For 22 years, the
foreign policy of two Federalist presidents (Washington and Adams) and two
Democratic-Republican Presidents (Jefferson and Madison) had continued to focus on a
single aim--avoiding war with a European power while at the same time defending U.S.
neutral rights at sea.
Explain why the War of 1812 ended much as it had started--in stalemate. Include the immediate effects of the war in your answer.
Over and above these unjust pretensions of the British Government, for many years past
they have been in the practice of impressing our seamen, from merchant vessels; this
unjust and lawless invasion of personal liberty, calls loudly for the interposition of
this Government. My mind is irresistibly drawn to the West.
It cannot be believed by any man who will reflect, that the savage tribes, uninfluenced by other Powers, would think of making war on the United States. They understand too well their own weakness, and our strength. In only one way; some powerful nation must have intrigued with them, and turned their peaceful disposition toward us into hostilities. Great Britain alone has intercourse with those Northern tribes; I therefore infer, that if British gold has not been employed, their baubles and trinkets, and the promise of support and a place of refuge if necessary, have had their effect.
Sir, if you go to war it will not be for the protection of, of defence of your maritime
rights. Agrarian cupidity, not maritime right, urges the war. Ever since the report of the
Committee on Foreign Relations came into the House, we have heard but one word-- like the
whip-poor-will, but one eternal monotonous tone-- Canada! Canada! Canada!
It is to
acquire a prepondering nothern influence, that you are the launch into war.
British cruisers have been in the continued practice of violating the American flag on the
great highway of nations, and of seizing and carrying off persons sailing under it, not in
the exercise of a belligerent right founded on the law of nations against an enemy
Against this crying enormity, which Great Britain would be so prompt to avenge if committed against herself, the United States have in vain exhausted remonstrances and expostulations The communication passed without effect.
To the most insulting pretensions they have added the most lawless proceedings in our very harbors, and have wantonly split American blood within the sanctuary of our territorial jurisdiction
Such is the spectacle of injuries and indignities which have been heaped on our country, and such the crisis which its unexampled forbearance and conciliatory efforts have not been able to avert.
Before we take the step proposed by the bill before us [war], I think we ought also to
make some calculation on the general state of the nation. Except some trifling Indian war,
it will be recollected we have been twenty-nine years at peace, and have become a nation,
in a great degree, of active moneymakers. We have lost much of the spirit of war and
chivalry possessed by our Revolutionary fathers; and we are a people, also, not overfond
of paying taxes to the extent of our ability; and this because our purses have been
sweated down by our restrictive system till they have become light
I do not, Mr. President, draw all these discouraging pictures, or relate these lamentable facts, because I would shrink from the conflicts or terrors of war, for the defense of the rights of my injured country, sooner than any gentleman of this Senate, nor with a wish that all these evils may be realized; my object is to avert them from my country prematurely into war without any of the means of making the war terrible to ourselves, or at least to our merchants, our seaports, and cities.
in enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America and
Congress assembled. That no ship or vessel, owned in whole or part by a citizen or
citizens of the United States, shall be permitted to clear out or depart from any port- or
place within the limits of the United States or territories thereof to any foreign port or
place, till the owner or owners, agent, or factor, freighter, master or commander shall
have given bond, with sufficient security, in the amount of such ship or vessel and cargo,
not to proceed to or trade with the enemies of the United States. And if any ship or
stroll depart from any port or place within the limits of the United States or
such ship or vessel, and cargo, shall be forfeited to the use of
the United States; and
shall severally forfeit and pay a sum equal to the value of
such ship or vessel and cargo.
Approved by Congress: July 6, 1812
it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in
Congress assembled, that, during the present war with Britain, it shall be lawful for any
person or persons to burn, sink, or destroy, any British armed vessel of war, except
vessels coming as cartels or flags of truce; and for that purpose to use torpedoes,
submarine instruments, or any other destructive machine whatever: and a bounty of one half
the value of the armed vessels so burnt, sunk, or destroyed, and also one half the value
of her guns, cargo, tackle, and apparel, shall be paid out of the treasury of the United
States to such a person or persons who shall effect the same, otherwise than by the armed
or commissioned vessels of the United States.
Approved by Congress: March 3, 1813