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The War of 1812: Another American Victory


Part 3: The War Hawks Win

They wanted war with both Britain and France, but the resentment toward Britain was stronger:

  • British ships returned to their policy of impressment, by which they would seize American sailors and force them to serve in the British navy. This was a troublesome practice that was supposed to have been outlawed by the Treaty of Paris of 1783, which ended the Revolutionary War.
  • Americans blamed Britain for stirring up Native Americans who were raiding American settlements in the West.
  • Many Americans had designs on Canada, still a British territory.

The people who wanted war with Great Britain were called War Hawks. Among the leaders of the War Hawks were Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun. They finally persuaded Madison to ask Congress for a declaration of war in June 1812. Congress agreed, and war was declared.

The first real battle of the war turned out to be not much of a battle at all. American troops under General William Hull crossed from Fort Detroit into Canada and demanded the surrender of Canadian troops. Even though Hull's forces outnumbered those of the British commander, Isaac Brock, by about 5-to-1, Hull waited and waited and waited, until he became convinced that he was outnumbered. He didn't want his men hurt and so retreated to Fort Detroit, then surrendered. Not a shot was fired.

Next page > Highs and Lows > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Graphics courtesy of ArtToday


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