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Causes and Outcome of the War of 1812

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    The War of 1812


                Among the numerous wars fought by America, the War of 1812 is one such war which has been viewed by different historians through varied perspectives. In the book The War of 1812: A Short History, Donald Hickey throws light on the various causes and outcome of the War of 1812. He details the events which led to the war and also attempts to bring forth the reasons, owing to which the Americans failed to hold their power against the British troops. The author emphasizes on the deteriorating trade relations between America and England while citing the various causes of the war. The author states that the differences that emerged between America and Britain because of the conflicts related to trade among these nations, resulted in the War of 1812.

    Proving the Claim

                The author succeeds in proving his claim that the conflicts arising owing to the trade relations between America and England led to the War of 1812. He supports his claim by elaborating the events that were responsible for the building of resentment among the Americans towards the British. The war erupted in 1812 but the factors that caused the war evolved over a long period of time. Donald Hickey describes the circumstances which compelled America to attack England. Among the various causes that brought America and England in conflict with each other, the author highlights the policy of British concerning with the impressments of American seamen. “To fill out their crews, British warships periodically stopped American merchant vessels on the high seas and impressed or drafted seamen into British Service.” (Hickey 7). The number of Americans serving in the British ships was considerably large. And when the Americans demanded for the release of their impressed citizens, the British agreed to the demand but they ensured that the impressed Americans were released only after a long period of time. “British officials were willing to release impressed Americans, but only after satisfactory proof of their citizenship had been delivered through diplomatic channels, a process that would take years.” (Hickey 7). This act of the British angered America, as their citizens were forced to serve the British. The impressed Americans were enforced to face the perils of war not for the sake of their native country but for the British.

                In addition to the impressments of Americans, the author also points out the other cause of war and that was related to the acts of infringements committed by the British. The British entered the naval territories of America and also attempted to hamper their trade relations with other countries. “They periodically interfered with America’s lucrative trade with the West Indies and often violated American territorial waters, searching and seizing American vessels within the three-mile limit.” (Hickey 7). Although America was troubled by the British through such acts, the British made an attempt to solve these problems in a peaceful way by proposing the Monroe-Pinkney Treaty. But America refused to accept the treaty and this refusal deepened the conflict, further straining the relations between these two nations.

                The author focuses on trade relations while analyzing the causes of War of 1812 and he explains how these trade relations influenced the political relations of America and England. As America attempted to save its rights from the infringing British, the economic conditions in America began to deteriorate leading to the onset of the war. When America banned trade with England and France, the ban had a negative impact on American economy. “Instead, they boomeranged on the United States, undermining its prosperity and depriving the federal government of much needed revenue from trade…The effect on the American economy was disastrous.” (Hickey 9). Along with the conflicts in trade relations, the British attack on American ships further created problems between America and England. Trade was vital for the American economy and when the British attempted to yield its power on the trade relations of America with other countries, America was constrained to take action against the British. But America failed to resolve its conflicts with the British through peaceful means, in spite of the fact that they were given an opportunity by the British to do so. The events mentioned by the author verify his claim that the differences in the trade relations between America and England led to the War of 1812.


                The author presents his arguments and supports his claims by mentioning events which authenticate his thesis. The author’s arguments are good enough to convince one that the trade relations between America and England gave rise to conflicts, and these conflicts resulted in the War of 1812. The author describes the events and then goes on to bring forth the impact it had on the relations of these two countries. Each event mentioned by the author was significant, as one event led to another leading to a war-like situation.  The war was the result of a series of events which occurred over a long period of time. The author bases his arguments on these developments which are ignored by numerous people while analyzing the causes of the War of 1812.  The book The War of 1812: A Short History by Donald Hickey encompasses various factors that were responsible for the War of 1812. But the major factor, according to Hickey, was the conflicts in the trade relations. The author succeeds in proving his point by providing historical facts and happenings which support his claim.

    Works Cited

    Hickey, Donald. The War of 1812: A Short History. University of Illinois Press. 1995.


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