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The War of 1812. The Beginning…. The War of 1812, sometimes called "the Second War of Independence," was fought between the United States and Great Britain from 1812 to 1815. The greatest problems developed during the war between England and France that broke out in 1793.

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the beginning
The Beginning…
  • The War of 1812, sometimes called "the Second War of Independence," was fought between the United States and Great Britain from 1812 to 1815.
  • The greatest problems developed during the war between England and France that broke out in 1793.
  • To prevent American neutral shipping from helping the French, the British instituted extensive maritime blockades of European ports.
  • The resulting seizures of American merchant shipping quickly brought demands for retaliation in the United States.
  • From 1794 on, however, tensions eased as the administrations of George Washington and John Adams worked to avoid diplomatic difficulties with the British.
Beginning in 1805 the British imposed much stricter maritime blockades, culminating in the Orders in Council of 1807.
  • The effect of these blockades was compounded by the British practice of impressment.
  • The British navy claimed the right to stop neutral vessels on the high seas to look for "deserters."
  • In the course of searching American ships, mistakes were often made, and as a result many American seamen were impressed into the British navy
From 1807 to 1811 the Democratic-Republican administrations of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison attempted to change British policies by economic coercion, restricting British imports as well as American exports to Great Britain.
  • The most severe of these measures was the Embargo Act, passed in December 1807,
  • This Act banned all exports and confined American shipping to the coastal trade.
  • When neither economic coercion nor negotiation changed British policies, war sentiment built in the United States.
war hawks
War Hawks…
  • Beginning in 1810 young Democratic-Republican "War Hawks" from the West and the South argued that the right to export American products without losing ships and men had to be defended.
  • They also objected to the British inciting the Indians along the Great Lakes frontier and argued that the British would be forced to change their policies if the United States attacked Canada.
  • Some believed that the future of republican government was in danger if the United States could not successfully defend its rights.
  • Others hoped that if Canada was conquered it could be retained after the war.
the war
The War…
  • In spite of bitter opposition from the Federalist party, centered in New England, the United States declared war against Great Britain on June 18, 1812.
  • General American strategy called for an invasion of Canada on three fronts: along Lake Champlain toward Montreal, across the Niagara frontier, and from Detroit into upper Canada.
  • The campaigns of the summer and fall of 1812 were disasters.
  • Detroit surrendered to the British on August 18, and the Americans were defeated on the Niagara frontier at the Battle of Queenston Heights in October.
  • The year ended with American forces on the Lake Champlain front withdrawing from an attempted invasion of Canada without seriously engaging the enemy.
the navy
The Navy
  • The main consolation in the first year of the war was the unexpected performance of the small American navy.
  • In a single-ship engagement the frigate Constitution defeated the Guerriere in August 1812.
  • Later in the year the United States captured the British frigate Macedonian and brought it into port as a prize of war.
  • Later the Constitution defeated the Java in a battle off the coast of Brazil.
  • This run of successes came to an end in June 1813 when the Chesapeake lost to the Shannon in a bitterly fought engagement.
  • But in spite of the morale-boosting victories of the frigates and successful forays by American privateers, the British navy effectively blockaded the American coast and laid it open to hit-and-run raids.
canada continued
Canada continued
  • American attempts to invade Canada failed again in 1813.
  • Although Capt. Oliver Hazard Perry's ships won the Battle of Lake Erie in October and Gen. William Henry Harrison defeated the British and the Indians at the Battle of the Thames in Canada in the same month, the Americans were unable to make major inroads into Canada.
things are looking pretty bad
Things are looking pretty bad
  • In 1814, with France collapsing, the British were able to launch major attacks against the United States.
  • In July, American forces resisted the British at the Battles of Chippawa and Lundy's Lane on the Niagara frontier, but in the next month the United States suffered a severe blow.
  • When Washington was occupied in August, President Madison and Congress were forced to flee, and the White House and other public buildings were burned.
  • American morale was at a low ebb: the country faced bankruptcy as a result of the British blockade and the Federalists of New England were in open opposition to the war.
but things get better
But things get better…
  • But in the following months American fortunes suddenly revived.
  • The British force that had occupied Washington failed in an attempt to take Baltimore, and on September 11 Thomas Macdonough's naval force won a decisive victory at the Battle of Plattsburg Bay on Lake Champlain.
