war 1812 try 3



The relations of the British Empire with the United States passed through four gradually darkening phases between 1783 and 1812.

The phases of Accommodation, Unfriendliness, Hostility, and War. <WC Henry 1915>


The imminence of war with Great Britain had become so great that in the winter of 1811 and 1812, the general government deemed it necessary that a body of volunteers should be called for from the State of Ohio, to march on the opening of the season northward to Detroit, in order that this then remote frontier post should in all events be well protected, and in the event of war being declared, be in readiness to move promptly upon upper Canada.<W.S. Hatch 1872>


International disputes that end in war are not generally questions of absolute right and wrong.
They may quite as well be questions of opposing rights.The British were fighting for life and liberty against Napoleon.
Napoleon was fighting to master the whole of Europe.The United States wished to make as much as possible out of unrestricted trade with both belligerents.  <WC Henry 1915>

An armed mob must be very big indeed before it has the slightest chance against a small but disciplined army.

So very obvious a statement might well be taken for granted in the history of any ordinary war. But 1812 was not an ordinary war.

It was a sprawling and sporadic war; and it was waged over a vast territory by widely scattered and singularly heterogeneous forces on both sides. <WC Henry 1915>





President Madison sent his message to Congress on the 1st of June.

Congress was as much divided as the nation on the question of peace or war.

The vote in the House of Representatives was seventy-nine to forty-nine, while in the Senate it was nineteen to thirteen.  <WC Henry 1915>


The union of states was so loosely knit as to be little more than a confederation, and the long political struggle of the Federalist and  Anti-Federalist parties, accentuated by sectional jealousies, had strained the bonds almost to the breaking-point.

When war was declared, the country was discordant, disunited and unprepared.<W.M. Marine 1913>

1812, the available naval force of the United States consisted of seven frigates and a few smaller vessels, many of which were unseaworthy. 

The British navy at this time consisted of more than a thousand vessels and it was believed by the opponents of the war that with this force our coasts might be completely blockaded.

Congress lost no time in calling for private  vessels of war and the declaration of war itself conferred authority  upon the President to issue to private armed vessels of the United States, commissions or letters of marque and general reprisal.<W.M. Marine 1913>