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Lecture 6

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University of Toronto St. George
Erin Black

Lecture 6: Wednesday October 19, 2011 The War of 1812 and the Awakening of American Nationalism I. Origins of 1812  Origins date back to Jefferson and Napoleonic Wars o British and French warning US not to aid the other o US was neutral and felt they had freedom of the seas and to trade with whomever they wanted o Trade with England and France expanding into the West Indies  Merchant marine was becoming largest in Atlantic – British watching this  As the war continues Britain has a beef with US about their high trade  Britain began to suspect that American ships were offering aid to British deserters  Britain wasn’t happy in 1803 when US gave Napoleon $2,000  To weaken Napoleon, British set up blockade around Napoleonic Europe o Under this policy, all vessels passing Britain had to have their cargos inspected, pay a fee, and have the British give them the okay to continue  The US protests these violations of American rights but to no avail  Underlying Causes o Harassment at Sea  US being harassed by British to the max  British Navy starts stopping American shipping in the middle of the Atlantic in order to inspect their cargo so it wouldn’t benefit France o Impressment  Taking people off their ship and ‘impressing’ them into the service of the British navy  Leads to the origins of passports – able to present formal American papers so the British won’t arrest them o British ship fires on American naval ship in 1806 on the American border  Jefferson responds by closing all American ports to British shipping  Instructs Americans ambassador to Britain to seek reparations for the ship that was fired upon to pay back for damages and return the kidnapped people and demanded an apology  The British apologize, pay some money, but hold firm on their stance that they are able to use force to return deserters o Jefferson, at the urging of his then Secretary of State (James Madison) suggests an Embargo of all British Tradeo They pass the Embargo Act (1807) which puts trade embargos on all European nations, not just the British o Jefferson was thinking neither Britain nor France will survive the embargo, especially since they were absorbing 45% of all British export cargo o Jefferson was comfortable with the Embargo Act because it was similar to the Non-Consumption Acts of the Revolution o Much had changed since the Revolution, the US had established one of the world’s largest merchant marines  Brought unprecedented prosperity to the Atlantic Seaboard and inland areas o The Embargo kills the US economy  Trade plummets by 80% in the first year  Hard times befell farmers – drop in price of wheat o Jefferson clung to the hope that the British or the French would yield and respect American neutrality o Before he leaves office he works with Congress to repeal the Embargo Act o Non-Intercourse Act (1808)  Opens trade to all European Nations except for Britain and France  Expires in 1810  Madison repeals the Non-Intercourse Act and to restore connections with Britain and France under the regulations that if either one repealed the restrictions, the US could cut off trade with either one  France invokes its measure with the US first so trade is cut off with Britain o Troubles with Native Americans  Under Jefferson then Madison, approximately 53 treaties of land cessations were signed – result was the US basically received millions of land in return for annual payments and promises not to intrude on native hunting grounds  These promises were obviously broken because the US was undergoing a population surge  Indiana’s territory had 5800 people in 1810 it had 24,000 in 1820 it had 200,000  Jefferson had established government trading posts on a number of native lands  Traded goods were offered in return for their land  Trade lands extended credit to native peoples in order to draw them into debt which would result in their land being forfeited – basically souring their relationships o Around 1805 a Shawnee man Tenskwatawa “the Prophet” said he received a vision calling on his people to reject the influences of white civilizations  Urges his followers to cease contacts with the white and only use fire arms for self defense, but not for hunting or any traditional purposes o This gains real currency when his brother Tecumseh who is a chief speaks of forming a confederation against various native peoples to stop white civilizations (American) and to cease all treaties made with the US and act as if they never happened o This alarms the Us to the point the governor of Indiana territory calls out the militia and then Tecumseh’s band is dispersed o The American militia discovers British weapons in the possession of the Shawnee 0 they assumed British Canadians were causing the Shawnee to stir up trouble with the US  In so far as the British were supplying weapons but weren’t whispering in peoples ears how to piss off the US o Within Congress a group of people started to become increasingly angered – called War Hawks – wanted to impose war against Britain o The War Hawks are also fed up with Madison o Madison asks the Congress for a declaration of war just as the British repealed their laws that the Americans didn’t like  Unacknowledged Causes o Political  Madison had not been the unanimous choice to run for the party because many hated him due to the Embargo Act  1812 happened to be an election year and so Madison agrees with the declaration for war because he believes it will unite the party – it does and he gets back in o Economic  Explains why Canada is targeted as opposed to trying to fight the British on the Atlantic – War of 1812 fought over the Great Lakes  War Hawks believed the Natives were getting help from British Canadians  US concerned that if the British are able to get resources from colonies in Canada it will weaken their position o June 1812  US declares War on Britain II. Impact of War at Home  Economic o Impact of Embargo Act by killing trade and grinding economy into a halt – gives US a depression o While the decline in Britain and Europe hurt the US it also started economic development as an alternative o With the Embargo Act, Jefferson opened the door for American economy  Shift capital into machine-based industry for capital o Beginning of manufacturing marks the growth of the textile industry  Political o While there had been enough support within Congress to declare war, the American public was divided  Federalists tended to vote against the war – final straw to break the back of trade with England o Hartford Convention (1814)  New England states refused to send their militia to join the national army – were so peeved they considered leaving the Union  The Convention argues that an individual state or group of states can impose authority in order to protect itself from unconstitutional federal laws  A single state can nullify a national law should that law be deemed unconstitutional – NULLIFICATION  Nationalism (at war’s end) o A feeling of mass patriotism at the end of the war o War lasts 2 ½ years o Negotiations to end the war started n 1814 and the treaty to end the war was signed on Christmas Eve 1814 – but it takes time for the news to travel across the Atlantic – world of peace treaty had not reached the British troops in New Orleans or the American forces o Andrew Jackson  Led American forces – his troops succeeded in getting the New Orleans and getting the British to back off – America wins it, even though it was after the peace treaty – gives the
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