  • This victory forced an invading British army to retreat into Canada.
the hartford convention december 15 1814 january 5 1815
The Hartford Convention December 15, 1814-January 5, 1815
  • The Hartford Convention grew out of New England Federalists' opposition to the War of 1812.
  • Because of their close mercantile ties to Great Britain, the New England states had tried to prevent the declaration of war in June 1812, and that summer, both Massachusetts and Connecticut refused to contribute militia to the federal government.
  • In spite of an embargo enacted by Congress in December 1813, New Englanders continued to sell supplies to British troops in Canada and to British vessels offshore.
  • This lively demand for wartime provisions benefited New England, as did the enhanced market for domestic manufactures, but the overall loss of trade offset these benefits and came to symbolize for the local Federalists their loss of national power in relation to the southern-dominated Republican party.
  • Early in 1814, several Massachusetts towns urged that a regional convention be held to formulate their grievances.
  • That December, at the suggestion of the Massachusetts legislature, twenty-six Federalists representing Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont met in Hartford, Connecticut.
hartford convention continued
Hartford Convention Continued…
  • Although a number of Federalists had urged that the convention threaten secession, that proposal was defeated by the delegates.
  • The final resolutions reflected the moderates' view.
  • The convention proposed a number of changes (including several constitutional amendments) that they hoped would increase states' autonomy and restore the national power of New England Federalists.
  • A committee of three was appointed to negotiate with the national government, but New England's effort to trade support of the war for greater influence in national councils was made irrelevant by news of the treaty ending the war (ratified by the Senate in February 1815).
  • Many critics poked fun at the convention, whereas others interpreted it as a forum for treasonous plotting; both views helped speed the demise of the convention's already weakened sponsors, the Federalists.
  • The fact that the delegates had discussed secession, though they ended by rejecting it, set an early precedent for the idea that secession was an available choice for states dissatisfied with national policies.
treaty of ghent
Treaty of Ghent
  • Since August 1814 the two sides had been negotiating a settlement at Ghent in Belgium.
  • When the British heard of the retreat of their army in the Battle of Plattsburg Bay, they lost interest in continuing the war.
  • On December 24 the Treaty of Ghent was signed.
    • It provided for the mutual restoration of territory captured by both sides.
    • England agreed to surrender its forts in the Northwest Territory and to allow the United States fishing rights in Canadian waters.
    • Neither side obtained any significant advantage as a result of the treaty
  • With the ending of the European war, the problem of American neutral rights was no longer an issue.
one last battle
One Last Battle
  • One battle was still to be fought, however, for the British force proceeding against the Gulf coast could not be informed of the peace in time.
  • On January 8, 1815, the American forces commanded by Andrew Jackson inflicted a crushing defeat on the British at New Orleans.
  • American victory resulted in the loss of over thousand British soldiers and fewer than twenty American casualties in a battle that lasted about an hour.
  • This victory made Jackson a national hero and enhanced his political future.
  • Once again the British had been successfully resisted, and a surge of national self-confidence swept the United States.
  • A war that had begun with the object of defending American commerce and vindicating republican independence was viewed in the end as a victory only because British attacks on the United States had failed.
the star spangled banner
The Star Spangled Banner
  • As one phase of a series of attacks on the United States in 1814, the British landed troops in the Chesapeake Bay area. In August, after defeating the Americans at the Battle of Bladensburg, they temporarily occupied Washington, D.C., burned the public buildings, withdrew, and sailed up the Chesapeake to attack Baltimore. In the course of their withdrawal, the British arrested and took with them a local physician, Dr. William Beanes.
  • Beanes's friends asked Key to intervene with the British to secure his release. Accompanied by an American agent for prisoners of war, Key sailed out to the British fleet in Chesapeake Bay and arranged for Beanes to be freed.
  • The British, however, were about to launch their attack on Baltimore, and they detained the Americans until after the attack.
  • On the night of September 13-14 the British bombarded Fort McHenry, one of the American forts guarding Baltimore. In the morning, when "by dawn's early light" Key saw the American flag still flying over the fort, he was inspired to write the poem that became known as "The Star-Spangled Banner."
  • He quickly jotted down the lines and that night on shore wrote out a fair copy.
  • It was printed immediately and issued in Baltimore as a handbill with the title "Defence of Fort M'Henry" and was quickly reprinted in Baltimore and elsewhere.
  • Set to the music of the English drinking song "To Anacreon in Heaven," Key's composition soon achieved national popularity, although Congress did not adopt it as the official national anthem until 1931.