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The war of 1812 was a conflict between United States of America forces and British Empire forces. It spanned from June 1812 to the spring of 1815 though the treaty to end this conflict was endorsed in Europe in December 1814. The Americans had tried to change European powers by use of economic means but it failed. This war was declared by Americans because of several reasons among them being: imposition of trade restriction by the British Empire, British support to American Indian tribes who were against American expansion, forcing American sailors into the Royal navy, and the most being the humiliation of American honor by the British. The mainland fighting happened at Canadian border and along Gulf of Mexico. In this essay I will address the causes of the war, impressment, casualties of war, and its impacts, treaty of Ghent, and Hartford convention that ended the Federalist Party.
Various trade restrictions were endorsed on the United States by the British in order to impede the ongoing trade between France and America. America termed the restrictions as illegal since they were against the international trade laws. The United States' view was that Britain was in violation of a neutral nation's right to trade with others it saw fit. British support to Native American which led to raid to Indians was another reason that made US engage into the war. These raids hindered the US expansion to farmland in states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. British demanded as late as the fall of 1814, the creation of a neutral Indian state which was to cover Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana at the peace conference, but lost control of western Ontario at key battles on Lake Erie, therefore giving the Americans control of the proposed neutral zone.
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Impressment is the act that American sailors into the royal navy. The royal navy experienced expansion to one hundred and seventy five line ships, and a total of four hundred and twenty five general ships and hence they needed one hundred and forty thousand sailors, during Napoleon wars. About 11,000 sailors in U.S merchant who were royal navy veterans had left for better pay and conditions. Royal navy started to search US merchant ships for them, which infuriated Americans since the United States had it that these deserters were entitled to becoming American citizens. Britain did not acknowledge the established American citizenship therefore they went ahead to declare that united citizens born in Britain were liable to impressment. This increased the use of forged identity papers by the sailors which made it hard for royal navy to distinguish between Americans and non-Americans therefore they ended up impressing Americans who were had never been British. America became furious when British searched ships outside U.S harbor in U.S territorial waters and impressed Americans in view of U.S shores. Americans were campaigning for free trade and they advocated for the rights of sailors (Black).
War hawk describes members of the America of the 12th congress who were for instigating war against the United Kingdom during the 1812 war. They were young members hailing from south and western U.S who were voted into the house through congressional elections in 1810. They included Speaker of the House, Henry Clay of Kentucky, and John C. Calhoun of South Carolina They rose to oppose the British in their abduction of deserters and the United Kingdom orders in council which were crippling the United States economy. They had a stand that war declaration was the only solution to these violations despite of unyielding diplomatic negotiations between President James Madson and Thomas Jefferson. During the first congress meeting held in 1811, these war hawks won majority of positions and from November 1811 to June 1812, they advocate for war and military preparedness. Most congressmen voted for increase in military spending and militia expansion. Later these war hawks convinced the men of the congress that the struggle to liberty cannot be attained through peaceful and diplomatic methods (Smith).
During august 24, 1814, British army surrounded Washington, D.C and set fire on many buildings after the conquering by the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg. Some of the buildings that were set on fire are Whitehouse and the U.S capital; this was a great move by the British since from 1783 America had never been captured by a foreign power. This was as a result of American burning and raiding of York in the Battle of York in 1813 and also burning of the British legislative assembly. British attacked Washington in order to create more political effect. British had arrived at US capitol and they were overwhelmed by the architecture of the building, the order to set the house on fire was from Admiral Cockburn. They destroyed all artisans from Europe. By then president Madison had flew to Virginia. Then they proceeded to burn the Whitehouse and then the treasury. The burning of Washington was a major blow to the growing American nation. Other public buildings that were burned includes: Washington navy yard, 44-gun frigate USS Columbia which as still under construction.
The treaty of Ghent was signed on December 24, 1814; in Ghent, Belgium which was the agreement that ended the war of 1812. The message of this treaty took two weeks to reach the United States due to slow form of communication and therefore it found that the battle of New Orleans had begun. This agreement ordered the release of prisoners, restored all war land and boats. 40,000 km2 of land near Michigan and superior lakes were returned to United States of America. Consequently, American returned areas of Canada to the British. There were various promises that were made by both parties, they included: British promised to return freed black slaves which was later compensated with $350,000. They had also proposed to create an Indian buffer zone in Ohio and Michigan, which later failed after the Indian coalition failed. The news of the treaty reached when America had won the battle of New Orleans and the British, the battle of Fort Bowyer. The US senate accepted the treaty on February 16, 1815 and Madison exchanged the approval documents on February 17 with the British diplomat in Washington (Knight).
This treaty was as result of both sides becoming weary of this war that were costly and which offered no solutions or positive outcomes but negatives. The Prime Minister wanted the Duke of Wellington to command in Canada and finally win the war; Wellington said no, because the war was a military stalemate and should be promptly ended: 'I think you have no right, from the state of war, to demand any concession of territory from America ... You have not been able to carry it into the enemy's territory, notwithstanding your military success and now undoubted military superiority, and have not even cleared your own territory on the point of attack. You cannot on any principle of equality in negotiation claim a cessation of territory except in exchange for other advantages which you have in your power ... Then if this reasoning be true, why stipulate for the uti possidetis? You can get no territory: indeed, the state of your military operations, however creditable, does not entitle you to demand any' (mills)
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Alexander 1 of Russia also known as alexander the blessed was a Russian emperor from 1801 to1825 and he was the first Russian king of Poland. To Jefferson he was a man of estimable character, destined to do well, and expected to diffuse through the mass of Russian people. He was a wise leader who made alliances with United Kingdom. He strongly opposed the Napoleon 1 as he believed by doing so he was fulfilling a divine mission since he perceived it as the oppressor of Europe and the disturber of world's peace. He argued that the outcome of war was not to be only liberation of France but a triumph over the rights of humanity. European confederation was to be formed from a treaty to realize the dream of universal peace. It is known that alexander advised the U.S in the Ghent since he was afraid that Britain's resources were being depleted by the War of 1812. Facing the threat of Napoleon's Russian Campaign, Alexander knew he would need Britain's help in Europe, so he wanted Britain to disentangle itself from its American commitments as soon as possible. He approached Madison in early march, 1813 when things were gloomy for America. The meditation offer was made by the Russian representative in Washington and it was accepted. The president appointed Adam, Gallatin, and Bayard to negotiate under the mediation of Czar. These representatives were given full power to negotiate for a treaty with Great Britain, and were also empowered to make any treaty commerce with Russia.
