The War of 1812
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• The Napoleonic Wars were raging on the European continent and around the globe. • America tried to remain neutral, but hopelessly became embroiled in the war—economically, politically, and eventually militarily. • Because the British were the most powerful bullies on the open seas, they reserved the right to board American ships looking for deserters. • This created such incidents as the Diana and the Topaz and the Caravan—
• President Jefferson dealt with this by imposing a trade embargo against Britain—however, it almost destroyed the American economy and did not alleviate the British “Impressment Gangs.” • This also allowed the federalist to regain some power allied with the Western Republican ‘War hawks.’ • Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun desired a war with Britain to make them realize we were a serious country.
• Henry Clay was westerner from Kentucky; • He had nothing but disdain for the British abroad and called them meddlesome domestically;
• He also attacked the corporate privilege at home—he also thought that a good notion was to invade Canada—force the British to negotiate or lose Canada outright • He was a ‘War Hawk!’
• John C. Calhoun was a South Carolinian—from what was called the backcountry, but later became the Midlands. • Secretary of War for Pres. James Madison. • He too hated the British and preferred war rather than capitulation or timid treaties—as the Jay Treaty • He, too, was a ‘War Hawk.’
• President James Madison preferred diplomacy. Madison was Jefferson’s hand picked successor to the Presidency. • The Federalist opposed diplomacy because America always got the short end of the stick with Britain. • Unfortunately the British undid all his efforts—most notably with the secret intrigue and the Hartford Convention
• Many of the New England industrialist and shipping magnates were suffering greatly because of the bellicosity between America and Britain—mainly in trade and commerce. • The British Governor of Canada Sir James Craig shared correspondence with an Irish-born New Yorker John Henry. • Because of the unrest and dissension between New England the Republican administration, offered to recognize New England as a separate political entity—detach itself from the United States and became part of British Canada—many frustrated New Englanders threatened secession if Madison did not stop all bellicosity with Great Britain—these letters were disseminated to the public mostly the War Hawk congress.
• In all fairness to the New Englanders, no one truly considered joining Canada; however, the threat of secession appeared very real. • It made the Federalist look petty and conspiratorial. • Because of the apparent cabal, the ‘War Hawk’ westerners forced Pres. Madison to declare war on Great Britain—they were still pillaging American ships at sea—and worse, they were stirring the Indians to revolt on the western frontiers.
• The U.S. was woefully prepared to go to war. Jefferson’s parsimonious financial attitude had whittled the Army down to around 7500 men scattered and woefully supplied for war. • Jefferson had whittled the federal budget to level unsustainable to prosecute a war. • Jefferson had also whittled the navy down to 16 ships—all Frigates and Sloops—not one Ship of the Line. It was an humiliating war for America.
• As far as Military results, General William Hull surrendered Detroit; • General Stephen Van Renssalaer invaded Canada, but because of dissension between Regular Army and State Militia hierarchy—he was forced to retreat—after a small victory; • General William Henry Harrison’s ex[edition to re-secure Fort Detroit met with massacre at the Raisin River, buy a combined force of British regulars, Indians and Canadian Militia.
• One of the few land victories turned into a black eye for the Americans; they invaded upper Canada captured York, but then went wild and burned the town and did not distinguish between ally or foe. • Actual American Victories were actually Naval battles—as a squadron not much success, but as individuals the Navy did fairly well— especially on Lake Erie. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry defeated a British flotilla—”We have met the enemy and they are ours …”
• Perry’s success on Lake Erie and the other Great lakes, he forced the British to evacuate Detroit. • Tecumseh had encouraged the British to join forces with him and his brother the ‘Prophet’ to fight the Americans and win back all the western lands they felt they had been cheated out of over the years. • Tecumseh had accumulated an alliance with other tribes to forgo the Whiteman’s ways, return to their native culture and ways—stop drinking etc … • Once returned to the Old Ways the Great Spirit would reward them with victory.
• Though the Indians created issues for the Americans, they defeated a combined force of Indians and British at the Battle of the Thames in Ohio; • They killed Tecumseh and used strips of his leg muscles for razor straps and souvenirs.
