Second War of American Independence and Its Causes Essay
President James Madison sent a letter to Congress on June 1, 1812, asking for a declaration of war against the former colonizer, Great Britain. He had several reasons that made him feel that the United States was justified to wage a war with Great Britain for economic and political injustices. Campbell says that this declaration war was seen as a second war of independence for the United States because the country still faced numerous economic and political interferences from the former colonial master (26). In this paper, the researcher will look at the reasons why President James Madison wanted a declaration of war against the United Kingdom of Great Britain.
The first reason that made President James Madison send this war message to Congress was an order by the British Council that prohibited the United States from engaging in trade with France because of the Napoleonic War. The United States felt that it was unfair for the United Kingdom to issue trade restrictions to the United States because it was an independent country that could make its own decisions. President Madison felt that the United States, as an independent nation, was not bound by any law to do what its former colonial master wanted (Waddell 51). It had to make its own decisions regarding the issue of trade restriction with any foreign country.
The second factor was the policy of impressing the sailors from United States ships to serve in the British fleet that the United Kingdom had developed. Sometimes the British naval forces would attack United States sailors for unjustified reasons and imprison them if they were unwilling to serve in the British fleet. These actions were affecting the United States’ ability to actively engage in international trade (Tucker 127). President James Madison felt this had to come to an end. The United States needed to have a peaceful co-existence with the former colonial master in the high seas. As Benn notes, the actions of the British forces in the high seas were meant to frustrate the economy of the United States which was expanding rapidly because of the active trade between this country and the international community (89).
According to Tucker and Fredriksen, another major reason why the President felt that this young country had to go to war against the United Kingdom was the activities the British forces were doing in Canada (113). It was believed that the Canadian British forts, along the border with the United States, were providing arms and military support to the American Indians to help them fight the expansion of the United States. President James Madison claimed that the British forces were already at war with the United States given their direct support to forces that were fighting against the country’s expansion (Peskin 67).
The reasons given by President James Madison for the war with the United Kingdom of Great Britain were justified. After gaining independence from Great Britain, the United States was free to make its own decisions when it comes to issues about international relations. It was unfair for the government of Great Britain to issue orders on how the United States had to relate to other countries. The actions of Great Britain to interfere with United States economic activities in the high seas were also unfair, justifying the need to go to war.
Benn, Carl. The War of 1812: The Fight for American Trade Rights. New York: Rosen Pub, 2011. Print.
Campbell, Ballard. American Wars. New York: Facts on File, 2012. Print.
Peskin, Lawrence. Captives and Countrymen: Barbary Slavery and the American Public, 1785-1816. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1900. Print.
Tucker, Spencer, and John Fredriksen. The Encyclopedia of the War of 1812: A Political, Social, and Military History. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2012. Print.
Tucker, Spencer. Almanac of American Military History. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2013. Print.
Waddell, Steve. United States Army Logistics: From the American Revolution to 9/11. Santa Barbara: Praeger, 2010. Print.
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President James Madison sent a letter to Congress on June 1, 1812, asking for a declaration of war against the former colonizer, Great Britain. He had several reasons that made […]