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WAR OF 1812
After the Declaration of Independence, The United States of America still had the threat of Great Britain lurking over its shoulders. The British Empire was; helping America?s enemies at battle fronts including the Native Indians, interfering with America?s trade, but most of all Britain?s continued impressment of American seamen incensed the American government.
This video explains how the War Hawks in congress pressured James Madison to declare war against the British in late 1811. The British at the time were at loggerheads with Napoleon Bonaparte?s France leading to Britain seizing American ships, taking both the cargo and forcing the American seamen to work for them.
The President eventually bowed to pressure from the War Hawks and signed a declaration of war on January 18, 1812. This war would cement America?s position in the world. However, not all congress was for the war especially the Federalists from New England who were benefiting from trade with Britain. These were later overpowered.
The United States attacked Canada, then a British colony with immediate effect. The Canadian Army led by Sir Isaac Brock defeated the American troops, and the American troops withdrew. In the West Commodore Oliver led American troops to victory in the battle of Lake Erie. In the battle of Thames, Harrison?s troops retook Detroit in a fierce battle that left the famous Native Indian chief, Tecumseh dead.
After defeating Napoleon in April 1814, Britain turned all her attention on the United States sending all her troops to crash America. The British cut off New England and raided the Chesapeake Bay. They matched on to the United States capital and on August 24, 1814 captured Washington D.C. The British burnt down government buildings including the White House forcing President James Madison and his wife to flee.
Despite this defeat, Fort McHenry went on to win the battle in Baltimore, raising many Americans hopes. This victory inspired Francis Scott Key to pen ?The Star Spangled Banner?. The Royal Navy regrouped and gathered their efforts for an attack against New Orleans, leaving the Chesapeake Bay.
However, peace talks had commenced at Ghent. The United States gave up its agenda to end impressment, and Britain guaranteed that it would leave Canada?s boarders unchanged as well as abandon efforts to create an Indian state in the Northwest. The treaty of Ghent was signed on December 24, 1814 living no winners.
Oblivious to the fact that a treaty had been signed; British forces mounted an attack against New Orleans on January 8, 1815. The British army was badly defeated by future President Andrew Jackson?s army. This left Americans with a sense of national pride and a feeling that they had won the war.