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