florida from the Spanish. These war hawk including Clay, Calhoun, and Cheves, encouraged America to go to war with the British, "Popular opinion in the South and West clearly favored the conflict" (u-s-history) This desire for more land both by the Westerners and the Southerners was a cause of the Americans going to war with the British.

America spent over five years trying to avoid another war with the British. Son June 18, 1812 American declared war on the British beginning the War of 1812. This war was caused both because of the British infringement on neutral shipping rights and the American desire for more free land. These causes resulted in the War of 1812 between the British and America.

The Chesapeake Affair