American history is never complete without a mention of the war between them and Great Britain. This conflict lasted for about 2 years and 8 months as the Americans took on the greatest naval power the world could boast of as at that period in time. Below are 5 reasons for what started the war of 1812:
Violation of America’s Sovereignty: Prior to this war, Great Britain had signed the Treaty of Paris following the Revolutionary War. The agreement was for them to surrender Western Forts. Unfortunately, this agreement was not followed through to the letter. The violation of this Treaty did not go down well with Americans who viewed it as a slight to their sovereignty.
Trade Restrictions: This is closely connected to the lack of recognition of the US as a sovereign State by Great Britain. Americans were open to trading with France against the wishes of Great Britain. Since the British did not see eye-to-eye with the French, they tried to prevent both countries from trading and issued a series of trade restrictions as a result. This too was not welcomed by Americans.
Forceful Conversion of American Subjects into The British Military: As if the other violations of the sovereignty of America was not enough, the British went a step further by stopping American sea vessels. Every American Subject found on the ships they stopped were forced into joining the British Military. The “Impressment” as it was called, claimed that since American soldiers had served the British King in the past, they remain subjects of the King. This justification by the British was not accepted by Americans.
Expansion of America’s Borders: The people of America desired to expand their borders and saw the British as a hindrance towards the fulfilment of this goal. At this point in history, Great Britain had control over much of Canada. The only way to expand its borders was to get the British out of the way.
The Attack of American Settlers: As if the refusal of The British to surrender the western frontiers was not enough, they went ahead to provide support and arms to Native Americans who in turn attacked American settlers. Allowing this to continue was one of the things Americans did not want.
All the causes listed on why the war of 1812 started showed that Great Britain still wanted to control Americans. The US President, James Madison, declared this war in order to free Americans from Great Britain’s impositions on them
The US President, James Madison, led Americans to war in 1812 against Great Britain and suffered lots of casualties as a result. Despite the loss of its, Americans believe that they won the war. The British, on the other hand, will not give victory to the Americans as they claim that the war was never taken seriously by them. So, who really won the war of 1812 since both parties are laying claims to victory?
Why Americans Believe That They Won
One of the reasons why Americans went to war against a country that boasted of being the greatest naval force at the time was to stop impressments which were going on at the time. The fact that Great Britain with all of its might could not capture an American territory offers all the proof Americans need to claim that they won the war.
Besides, after gaining independence from the British, Americans had never engaged them in a war before then. So, as far as Americans are concerned, the fact that they were able to stand against the British forces without losing ground asserts their independence from Great Britain. This may only be the view of Americans but the victories they claim must surely count for something. Here is a look at both sides of the debate.
Why The British Believe That They Won
Great Britain’s Royal Navy may not have succeeded in capturing an American territory in spite of the superiority of their force at that point in time, but they managed to successfully block the coastline of America. This alone brought about economic stagnation on the American people.
The British have also played down the war, insisting that they never took it seriously since they were more concerned with fighting their neighbors, France. As far as they are concerned, the French distraction is the only reason why forces were not sent to support the Royal Navy. Put simply, the British believe the Americans are wrong to think that they considered the War of 1812 as a struggle to conquer American territory.
With both nations making claims as to why they deserve to be given credit as victors, it becomes a case of which side you are in support of. Both sides suffered casualties in thousands before they signed the Treaty of Ghent. For Americans, being a smaller naval force with inadequate funding makes them victors for being able to withstand the most powerful naval force in the world. The British will point at the distraction they suffered by being involved in the Napoleonic Wars.