• "No tribe has the right to sell, even to each other, much less to strangers.... Sell a country! Why not sell the air, the great sea, as well as the earth? Didn't the Great Spirit make them all for the use of his children? • The way, the only way to stop this evil is for the red man to unite in claiming a common and equal right in the land, as it was first, and should be now, for it was never divided." • We gave them forest-clad mountains and valleys full of game, and in return what did they give our warriors and our women? Rum, trinkets, and a grave.
• Brothers -- My people wish for peace; the red men all wish for peace;but where the white people are, there is no peace for them, except it be on the bosom of our mother. Where today are the Pequot?
• Where today are the Narrangansett, the Mohican, the Pakanoket, and many other once powerful tribes of our people?
• They have vanished before the avarice and the oppression of the White Man, as snow before a summer sun." • It is better to die as men than to live slaves.
• In retribution for the Naval victories and Gen Jacob Brown’s victory in Canada, the British launched a counter invasion in 1814. • Admiral Cockburn raided the American coast and burned Washington; • Gen Prevost invaded New York—stopped at Plattsburg, but did much damage.
• The British, however, were stopped at Baltimore, Md. • They tried to bomb Fort McHenry into submission therefore controlling all the Chesapeake and Washington; • Here a Lawyer Francis Scott Key wrote the now famous National Anthem
• The American Navy though small and very much outnumbered gave a good accounting of itself; • The USS Constitution, The USS United States and the USS Essex all scored several victories against much bigger Ships of the Line. • Even the British admiralty acknowledged the seamanship and Naval savvy of the Americans …
• The War of 1812 is a comedy of errors with some success mixed in; • However, a personage emerges from all this chaos with a stellar reputation; • It is true that William Henry Harrison will also emerge successful and become President of the United States—But one man exceeds all others.
• Andrew Jackson was a South Carolinian who had early moved to the Tennessee territory, became a Lawyer, Judge, and General in the State Militia. (much about him later) • The Red Sticks (called this because Tecumseh had given allied tribes red sticks to prove they were part of the movement to destroy the white man and his ways) began
killing settlers on the frontier—the Georgia, Alabama and Florida border—without out diplomatic concern for the Spanish or the British, Jackson defeated the red Sticks at Horse Shoe Bend, invaded Florida and hung two British agitators.
• Jackson forced the Red Stick coalition to cede 22 million acres of land; • Upon hearing of the British threat to New Orleans Jackson forced marched his Tennessee militia to New Orleans; • There he defeated Gen Pakenham’s British Army—the same Army that had just defeated Napoleon at Waterloo
• Because of the European War the British were strapped for cash and inflation was running away. • Simply they were tired of war; The Americans also were tired of war—they had no money and the war loans were piling up; • Upon hearing the British might want to sue for terms, Madison sent Sec of State James Monroe and Henry Clay to Ghent Belgium— the British opened direct negotiations and what we got was the Treaty of Ghent.
• The Treaty of Ghent effectually ended the war; however, the effects of the treaty would be felt for another 40yrs. • As with the Revolution many Blacks fled their masters and sought refuge with the British; again the British offered promises of freedom if Blacks would abscond; • Again the British failed to live up to their promises; Blacks were sold into West Indian slavery, or after the war returned to their former masters; because of the mutual property clause in the Treaty of Ghent
• It was at the battle of New Orleans that many Blacks assumed because of Jackson’s actions that they would be afforded liberty in service to their country; • Jackson claimed it was nonsensical that America would not use Blacks to bolster the ranks of the army;
• He promised them equal treatment and equal bounty if they served and defended New Orleans; they fought bravely and was praised by Jackson.
• Though the War of 1812 did very little on the grand scheme, it did offer some insights that would plague America: • 1) Pres. Madison realized The U.S. truly needed a Federal Bank—depending on private loans was inefficient; • 2) America needed a better transportation system if it was to move commodities, Military and Commerce efficiently from the western frontier to the eastern markets; • 3) The issue of Slavery between North and South was becoming more than an annoyance.
