The following essay is presented by both teams that battled in ‘The War of 1812’. This essay will continuously state the many causes that eventually lead to the war, also known as, the second american war for independence. The war was ignited by complex causes, as well as an inconclusive outcome. The war, initially, began over alleged British violations to American shipping. Great Britain was in a deep conflict with France. They made an attempt to cut off essentials from reaching the foe. The British tried to prevent the United States from trading with others. Another tension that sparked this war arose from the revolutionary French and Napolenic Wars in 1792-1815. Although this list may continue for an epic amount of time, these were the main causes that erupted, little-known, war that lasted from 1812 to 1815.
In greater detail, Britain is restricting trade with the U.S., America wants to expand their own territory, and went against the nation of the opposing union, Great Britain. France and Great Britain were in a deep conflict with each other in the nineteenth century. They both wanted to discontinue the supplies from reaching the enemy, so adding to that, they both tried to block the U.S. from exchanging the goods with the other. After the announcement in 1807 by the Orders in Council exclaimed that neutral countries are required to obtain a license by their authorities before exchanging with the French colonies.
Meanwhile in 1809, Thomas Jefferson’s “Embargo Act” was repealed. This caused Americans to be more hurt than France or Britain because the restriction of trade. Although one act was repealed, a new one was created, the Non-Intercourse Act. This act specifically eliminated trade with France and Britain, but was unfortunately proved ineffective and was eventually replaced with a bill saying “If either power dropped trade restrictions against the U.S., congress would in turn resume non-intercourse with the opposing power.”
The war hawks had defeated the Shawnees at Tippecanoe and was encouraged to resolve and to break the Indians resistance, but it was not easy. In order to achieve the goals, the U.S. would need to invade Canada and take out the British arms suppliers who have been frequently exchanging with the Indians. The House of Representatives wanted a war to finally end both the British threat and the Canada based and Indian-British alliance. The Americans overall begged to win the war and finally obtain true indepence.
There was an ‘inconclusive’ outcome to who really received the victory after the war. The conclusion was a peace negotiation in Belgium, initiated by the U.S. and the British. On December 24th, 1814, they came up with the Treaty of Ghent and had both sides sign it. The Treaty of Ghent was the official document that ended the war and opened the Great Lakes area for American Expansion and was shown as a victory for the United States.
Now, although the document was signed in December, news did not spread out pass the Atlantic until the following two months. Some British forces were not informed and ended up attacking New Orleans on January 8th, 1815. Luckily, an inferior American army, lead by General Andrew Jackson, interfered with the attack and decimated the British force. America had an increase of self-confidence after hearing about the Treaty of Ghent at the same time they heard about the Battle of New Orleans.
Although everyone involved in the war is no longer alive to this day, there are many personal journals that give us details about their own experience while battling in the war. Several young soldiers have brief diaries that explain how the whole war started from their point of view. There are some journals written by women and what they had to deal with in those circumstances. These journals really show how the witnesses of the war felt about everything happening around them. They help us understand what it was really like two centuries ago. The journals that are about to be presented are from the ones who experienced the war first hand, whether they were in it physically or were very close to the ones who were in it.
First, there is John Norton. John was part of the British and Canadian militia. While he was serving in Canada with the British, he became a trader and was turned over into the Six Nations. Joseph Bryant, Johns Mohawk Chief, employed John as an interpreter. John had extended knowledge of Native and British culture and had an epic military background. He documented his experience as a Native leader in the battles of the war. He stated that when they began to move toward the woods they heard musketry cracking as well as cannon being fired. They ran as fast as they could over the branches and leaves. As they were running, they passed a ravine and finally arrived where they intended, but unfortunately an explosion had erupted and rocketed fragments of buildings and rocks all over the place. They met back with troops who left the fort and barely saw any that was able to withstand the explosion. They compared the number of their own soldiers to the ones they were up against. Their amount was nowhere near the foes. The little number of soldiers retreated back to a ravine and waited until some other members of the troop show up. “We left them there and followed our friends, enraged at their misfortune.” (“Personal Journals”).
Unfortunately, the war was full of horrific events, but there are some lighthearted toned journals. Some people just happen to look at the bright side of things even in the darkest times. John Kennedy did a swell job in showing the glass is half full considering the circumstances. John was one of the more privileged men than his peers. In 1812 John graduated from college and then went straight into joining the militia. He documents about his experience at Fort McHenry. He stated that he had just left college and then describes the militia uniform in detail. A blue and red uniform with a helmet with a big black feather and a jacket tied but a white cross belt. His weapon was a fourteen pound musket. He was eighteen at the time and had to eat cold fowl, biscuits. He goes on saying “What luxuries!”. He claims that he has had many luxuries in his lifetime but nothing he received in the past even compares to what was in the guardroom. He gets excited about being detailed at Fort McHenry. “Talk about luxuries! I have had a good share of what goes by that name in my lifetime.” John had always carried dancing shoes in his bag. He was hoping that one random day, he would attend a grand party at the white house (“Personal Journals”).
Finally, we have Anne Prevost. Anne was the daughter of General Sir George Prevost. Her father lead the British forces in Canada as the Governor General. Anne is seventeen years old and writes entries in her journal almost everyday while her father was away at the war. Her entry of June 25th, 1812 she states how a British teen in Canada would react to the announcement of the declaration of war. She says that she was in class and it was being interrupted to hear the big news. ‘America has declared War against England.’ She began to honour and glorify her father when she heard this news. She says she knew america had to defend the Canadas even if it was a small force. She claims that there would be no harm in rejoicing the war that happened during her Father’s Administration because she believed her father would be the best at giving the yankees the punishment they deserved. She was proud of her father because she knows he is the best for the job (“Personal Journals”).
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