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The war of 1812 and the Push
Towards Nationalism
Themes of the Chapter
War of 1812
Hartford Convention
Nationalism / Era of Good Feelings
American System
Missouri Compromise
Supreme Court expands power of Fed Gov’t
U.S. Land Expansion & Monroe Doctrine
War: On
to Canada.
The Three
of 1812 all
• US Navy during the war of 1812
– US had fewer, but better ships
– US had several important ships
(especially the Constitution – “Old
Ironsides”) with thick sides and better
guns than Britain
– Admiral Perry will secure control of the
Great Lakes in 1813 battle on Lake Erie.
“We have met the enemy and
they are ours”
• In 1814 Napoleon losses in Europe thus
allowing Britain to concentrate on the
American War.
• Britain sets up a naval blockade over the
entire eastern Atlantic Coast which proves
quite effective.
• English forces march down from Canada to
attack New York but are stopped thus
preventing possible secession hoped for by
• August 1814 – British march on Washington
– DC was burned (including the Capitol and the
White House)
– In Sept. British naval forces attack Fort McHenry
(Baltimore) but Americans refuse to surrender,
despite heavy bombardment by British ships
– During battle Francis Scott Key writes “The Star
Spangled Banner” as he watches battle as
prisoner on British ship
The War in 1814
– January 8, 1815 – British made mistake of a
frontal assault on entrenched US troops
• Lost 2,000 men in 1/2 an hour (compared to 70
for the US)
– Battle fought 2 weeks after the Treaty of Ghent
had been signed, ending the war
– Effects of the battle:
• Jackson became national hero
• US nationalism and pride increased by victory
over the British who are world’s leading power
• December 24, 1814 – Treaty of Ghent
(negotiated in Belgium)
–Neither side had defeated the other;
neither side could impose its will on
the other but agree to stop fighting
–Nothing done about US grievances for
which war had been fought, including:
• British arming of the Indians
• British violations on sea (seizing US
ships, impressments of US soldiers)
• December 15, 1814 – January 5, 1815 – the
Hartford Convention takes place in secret
– Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island,
New Hampshire, Vermont sent representatives
(the last of the Federalist strongholds)
– A few radicals talked of secession, but actual
demands were moderate
– Demands (end 3/5ths, outlaw embargoes) sent
to Washington but arrive same time as Ghent
Treaty and thus go no where.
– Last gasp by the Federalists
Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Rhode Island Contemplate Abandoning
the Union and Leaping into the Waiting Arms of George III
Results of the War of 1812
Indians are deserted by the British and forced to
make peace and give up huge tracts of land
north of the Ohio River
– Harrison and Jackson become famous as
warriors and will become Presidents
–Increased nationalism and
decreased sectionalism
– Foreign nations begin to respect U.S.
