American History – the War of 1812
As of the year 1812 America was a nation at its beginnings, it had been a mere 30 years since the winning of the war of independence. There were only 18 states at the time with the most recent addition being Louisiana in that very same year. Still weary from the recent war America was just beginning to get there affairs in order and to show that it could be a strong nation, a sovereign nation, a nation worthy of the respect of their pears as well as their former patron nation of Great Britain. James Madison was president and was nearing the end of what would be his first term in office. With tensions running high few realized that America was a nation that would find itself heading to war again especially a war against one of the worlds superpowers, that war was one that would pit them against those considered their former oppressors, a war against Great Britain. Looking back some would say that this war was imperative to consolidating national pride in the face of the harsh policies Great Britain held towards America, others would say it was a war that was unnecessary and could have been solved through diplomacy, whatever ones views may be it would be on the day of June 18 1812 that the war of 1812 as it would later be called in history books was about to begin.
There were many signs that some form of conflict was brewing between these two nations, chiefly a growing sense of disrespect with regards to Americas sovereignty. During this time Great Britain was embroiled in a war with one of the worlds other superpowers, France. In order to win against France, Great Britain was willing to do almost anything to achieve victory, which included hampering American trade and using impressment to take American sailors and forcing them into the Royal navy. This was justified through Britain's Orders of Council which were a series of laws passed between 1783 and 1812. In particular were the orders passed between 1807 and 1809, which basically allowed the Royal navy to seize cargo as well as sailors from the ships of neutral nations, among these neutral nations was America. One of the more specific incidents was know as the Chesapeake – Leopard affair during which the British Ship HMS Leopard chased down the American Frigate USS Chesapeake. It was June 22nd 1807 off the coast of Norfolk Virginia, the Leopard managed to catch the US ship and open fire, there were 17 American Casualties as well as 4 of the crew being taken by the British under suspicion of being deserters from the royal navy, of which one was hanged. These orders also allowed Britain to blockade the ports of neutral nations in order to stop them from trading with France, they did this whether or not trade emanating from these ports was going to the French. This took as massive toll on American trade, especially in the New England colonies. Due to this as well as other incidents American resentment of the British was back on the rise. In an order signed on June 23rd 1812 was designed to repeal the most offensive of these orders, unfortunately it had come to late and before the repeal had been received the American government had declared war on the British