The 1812 War: American History
The conflict between the British and American military forces was fought on land and sea where both sides attacked and occupied each other’s territories. Merchant ships were attacked and looted with each side trying to block its coastline. Britain specifically organized raids in “Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin” (Hitsman, 27). The war was very intense but the American military was able to destroy Indian uprisings that were supported by the British. On the other hand Britain’s military attacked the United States separating it from Canada. These hostilities between the two nations carried serious consequences for both sides.
The 1812 war was mainly provoked by Britain’s decision to impose trade restrictions on the US to prevent American commercial activities with the French. At that time Britain was at war with France. This restriction was meant to act as a weapon against France. The US saw these restrictions as a contravention of international trade laws because “a large section of influential British opinion, both in the government and in the country, thought that America presented a threat to British maritime supremacy” (Horsman, 264). Another reason for the war can be attributed to the forceful recruitment of American sailors in the Royal Navy. The war in Britain had created a shortage of skilled sailors to man the British coastline which led to impressments of sailors. In the growing spirit of sovereignty, the Americans rose to repulse the forceful recruitment in the Royal Navy. The other major reason for the war had to do with the British support of the indigenous Indians who were frustrating settlement efforts by the pioneer colonists.
The outcome of the war favored the US in many ways. America’s triumph over the British was seen as a great achievement by all Americans. Britain could never again have the mandate to dominate their affairs again. The American spirit of patriotism, which had previously seemed to be weakening, was reborn and unity enhanced. In order to defeat Britain, the settlers had to come together and fight as a united front. At this time America was a young and inexperienced nation but the war helped in inspiring the settlers in the quest for independence.
The death of the Indian leader Tecumseh and the vanquishing of his army brought an end to Indian attacks on settlers. The end of war opened avenues for further growth of the American nation through expansionism. The settlers gained the courage to buy vast pieces of land that was formerly occupied by the Indians. The economy of the nation increased as the land they had acquired was used for agriculture. The nation became self reliant and could no longer depend on imports from other countries (Van Deusen & Bass, 145). Availability of land brought about a rapid increase in population. Most importantly was the formation of respectful relations between the US and Britain after the war. The trade restriction by Britain was removed paving way for America trade activities with other European countries.
Although America’s decision to go to war with Britain was seen as a cause with little worth, the settlers came out of the war with more than they had bargained for. It can accurately be argued that the Americans’ agitation for independence can be traced to the settler’s victory in the war of 1812. The war marked the rebirth of a strong and united nation.
Hitsman, Mackay. The Incredible War of 1812. Toronto, Canada: University of Toronto Press, 1965. Print.
Horsman, Reginald. The Causes of the War of 1812. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1962. Print.
Tindall, Brown, and Shi, D. Emory. America: A Narrative History. New York, NY: W. W. Norton & Company, 1999. Print.
Van Deusen, Glyndon, and Herbert, J. Bass. Readings in American History. New York, NY: Macmillan Company, 1968. Print.