There were several important factors that lead to the war between Britain and the United States. In this essay, we will explore three of them. The first issue was the impressment of United States seamen into the Royal Navy. Second, was a series of trade restrictions enacted by Britain to impede American trade with France. And third, a possible desire of the United States to annex Canada.
The Royal Navy was the largest navy in the world. In order to provide enough manpower to run its ships, the Royal Navy was permitted to follow a policy of impressment, which allowed them to draft into service any male British citizen. Between 1803 and 1812, anywhere from 5,000 and 9,000 American sailors were forced into the Royal Navy. Many American seamen had been born in Britain and became naturalized citizens. So even though the law restricted impressed soldiers to British citizens, it was loosely interpreted. Tensions were further heightened in Europe regarding Britain and France’s behavior on neutral trade. Napoleon issued the Berlin Decree in November 1806 and also instituted the Constitutional System which made all trade with Britain illegal. In response to Napoleon, London issued the Orders in Council on November 11, 1807, which closed European ports to trade and required foreign shops to pay customs duties in order to enter them.
Napoleon responded again. He issued the Milan Decree only a month later, which declared that all ships who follow Britain’s rules would be seen as British property and would then be seized. This resulted in American ships becoming prey for both sides. On December 25, 1807, Jefferson implemented the Embargo Act. Jefferson hoped to end the threat to American vessels while not supplying Brain or France with American goods. This act unfortunately failed to achieve his goal. The Embargo Act was replaced with the Non-Intercourse Act in December 1809, which still failed. Finally in 1810, the final revision was made which removed all embargos, but offered that if one nation stopped attacks on American ships, the US would begin an embargo against the other. Napoleon accepted this offer, however, the agreement further angered Britain. A new group of politicians formed in the west, known as the “War Hawks.”
Introduction I believe that the North American Free Trade Agreement was an inevitable step in the evolution of the United States economic policy. The globilization of the world economy due to technological advances in computers and communications have shrunk the world to the point where no single country acting alone can effectively compete on the foreign market. Even the United States, with its ...
A prominent leader was Henry Clay of Kentucky. Upon the issues of impressment, Native American attacks, and the seizure of American ships, Clay and his War Hawks got ready for war in early 1812. At first, the British used defensive strategy. The Americans invaded the provinces of Upper and Lower Canada and gained control over Lake Erie in 1813 and seized parts of western Ontario. This ended the prospect of an Indian confederacy under British sponsorship. All in all, the three main issues that lead to war between America and Britain were the impressment of American citizens, a series of trade restrictions enacted by Britain, and the possible desire of the US to annex Canada. Even though I believe these to be the most important factors of the war, there were many other issues as well.