The Hartford convention spanned from December 15, 1814 to January 4, 1815 in the United States in the war of 1812. This was the opposing party which was strong in England and in New York where it collaborated with Mayor DeWitt Clinton of New York City and supported him for president in 1812. It opposed Embargo Act of 1807 and Non-Intercourse Act of 1809. When Madison was re-elected in 1812 New York became stronger and as a result the war turned against Americans which gave British an opportunity to block the whole coastline and hence all New England's activities were interfered with. From this Massachusetts and Connecticut experienced the consequences of opposing Madison. Madison refused to issue their militia to the orders of the war department and hence refusing to pay their expenses. Madison also abandoned it to the common economy. Those Federalists opposed to war with Britain and supportive of breakaway were called the Blue light federalists.
In New England, people were very unhappy during the war, even after the victory in Baltimore had electrified the rest of the nation. Some New England Federalists went so far as to argue for Secession from the Union, in which New England would individually launch peace with Britain, whether the rest of the country wanted to or not. Rumors thriven across the nation that some upset Federalists were even tipping off British cruisers about US ships that were trying to run the British naval blockade.
In late 1814, the New England Federalists began the most formal expression of their displeasure war with the start of the Hartford Convention. Though the battle for Baltimore had been won, it still seemed possible that Britain could win the war, or at least that the war might go on a while longer. Delegates from Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Vermont sent delegates to Hartford, where they met in secret for three weeks. Around the country, many took the meeting of the Hartford Convention to mean that New England was preparing to secede from the union. Some of the delegates were in fact very radical. John Lowell and Timothy Pickering wanted to employ the threat of secession as to attain their end. Most delegates, however, were more moderate, like Harrison Gray Otis, who feared that all the talk of secession might lead to civil war. After pondering for three weeks, the Hartford Convention's final demands were quite sensible. It asked for the federal government to stream financial aid to help the economy of New England and for a new Constitutional amendment which required a two-thirds majority, rather than a simple 51% majority, in order for embargoes to be imposed or war to be declared.
The members of the Hartford Convention sent messengers with their demands to burned-out Washington. Arriving at the same time as news of Andrew Jackson's victory in New Orleans, the messengers were paid little attention as the city celebrated wildly. Most people laughed at the messengers of the Hartford Convention while others viewed them as dangerous secessionists. This Convention made the Federalist Party look apprehensive, and after the convention, the England suffered most as a result of destruction of northern shipping. . At the end of the war, as the rest of the country celebrated the Treaty of Ghent, Federalists had to wonder why the war, with all the economic sacrifices it entailed, had ever been fought in the first place if the final result did nothing more than maintain their position.
New England benefitted from the war, the war had stopped British manufactured goods from coming into the US, and New England manufacturers received protection against being undersold by British companies. Therefore, New England factories were built, and Northeastern manufacturing grew during this period. In effect, the War of 1812 stimulated the American Industrial Revolution, making New England the dominant site of American manufacturing. In this way, Federalist anger ignored a very vital side effect of this war.The Hartford Convention was the end of the Federalists. Although not actually treasonous, the Convention appeared treasonous to many Americans. This stained, the Democratic-Republican candidate, James Monroe, overpowered the Federalist Rufus King in the presidential election of 1816. The Federalist Party vanished, and the political alignment of the 19th century came into shape, which made Democratic-Republicans to split into the northern-dominated Republicans and the southern-dominated Democrats.
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This war had several impacts classified as US military impacts and economic impacts. Impacts on US military includes: during the war 12,260 American soldiers and sailors were killed. This war had a cost of two hundred million United States dollars to the United States. This war also led General Winfield Scott to emphasis on the need of professionalism in the United States in order to enforce American expansion and uphold the US military pride. This war also made America to officially abandon its reliance on the militia for its defense. There was also establishment of Army Corp of engineer who began constructing fortification around New Orleans. In 1823 there was endorsement of the Monroe doctrine which stated that US will not involve it in European affairs and therefore, it won't tolerate European to interfere into its business.
The war had so many economic impacts to the American economy. Manufacturing capabilities of United States was increased, this resulted from British blockade of the American coast which resulted to shortage of cotton in the US and hence they establishment a cotton manufacturing industry. This war also led to construction of Erie Canal project which was to promote commercial links but was also said to have military affiliations. There was also suspension of payment to the federal government and the issuance of treasury notes since this government had plans to finance the war (Effects of the war of 1812).
This war happened between 1812 and 1815 with war hawks being the prominent officials of the government. This war contributed to more harm to the economy but also led to some economic liberation of America, among the benefits being: establishment of manufacturing industries. The US casualties of war of 1812 included 12,260 American soldiers and sailors. This war also led to burning of the Washington city which was the heart of America by that time. The war was settled by a treaty signed in Belgium under the advice of czar alexander1. This is one of the wars that feature in the books of history.
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