• Continued conflict on the US-Canadian border
– Canadians expected the US to attempt
invasion again
– Led to a small naval arms race on the Great
Lakes after war
– Ended with the Rush-Bagot Treaty
(1817) which limited naval warships on the
Great Lakes
– Better relations with Canada led to a long
demilitarized border by 1870s
The Birth of Nationalism
America emerged from war as 1 nation and
begins to develop its national culture
– 1820s – internationally recognized authors,
using American settings and themes
– School textbooks had been British; now they
were written in America
– Painters painted American landscapes
• Government and nationalism
– Bank of the United States was re-chartered in
1816 (after being disbanded in 1811)
– Washington, DC was rebuilt
– The army was expanded to 10,000 men
– 1815 – Navy beats pirates in Mediterranean
– Tariff of 1816 passed which put a 20% – 25%
rate on imports
–Development of American System
(Henry Clay)
–Transportation, Tariffs, Banking
Erie Canal
Paid for by
Funds not
Cumberland (National) Road and Main
Connections Bring People West
• 1819 – an economic panic brought
deflation, bankruptcies, bank failures,
unemployment, and debtors’ prisons
(resulting in their being abolished)
– First panic since Washington had taken office
• Why the panic occurred
– Largest cause was over speculation in land in west
– The Bank of the US had helped cause this through
easy lending and speculating itself
• Impact of the depression
– Nationalism declined and West hurt the most
• Bank of the US forced western banks (built
on speculation) to pay debts owed to the
Bank of the US
• The West came to see the Bank of the US
as evil
– Poor people eventually became part of
Andrew Jackson’s constituency
• The West weak politically so it had to ally itself
with other sections (North and South)
– Demanded cheap land, cheap
transportation, cheap money
– The Land Act of 1820 – authorized buying
80 acres at $1.25 per acre ($15.05 in 2005
– Cheap money issued by local (“wildcat”)
banks; westerners fought the power of the
Bank of the US for cheap money
Slavery becomes an issue
• 1819 – Missouri requested admission as a slave
– North and South both had 11 states allowing
for equality in the Senate
• South could stop Northern effort to stop
expansion of slavery (example:
Tallmadge Amendment)
The Missouri Compromise of 1820
• 3 compromises worked out (primarily by
Henry Clay, representative from Kentucky)
– Admit Missouri as a slave state
– Maine (which had been part of
Massachusetts) admitted as a free state
– Slavery prohibited North of the 36° 30’
line except for Missouri
The Missouri Compromise, 1820–1821
Marshall and Judicial Nationalism
• McCulloch v. Maryland (1819)
– Attempt by Maryland to tax a branch of the
Bank of the US
– Marshall ruled a state could not tax an agency
of the federal government (the Bank)
• “the power to tax involves the power
to destroy”
– Marshall declared bank constitutional, using
the doctrine of “implied powers”
• Cohens v. Virginia (1821)
– The Supreme Court upheld Cohens’ state
conviction for illegal lottery ticket sales
– Marshall asserted right of Supreme Court to
review decisions of state supreme courts in
questions involving powers of federal
• Gibbons v. Ogden (1824)
– Marshall ruled only Congress could regulate
interstate commerce
– Struck down the New York monopoly, opening
commerce to other companies
• Fletcher v. Peck (1810)
– The Georgia granted 35 million acres in Mississippi
area to speculators then cancelled the transaction
– Marshall ruled grant was a contract and
Constitution forbid state laws that would
“impair” contracts
• the Supreme Court has power to invalidate
state laws conflicting with the Constitution
• Dartmouth College v. Woodward (1819)
– College granted a charter by King George in 1769
– The New Hampshire legislature changes charter
– Marshall ruled that the original charter stands
because Constitution protected contracts against
infringement by states
• John Marshall
–Increased power of federal
–Created a stable, nationally uniform
environment where business could
do well
–Decreased power of elected state
legislatures, in spite of the national
mood in favor of greater democracy
America Seeks to Expand
• Treaty of 1818 with Britain
– Northern limits of Louisiana Purchase set at
the 49th parallel
– 10-year joint occupation of Oregon country;
under this agreement, Britain and the US did
not give up their claims to Oregon
– 1818 – Jackson marched into Florida on
pretext of looking for slaves hidden by Indians.
He then deposed the Spanish governor
• Jackson escapes punishment for disobeying
orders and Spain’s weakness is revealed
• The Florida Purchase Treaty of 1819
– Spain ceded Florida to the US and gave up
claims to Oregon
– US gave up claims to Texas
– The line between Mexico and Louisiana was
drawn up to the 42nd parallel, and then to
the Pacific Ocean, dividing Oregon from
U.S.-British Boundary Settlement, 1818
The Southeast, 1810-1819
The West
• Monroe Doctrine (1823)
– What Europe held in South American they could
keep, but they could not take more
• Also directed against Russian expansion
– Non-intervention
• Warned Europe to not interfere with new Latin
American republics
• The US would not intervene in war Greece was
fighting against Turkey
• Deepened the illusion of isolationism from
A “Live Wire”