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The War of 1812
The War of 1812
would last from
1812-1814 and
would see the United
States take on the
British empire for the
second and final time
in a war.
Causes of the War of 1812
Napoleonic Wars
• By 1812 the Napoleonic Wars
or the war France fought with
Napoleon Bonaparte, had been
waging in Europe since 1803.
• Jefferson, like Presidents
before him, tried to avoid
involvement in the problems of
other nations, like this on-going
war between Britain and
• By 1805, however, the
British began to clamp
down and interfered with
U.S. shipping.
• The British treated U.S.
merchant ships as if
they were still part of the
British Empire, telling
them where they could
go and where they
• Basically Britain ruled
the seas and bullied
American ships.
Foreign Trade
• Britain also interfered with U.S. shipping by
impressment—the kidnapping of American
sailors to work on British ships.
• The British wanted every sailor they could get to
fight Napoleon’s Navy.
• One of the most
outrageous actions the
British took was against
the U.S. Navy frigate
• In 1807, the British ship
HMS Leopard attacked
the USS Chesapeake
near Norfolk Virginia and
Impressed four U.S.
sailors. Jefferson ordered
all British ships out of
American waters and
The Chesapeake fought in the
War of 1812 but was captured by
the British.
"Don't give up the ship", the dying command of James
Lawrence in 1813 aboard the USS Chesapeake
• Jefferson and Congress passed Embargo Act of 1807
the Embargo Act of 1807 to stop
all foreign trade.
• The act prohibited U.S. ships from
sailing to and trading with foreign
• This act almost destroyed the
U.S. economy.
• Farmers, Industry, and Merchants
alike depended on trade.
• It was described as “Cutting one’s
throat to deal with a nose bleed”
• Congress repealed the embargo This "O-Grab-Me" cartoon
expressed Americans disdain for
in 1809.
the Act. The Turtle represents the
Act and the trade is holding a barrel
of sugar.
• Tecumseh, a Shawnee
chief, said the land could
not be sold without the
consent of all tribes.
• He believed that the tribes
needed to work together to
stop land loss to American
• Many Native Americans
began to follow Tecumseh
and his holy-man brother
and form an alliance.
Tecumseh’s War
• Tecumseh and his tribes
led raids on American
settlers all throughout the
Ohio River Valley.
• American’s believe the
British were behind these
• The British Canadians
made lots of money of the
fur trade with Indians and
didn’t want to see that
stop or be given to the
Battle of Tippecanoe
• Then, in November 1811,
U.S. forces defeated the
Indians at the Battle of
• William Henry Harrison
led the U.S. to victory in
the Battle.
• Tecumseh and his
followers fled to Canada,
where the British
welcomed them.
• Americans became
increasingly angry over
British interference.
Harrison would
run and be
elected President
with his running
mate John Tyler in
His slogan was
“Tippecanoe and
Tyler too!”
War Hawks
• Westerners called War Hawks
demanded that Congress declare war
on Britain.
• President James Madison argued to
increase the size of the Army and
Navy (this was ignored, the militia
system was still popular)
• On June 18, 1812, war was declared.
• Chief among the War Hawks were
Henry Clay. Most of them came from
the west and the north, areas near the
frontier that would benefit from a
British defeat.
James Madison
Henry Clay
A war in two parts
• The War of 1812 had two main phases.
• From 1812 to 1814, Britain concentrated
on its war against Napoleon.
• After Britain defeated France in 1814,
British leaders turned their attention to the
United States and did some serious
The U.S. Military
• When the war began, the
United States military was
weak. It was small, poorly
supplied, and had ineffective
• Fortunately, the Navy’s
warships fought well in the
• The USS Constitution and
the USS United States won
early victories that
encouraged the public.
Battle for Lake Erie
The most important U.S. naval
victory took place on Lake Erie.
In September 1813, a British
force attacked American ships
commanded by Oliver Hazard
Perry on the lake.
Perry won the battle and
famously said in a message,
“We have met the enemy and
they are ours.”
The Battle of the Thames and
Victory in the West
• After Lake Erie General William Henry Harrison
defeated the British at the Battle of the Thames near
• This victory ended the British threat in the Northwest
and also claimed the life of Tecumseh who died
fighting for the British.
Because of his leadership and
fighting ability, Tecumseh is one of
the more celebrated Native
Americans of all time
• In 1814, Napoleon
is defeated after he
invaded Russia
and is forced into
exile. The British
now send their
battle hardened
troops to deal with
Rule #1 in warfare, DON’T INVADE RUSSIA!
The Burning of Washington D.C.
• A British Army landed
south of the Capital and
defeated an American
army at the The Battle of
Bladensburg. They then
marched to Washington
DC where they burned the
capital and the White
House, looting the city.
• It has been called "the
greatest disgrace ever
dealt to America”