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Effect of War of 1812 Essay

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Topic:The War Of 1812

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War of 1812

The main causes of the War of 1812 were found in the Napoleonic Wars in Europe between the French and the British Empires. One of the biggest offenses to American sensibilities at the time was the fact of British impressments—i.e., of Britain forcing Americans to join the Royal Navy to fight Napoleon. Americans had already won their independence from Britain and viewed impressment as dishonorable and unlawful. Impressment was lawful in Britain during war time—but America was no longer under British law, so they considered it an offense. The British needed men to work their ships in the Navy as the war against Napoleon was quite large—so the British were using Americans and pressing them into service. Another issue or cause of the War of 1812 was the use of economic sanctions by both the British and French against the U.S. The economic sanctions were used as fodder by the war hawks in the U.S. (mainly the Federalists) like Henry Clay. As a result, Madison declared war against England and started off by attacking Canada.

The outcome of the war was insignificant. The Treaty of Ghent was signed in 1814 and the relations between the U.S. and Britain simply went back to what they were before the war started. Neither the U.S. nor Britain gained any new territory. However, the war itself did have some consequence on New England manufacturing. New England wanted to make it more difficult for war to be declared in the future and the Hartford Convention essentially put an end to the Federalist Party, which was main source for hawkishness in the U.S. The Hartford Convention demanded reparations for New England as the war had caused New England trade to suffer substantially. This in effect delegitimized the Federalist power, especially as the Treaty of Ghent had shown that the war had been essentially fought for no good reason at all (Dwight, 1833).


Dwight, T. (1833). History of the Hartford Convention: With a Review of the Policy of the United States Government Which Led to the War of 1812. New York; Boston: N. & J. White; Russell, Odiorne, & Company.

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