War of 1812

According to Henderson (2011), the war of 1812 “was a military conflict,” that was fought between the “United State forces” and the British Empire military. The respective war was declared in 1812 by the Americans and was fueled by several factors such as the “trade restrictions” a move that was attributed to the Britain’s war with France and “the specific impressments” of the American based merchant sailors into the then imperial navy. The third reason that led to the declaration of this war was based on the “British support of American Indian Tribes against the sought American expansion” this was an additional to “the national honor after humiliations on the high seas” of the American merchants.

Until 1814, the British applied a defensive strategy, which was meant to repel the multiple American invasions of the Upper and Lower Canadian provinces. The Americans, however, succeeded to gain control over Lake Erie in the year 1813. This was in addition to the seizure of the Western Ontario as well as the destruction of the Indian Confederacy Dream and an independent Indian state that lied in Midwest under the sponsorship of Britain. At the Battle of Horseshoe bend in the Southwest, “General Andrew Jackson” managed to destroy “the Military strength of the Creak nation.” “After the defeat of king Napoleon in 1814, the Britain adopted a more aggressive strategy, sending in three large Invasion Armies.” The British victory at the Battle of Bladensburg in August 1814 allowed the British to capture and burn Washington, D.C.” American success in September 1814 and January 1815 were significant to the repulsion of the intended British invasions in New York and Baltimore as well as New Orleans.

The 1812 war was fought in three theaters i.e. at the Sea, the warships and privateers who from both sides attacked each other’s business ships. During the war, the British managed to blockade the US Atlantic coast and did mount fierce raids during the later stages of the war. The success of America in this war was characterized by single ship duels against the British frigates” and “combat against the British provincial vessel in Great Lakes, such as Lake Erie. During the 1812 war, both “the land and naval battles were fought in the frontier” which span along the “Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence river.”

Reasons for the War

The 1812 war was declared by the Unites States on Britain for various reasons. The most practical motivator was the fact that Americans desired to hold national honor in the face of what was regarded as British insults. However, the logical factors behind the declaration of this war were as follows:

Trade with France

In 1807, the British brought into place trade restrictions that were set to impede America from trading with France. The British was a competitor to this deal and they sought to restrict America from being part of the trade. The American Authorities did contest these restrictions on basis that they were illegal in the international law grounds. The main aim of Britain in the structuring of the restriction was to impede America from trading with France despite their neutral state and right to trade. This is because “a large section of influential British opinion, both in government and in the country, thought that America presented a threat to British Maritime supremacy.” The United State`s perspective was that Britain restrictions were a violation of their rights to trade hence declaring the 1812 war against them.


The USA believed that the British deserters had the right to become the citizens of the United States. Britain, on the other hand, failed to give recognition to the neutralized the USA citizenship and together with the quest to recover the deserters, it was concluded that the British born US citizens were liable for impressments. The forgery of papers by sailors resulted to difficulties in distinguishing Americans from non-Americans, hence impressments of people who never were British. The Americans were angered by this action and the searching of “contraband and impressed men in the US territorial waters,” hence the declaration of war.

The support of Indian raids by the British

The “northwest territory” was an area of dispute between the “Indians and USA since the passage of Northwest ordinance in 1787.” However, “the British saw the Indians as valuable allies and a buffer to its Canadian colonies and provided arms,” hence they supported these nations against the USA. The American settlers in the Northwest were attacked and this did aggravate the tension between the two; the USA and Britain. The raids did deter America from expansion into the Northwest Territory farmlands thus aggravating the conflict. Te conflict of interest between the two super powers is what did fuel the commencement of the 1812 war.

US expansionism

Leaders, such as Tecumseh who were “supplied and encouraged” by British, hindered the US expansion efforts significantly. The Americans requested that the expansion interference could be brought to a halt, but these leaders could not allow it. Thus, the Britain support of the Indian nations and their leaders against the American expansion efforts arguing that the goal was to “annex part of Canada” fueled the need to push the interests of Americans and fight any unreasonable interference. The conflicting perspectives of expansion efforts by the US and the encroachment claims by the Indian based leadership supported by Britain, resulted to misunderstandings and thus the start of the war.  Thus, the interference of the US expansion efforts by leaders, such as Tecumseh who were “supplied and encouraged” by British, resulted to the commencement of the 1812 war.

