Following the Revolutionary War

Following the Revolutionary War and the signing of the Declaration of Independence, the United States of America fell into an interval of peace and nationalism as a result of triumph over Great Britain. Although this victory was one that made a notable impact on American history, it was not a long-term solution for the controversy between the two countries. The War of 1812 was initiated by Americans as a result of ongoing tension and malice.

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Three actions that played a significant role in waging war were British impressment, the Embargo Act, and the violation of the Treaty of Paris. British impressment was when the British navy would take men on American ships to be part of the British navy. Despite the Embargo Act being a consequence of American policy, the restriction of American ships leaving their ports led to an economic decline and social pressure to declare war on Britain. The violation of the Treaty of Paris occurred when Britain refused to cease their attacks on American ships or retreat from American territory. These provoking actions towards the United States led to a British alliance with Native Americans to commence what can be considered the second Revolutionary War. Another war meant numerous battles between the two countries as a method for America to officially prove their independence and silence all disputes with Great Britain. Although there was no apparent victor, the War of 1812 immensely matured the United States of America while bringing attention to unsettled disputes with Native Americans, assisting with westward expansion and industry, and causing a surge in national pride.

Subsequent to the War of 1812 resulting in a draw, the United States still attempted to become better than Great Britain. As the officially independent country moved into an “Era of Good Feelings,” an incentive became evident that led to an Industrial Revolution. There was a change in the way products were manufactured. For example, cotton production increased from 10,000 bales in 1793 to more than 175,000 bales in 1812 (Greenblatt). In addition to this, jobs in the fish, lumber, and fur trade industries were created. Whaling was when a fishing company that owned a ship would give crew members gear and then paid them with a portion of the catch. Individuals who were lumberjacks would sell lumber to sawmills by their own scheduling and guidelines. The fur trade was improved in the United States when the American Fur Company led by John Astor was claimed back from Britain after the war ended, which led him to become the first millionaire in America. The textile industry also skyrocketed when in New England and over 100 textile mills were instituted. The workers inside these mills were women and children, earning less than a dollar a week. Due to the improvements in industry, it inspired America to pursue its westward expansion by continuing the National Road, which was postponed until the end of the War. Although in the War of 1812 the United States did not achieve the results they strived for, the Industrial Revolution allowed for America to become ahead of Britain economically through news methods of manufacturing and improved employment rates.

Along with new job opportunities and inspiration to take on postponed projects, Americans believed there was a more innovative and liberating way to live their lives. In addition to industrial advancements, there were also social advancements. When the war ended, the Federalist Party fell with it and the Democratic-Republican party took its place. Democratic-Republicans had a new set of ideals that questioned constitutional beliefs. Education was now prioritized by citizens in the North, while citizens in the South did not believe in republicanism and insisted on remaining old-fashioned. Americans began prioritizing their lives at home and general well-being once manufacturing arose and manual labor was not a large concern. A trend of smaller families was instituted where the average household contained an average of no more than five of six people. In addition to this, the roles of women in America changed significantly. Usually, women were viewed as “helpmates” who typically only cooked, cleaned, and cared for their children. In this new era following the War of 1812, women had a more significant role in society and were given the option to work in factories, which provided them with independence and a sense of importance. The industrial outcome of the War of 1812 led citizens of the United States to expand on new discoveries and apply those advancements to society, which developed new-found democratic ideals.

The Revolutionary War left citizens of the United States with pride and confidence. In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson states “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal” (US 1776). When he wrote these words, there was a desire amongst America which caused them to come together and rebel against Britain. By displaying this passion, the Americans won the Revolutionary War and fell into a state of nationalism. Before the War of 1812, Americans displayed patriotism, but there was an essence missing to it. Although they were united, the North and the South had their differences along with Federalist and Democratic-Republican differences. Their most notable difference was the topic of slavery. In the North, all states were known as Free States and did not approve of slavery. In the South, the states were known as Slave States that each contained a multiplicity of plantations, which required slaves to work on them. Despite the industrial advancements made and the installment of machines, there was still a demand for slaves in order to complete the tasks that plantation owners did not want to partake in. Since the North and South could not connect in these ways, it caused a social and political partition. The disharmony between the North and the South created a decrease in nationalism and caused the United States to enter the War of 1812 unprepared, which provided Great Britain with the upper-hand and led to an American victory becoming improbable.

