While the war not declared until late June 1812, the United States government had been actively making preparations for the outbreak of war.
In early 1812 the Congress passed a law actively calling for volunteers for the U. Army, which had remained fairly small in the years following independence.
Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article. Although neither Britain nor France initially accepted the U. The British weren’t eager for another conflict, having fought Napoleon for the better part of the previous 20 years, but weren’t fond of American commercial support of the French either.
Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work! It ended with the exchange of ratifications of the Treaty of Ghent. S.’s neutral rights to trade with the other—and punished U. ships for trying to do so—France had begun to temper its intransigence on the issue by 1810. The divisions in American sentiment about the war similarly split, oftentimes along geographic lines: New Englanders, particularly seafaring ones, were against it.
And there was a common, though deeply misguided, belief that it would be easy to achieve.
(Once the war began, American actions along the Canadian border tended to be frustrating at best, and Americans never came close to conquering the British territory.) Following the message sent by President Madison, the United States Senate and the House of Representatives held votes on whether to go to war.Though patriotism often ran high, and was boosted by some of the successes of the underdog U. Navy, the general feeling in some parts of the country, particularly New England, was that the war had been a bad idea.As it became obvious that the war would be costly and might prove to be impossible to win militarily, the desire to find a peaceful end to the conflict intensified.And given the slowness of communication, some American ships in the early summer of 1812 attacked British ships whose commanders had not yet learned of the official outbreak of the war.Even before the fighting began, opposition to the war caused major problems.Representing the views of Americans living in the West, Clay believed that war with Britain would not only restore American prestige, it would also provide a great benefit to the country—an increase in territory.An openly stated goal of the western War Hawks was for the United States to invade and seize Canada.But the Embargo Act was generally seen as a failed policy, as turned out to be more damaging to United States' interests than to its intended targets, Britain and France.When James Madison (served 1809–1817) became president in early 1809, he also sought to avoid war with Britain.American officials were eventually dispatched to Europe to work toward a negotiated settlement, the result of which was the Treaty of Ghent, signed December 24, 1814.However, in a realistic sense, the United States had proven itself to be an independent nation capable of defending itself.