• American began a coastal Fort building program and an internal infrastructure system such as Roads, Canals, Turnpikes and better waterways; • The Erie Canal was the largest success, but soon it was apparent that Railroads were the wave of the future; • Once again the issue was how and who was to pay for this “American System” labeled by Henry Clay.
• Though there was dissension, James Monroe succeeded Madison as President and ushered in the “Era Of Good Feelings.” Many Americans were becoming more independent and entrepreneurial; Songs and anthems were signifying America’s attitude of becoming truly independent from Great Britain. • Steam powered River boats such as the Clermont by Robert Fulton and railroads were booming, though the agrarian sector did not reap much of the reward from the industrial North—there were benefits and many Americans usually obstructed from capitalist advancement were now more open to advancement.
• Still mostly Rural, the Urban centers and population were exploding, mostly due to immigration. • The population was growing exponentially every ten years; • Many western settlers were not going to settle farm land or explore, but rather to begin cities and urban centers in the interior—such as Moses Cleveland, Cincinnati and Chicago.
• But for every Economic Boom, there is an economic Bust; The Panic of 1819 gave American a taste of capitalist ventures in a market global economy; • The British collapse of the cotton pricing index began a huge panic; Banks could not produce coin or specie, but could issue bank notes—it created a terrible inflationary rate; • Banks closed and western speculators and southern cotton farmers suffered the most.
• This Panic and Economic depression allowed the prominence of Andrew Jackson. • He believed it was the bank of the U.S. calling in its short term loans that created the panic; therefore he pledged to destroy the bank. • He came to prominence advocating universal white male suffrage and a government returned to the people; it would also began a running war between the Bank President Nicolas Biddle, Chief Justice John Marshall, and Andrew Jackson.
• Though popular government was growing, John Marshall and the Court remained a constraint on total liberal government. • The legal system began moving from the regulation of behavior to the protection of private property and contracts; • Lawyers became the “Shocktroops” of capitalism and John Marshall its greatest advocate—Marshall was determined that contracts and corporation be protected against frivolous avarice.
• A series of famous Legal cases began the precedent. • Marbury vs. Madison placed Judicial Review or interpretation of constitutionality square on the shoulders of the Supreme Court; • Martin vs. Hunter’s Lessee established the authority of the federal courts over the state courts. • McCullough vs. Maryland that the constitution is foundational—therefore it does have certain implied powers—therefore the federal government supersedes any state jurisdiction or pretended consent—and the Federal gov’t has implied powers over the states
• The previous cases implied jurisdictional powers of the government over the states. • Dartmouth College vs. Woodward prevented the state of individual from interfering with the College's Corporate Charter (The New Hampshire legislature tried to rewrite the colleges original charter making it more amenable to the state for appointing its own trustees), Marshall cited Article I section 10 of the
Constitution—therefore it was a contract and the states had no right to interfere
• Sturgis vs. Crowinshield struck down the New York State bankruptcy laws allowing debtors to escape their creditors relatively easy—this law also violate the impairment of contract laws authorized by the constitution—obligations must be met with all due diligence.
• Gibbons vs. Ogden This was a direct assault against the states interfering with interstate commerce—the constitution states that only the federal government has the authority to regulate commerce. • One state cannot give charter rights to any commercial company which will cross state lines and other states waterways—to maintain the fairness Doctrine only the Federal government had the authority to establish commerce crossing state lines or international borders—there must be free competition even within one’s own ports, bays, or Lakes. For instance, a tariff or tax must be competitive and equal to all, and all must have equity in establishing its commercial efforts—again contracts and federal government supersedes state law.
• Jefferson and the Old Republicans were startled at the growing power of the Old federalist and the New National republicans such as Henry Clay and John C. Calhoun and Daniel Webster. • They looked for a savior to their old root platform of “the least governed the best governed.” They needed to appeal to the new burgeoning Democratic majorities—the westerners, southerners and many common people—they looked to Andrew Jackson.