Us political divergence

The US was in a conflict “between the Federalist party; which favored a strong central government and closer ties to Britain”  against the “Democratic republican party; which opted for a weak central government, preservation of slavery, expansion into the Indian land and a stronger break with Britain.” Thus, such political conflict created an environment that was sickly and wanting, hence the triumph over the “federalist rivals” accrued to the British disagreement with their side defeat and the spur of conflict henceforth.  Thus, the US political conflict influenced the 1812 war.

Theaters of war

The 1812 war was conducted in “three theaters; the Atlantic Ocean theater, which involved single-ship actions, blockades and the fight at the Atlantic Coast. Secondly, the war theater was the Great Lakes and the western territories; which involved the invasion of Upper and Lower Canada in 1814, northwest America in 1813 as well as Niagara Frontier. The third theatre was in Creek war, New Orleans and in Alabama (Ontario, 2009).”

The Treaty of Ghent

Peace negotiations

By the end of 1814, “the war fighting sides had achieved their main war goals.” Thus, both sides agreed to “send delegations to Ghent; Belgium, as a neutral site for an amicable solution to be achieved. By December 1814, a solution was achieved and the talks concluded. Despite the signing of the respective agreement, both parties continued to attack each other with Britain`s blockading “New England ports, reducing American foreign trade.”

Negotiations and peace

Britain demanded the “cession of large areas,” which had been inhabited by their forces near “lakes Superior and Michigan and two towns in Maine.” In addition, they required the turning of much of the Midwest into Indian neutral zones. America, on the other hand, wanted a stop to impressments and other British support of the rivals and uncompromising policies. Intentional mechanisms were abandoned and the Treaty of Ghent was signed in “December 24, 1814” and peace was realized afterwards.

Losses and compensation

Britain did “lose 1,600 killed in action, and 3,679 were wounded and 3,321 dies from diseases.” America, on the other hand, “lost 2,260 in action and 4,505 were wounded” and the number relating to the Americans who succumbed to diseases were not known. American slaves escaped and Britain settled some of them in “North Scotia.” Britain “paid 1,204, 960 dollars as damages to Washington, which was set to reimburse the owners of slaves” (Pierre, 2012).

Final stages of the war and the aftermath

After the start of the 1812 war, “Tsar of Russia offered to mediate.” Britain refused the offer, but later showed willingness, which was set to enable them turn to Napoleon in full. Talks started in what came to be modern day Belgium, France was defeated, and the British “Stalled as they waited for news of decisive Victory in America.” Majority of the Britons became angry when they knew that America had become a friend to Napoleon. After “learning of Plattsburg and Baltimore and upon the advice of the Duke of Wellington, commander of the British army and the Waterloo battle, the government of Britain moved towards making peace.” The US dropped a demand to end impressments similarly to Britain`s attempts to vary the Canadian boundary and create an “Indian barrier state in the Northwest.” “The most enduring international  consequence of the war was in the arbitration clauses of the Ghent,” perhaps which was the most significant feature of the treaty. Thus, the treaty and the compromise of the hard lines that were held by both parties led to the realization of peace and a significant end to the 1812 war.

Conclusion and findings

According to History.com (2011), the war of 1812 was fuelled by various factors, such as trade restrictions and impressments of the Americans by the British leadership. Some of these leaders, such as Tecumseh stood in the way of American expansion - a factor that fuelled the way based on the fact that he was supported and financed by the Britain`s leadership and government. The struggling trade measures that were put in , were critical and sought to strengthen Britain`s trade against the American one, thus the US felt disadvantaged and the need to defend their trade goals and objectives through the declaration of the  war. Factors such as the political instability of America and the hindrance of the expansion efforts and the British support of Indian raids were some of those that were attributed to the beginning of the 1812 war. In addition, impressments and trading with France were the other reasons that attributed to the fighting between the parties. This was because America, for instance, felt disadvantaged, while Britain sought to completely bar them from undertaking trade with their markets, such as France and interfered with the sovereignty of the US. The 1812 war was fought for sometime and a solution was reached upon the signing of the Ghent treaty.

However, the parties were not really ware of the contents of the treaty and they continued to make minor attacks, such as the Britain blockade of  London ports and failure to disembark from the prior demands, such as the change of Canadian boundary. However, after negotiations, an amicable solution was achieved and both parties dropped these demands. Thus, the 1812 war came to an end after the negotiations.

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