On June, 1st 1812, President James Madison made arguably one of the most controversial decisions of his presidency; President Madison decided to send a letter to congress recounting the American grievances against Great Britain, which ultimately ended in a congressional vote to declare war against Great Britain. This marked the first time in American history that war was declared on another country. Challenging the country that America succeeded from seemed to be a very premature decision, but to challenge the greatest naval fleet in the world, seemed like pure insanity. Great Britain was acting as if they totally failed to acknowledge America as an independent country. Trade controversies, impressment, and Native American’s supported by Great Britain all led up to this declaration of war. Commonly known as the “Forgotten War”, this is definitely not a war to be forgotten. Had the tables turned, this quite possibly could have been the end of America’s short life.
One of the main causes of the war was Great Britain’s continued practice of impressment. The British would board American ships claiming to be searching for Royal Navy deserters and they would take any they could find and if they needed extra men to serve on their ship they would claim whatever Americans they wished. This violated American rights in two separate ways, the British were boarding ships with no right to do so, and they were seizing American men that clearly did not wish to serve in the British Navy. The British were totally justified to board foreign ships due to their “Orders in Council”. The Orders in Council actually justified that the British were allowed to board and search any foreign ship and search for deserters. What they chose to leave out of their Orders in Council, was that they were going to seize American men to fight in a European war that Americans had no business in. Impressment was not a new practice to the British, this had been going on for many years...
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