A Costly War: The War Of 1812

1922 words - 8 pages

A Costly War
The Napoleonic Wars was a series of battles between France and Great Britain. Conflict that lasted over a decade included numerous countries that were ultimately fighting to conquer European Supremacy. Napoleon Bonaparte, ruler of England, conquered a vast majority of Europe’s land, before being brutally defeated during the Invasion of Russia in 1812. On the retreat France was meet with the Peninsula War and at Waterloo. As a result of being defeated at both wars and all land being conquered by the victors, this set the fall of Napoleon’s empire. Despite George Washington’s effort, in the Farewell Address, to keep Americans form intervening with European Alliances or “in other words – the United States should stay out of European political affairs,” (Phelps 4) the United States entered the Napoleonic Wars after numerous attacks on American naval ships and unarmed cargo ships. After a meeting with Madison and the “War Hawks’, “a group of congressmen particularly interested in securing land at the expense of Native Americans,” (Phelps 8) they led the country into the War of 1812.
Many think that the War of 1812 was the “second war of independence”(Axelrod 1) for the United States. Although America signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, after claiming victory over the British in the American Revolution, the United States struggled to protect their independency. Many European countries were very slow to give formal recognition to the United States. They would also put restrictions on trading with the United States, thus hurting our economy enormously. This led to an international campaign for free trade against countries like Britain, France, and Spain. These countries wanted to see “the new country broken up and reabsorbed into European colonial empires.”(Phelps 2) Quincy Adams, a pro-British Federalist, won the United States election in 1796. Adams worked extremely hard to keep America out of the French Revolution. Adams efforts made him very domestically unpopular, and in the election for president in 1800, the pro-French Federalist Thomas Jefferson won. While Jefferson was in office the relationship between France strengthened and the relations between Britain and United States deteriorated. Thomas Jefferson wanted to take international action, and his first big move, was to buy the Louisiana Purchase from the French. This deal with Napoleon nearly doubled the size of the United States. To stop the unfair trade tactics used against America by European countries, Jefferson “sent the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps overseas to try to stop the practice of paying the Barbary states—Tunis, Algiers, Tripoli, Morocco—for the privilege of conducting trade without harassment in the Mediterranean.”(Phelps 6) To the United States surprise, after an impressive military victory in 1805, the Americans actually worked out an agreement favorable to the United States. The harassment did not completely diminish between European countries and...

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