Throughout the 19th century, America transformed from a small, developing country into a world power. It was able to earn some credibility with other countries after it worked so hard to gain its independence in 1776. The United States also made many enemies after its monumental success. Acquisitions of land due to events such as The Louisiana Purchase, the Mexican Cession and the addition of Alaska, Florida, Oregon, and Texas tripled the size of the United States from 890,000 sq. miles to 2.73 million sq. miles in less than 100 years. One of the events that catalyzed this expansion was the War of 1812. The war is sometimes called “America’s second war for independence” because Great Britain was still interfering with American affairs though it had gained independence from them less than forty years preceding the next war (Feicht). It was a war that should never have had to be fought if Britain had just understood that it was tied to the fact that they had liberated the United States from their rule. It was outlandishly unwarranted that the British feel the need to have to interfere once again with American affairs. The Americans were forced to fight a war that was already fought (Feicht). One definite cause of the war cannot be pinpointed because there were many factors that contributed to the severity of the war and the intensity of the issues at hand; they can be narrowed down to three main concerns which are maritime and trade issues, the economic issues, seriously deteriorating
international political relations.
The dispute on the seas and involving trade may have been the most serious cause of the grave situation preceding the war thus stirring up the conflict amongst the countries involved and intensifying the animosity. The War of 1812, which was known to many people as the forgotten war, originated in Europe, where just like the Americans, many others were fighting for their independence. Before Americans got involved physically in the war, they did everything in their power to maintain their neutral status in the continuing conflict between France and Britain (Napoleon Series). During the years of 1789 and 1799, democrats and republicans in France overthrew the absolute monarchy after being influenced by American philosophy (Napoleon Series). Unfortunately, war was inevitable. The War of 1812 stemmed from the European conflicts of the French Revolution and its successors, the Napoleonic Wars (Napoleon Series). France and Britain were still both suspicious of each other and were paranoid and constantly felt the need to be prepared for any possible attack from the opposing country (Napoleon Series). Britain was blockading any ship from going to France because of a war between the two countries, and as a result, ships had to first go through a British port in order to trade in France. Britain considered any ship that did not stop an automatic enemy. Adding to troubles, the trade negotiations were severely disrupted by the dilemma of British search and seizure on the high seas (Napoleon Series). It was that many British soldiers and officers had attempted to desert their country trying to seek refuge on American ships. Since the British knew that there was a great possibility that their own men, now considered to be traitors, were being sheltered on any ship, they felt as if it were their responsibility to find these so-called deserters and give them
their just punishment. Sometimes British generals would mistakenly take American generals as prisoners judging them to be deserters of the British Navy (Feicht). The majority of the time, the mistake would take years to be corrected. An important economic aspect of the War of 1812 was President Jefferson’s installment Embargo Act in 1807 which stopped the majority of American vessels from sailing and closed trade with Europe; however, instead of disturbing Britain’s...