Once the War of 1812 occurred, the relationship between the North and the South remarkably improved. As the Americans fought together, they were able to look past their differences and come together on one common goal: final independence from Great Britain. When recollecting the War, a French diplomat claimed “the war has given the Americans what they so essentially lacked, a national character” (“The American Revolution: War of 1812”). By finding their “national character,” the Americans proved to themselves and other countries that they are a strong nation becoming a force to be reconned with. In 1813, President Madison stated “the war has proved . . . that our free Government, like other free governments, though slow in its early movements, acquires, in its progress, a force proportional to its freedom” (Purcell). When President Madison stated this, it became apparent that the United States was no longer an amateur country. They were officially respected and liked by other countries for their courage. Another example of nationalism is a poem written by Francis Scott Key called “The Defence of Fort M’Henry” (Berkin). When Key wrote this poem, he was inspired by the battles he watched his country battle. His poem was so honorable that it was renamed “The Star Spangled Banner” and became the United States national anthem as a tribute to the American flag. The main reason this War created a great amount of pride was that it reminded America of the feeling it felt like to win the Revolutionary War and finally be independent of Britain. As history repeated itself, America was slacking at first and then brought themselves together in the end, which was similar to the Revolutionary War. By fighting as they fought decades ago, a passion for success and heroism was rekindled. Although the Americans did not win the War of 1812, they perceived it as motivation to rapidly improve.

Whilst the War is notably known as a war between the United States of America and Great Britain, the Native Americans were also involved. Before the War of 1812, the United States did not have a good relationship with the Natives. The Americans and Natives did not correspond with one another because they had different morals. In order to avoid American corruption, the Native Americans fled westward. They were pressured especially after the Revolutionary War due to the Americans demanding for their land. The Americans were so vicious that the Iroquois tribe sold their land and decided to move west or north into Canadian territory (Milne). As the War of 1812 commenced, the relationship between the Americans and the Native Americans regressed. Due to unfair treatment from the Americans, the Native Americans sided with Britain in order to anger the United States as revenge. On October 5, 1813, during the Battle of Thames, President William Harrison led his troops into British territory and killed 800 Native Americans along with 450 British troops (Milne). From an American standpoint, Harrison defeating 800 Native Americans and 450 British troops allowed his reputation to build up and further his career in the American government. The War of 1812 escalated the various disagreements between Native Americans and the United States, causing a larger war and more bloodshed.

When the War ended, the Native Americans were left with minimal benefits and overall lost the most out of the three parties involved. Throughout the months of November and December 1814, a negotiating team which consisted of John Quincy Adams, Albert Gallatin, and Henry Clay worked with Great Britain to establish a treaty once the War ended in a draw (Purcell). This negotiation resulted in neither a gain for the British nor the Americans, but both countries agreed to remain peaceful with one another. As Great Britain retreated from all American territory, they could no longer protect the Native Americans from American settlers moving out west into their land. They had nowhere to go and had their power entirely confiscated east of the Mississippi River with the exception of some territory in Florida. As the Native Americans lost their land, it inspired Native American removal to the Indian Territories in the Great Plains. Once they finally abandoned their land, the Americans invaded it and expanded westward.

The consequences of the War of 1812 impacted the United States of America in a way that has caused the country to become what it is today. The Industrial Revolution initiated the creation of new technology and republicanism throughout America. By improving manufacturing, the expectations for American labor increased and led the country to continue challenging itself. These unconventional discoveries allowed for economic growth and placement ahead of Great Britain. An inspiration for more independence and equality formed from these developments and changed the way most Americans lived. In addition, the ability to battle one of the greatest militaries in the world prompted nationalism throughout the nation. As a result of this, Europe was provided with a newfound respect for America. Although the Native Americans did not benefit from this War, they impacted the results by their participation. The Natives Americans imposed on the United States and without them, the British would not have an ally to fight against America with. The War of 1812 established a new reputation for the United States of America as a respected country in the world due to newfound nationalism, domination over the Native Americans, and an industrial advancement over the rest of the world.

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