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Posted on April 27th, 2014, by

Hatred and deep hostility, violent, bloody war characterized the relations between England and the United States. The mutual bitterness was stronger because of the fact that the armed struggle, which began in 1775 between Britain and its 13 colonial provinces in America, was characterized by civil war. Second Anglo-American War, which was the expression of the struggle of English and American bourgeoisie for the North American continent, even more exacerbated hostility between the British and American ruling classes. When the U.S. Congress considered the issue of restoration of government buildings in Washington, one of the members of Congress proposed to keep for memory the ruins of burned buildings and make the inscription: “We swear eternal hatred to England.” The British bourgeoisie on the other hand called the Americans as “damn Yankees”[1].

Relations between Britain and the U.S. were characterized with extreme contradictions and disputes – sharp protests in the U.S. caused systematic violations of international law by Britain, repeated seizures of American ships, which was a flagrant violation of the U.S. sovereignty. On the other hand, certain bourgeois circles in England wanted to return the U.S. to the position of British colonies. These and many other contradictions led to confrontation and war, but still many historians can not accurately answer the question – what caused the war of 1812. Hickey Donald R. in his book The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict argues that the causes of the war are hidden in mystery[2]. One opinion is that the cause of war between England and the United States was the desire of the bourgeoisie and planters of the U.S. to seizure new territories on the one hand, and activities of the Britain aimed at undermining the U.S. economy and trade, on the other. But other authors emphasize the desire to conquer Canada and get additional farm land, and to put an end to British influence over American Indians[3].

But the important role in the declaration of war played expansionist ambitions of the U.S. leadership. It was hoped that during the Napoleonic wars that distracted the main forces of England, to expand the U.S. territory at the expense of Canada. By the remark of Martin A., in all three major wars that the United States had (in 1776, 1812 and 1861) one of the main goals of manufacturers of New England was invasion of Canada[4].

Before the War of 1812-1814, in the United States was formed a group of aggressive politicians. In Congress, the press and at meetings some politics called for expansion of U.S. territory and demanded to seize large areas. For example, a member of the House of Representatives Harper said: “The Creator of the world defined our border in the south of the Gulf of Mexico and in the north as the region of eternal cold.” Thus, preparing for the war of 1812, American expansionists dreamed to occupy not only the English Canada and Russian Alaska, but eastern Florida, Texas and Mexico. Justification put forward for that were different, sometimes mutually exclusive. If American expansionists (representatives of the bourgeoisie)  thought it was “absolutely necessary” to seize the lands of neighboring states to spread “American freedom”, that is, the power of capitalists, the other (slave owners) considered the main task as the spread  of slavery into new territories[5]. In 1812 the planters of the South dreamed of getting the whole Florida and other Spanish colonies. They joined the bourgeoisie of the western states, which was trying to capture Canada. Some significance in the development of the movement for annexation of Canada had the fact that the British supplied the arms from Canadian to Indian tribes, which revolted against the Americans.

In the spring of 1812 England was in a difficult position as it sent three hundred thousand army to Spain. Just at this time, the British abolished the decrees  about the detention of neutral ships that provoked much outrage . But even before this news reached Washington, the Congress declared war to Britain of June 18, 1812 . The message of President Madison had the following reasons for the war: 1)the seizure of American sailors and  ships by the British , 2) the blockade, and 3) support of the Indian hostile actions by the British[6] .

[1] Todd  A.,The War of 1812, 2000

[2] Hickey  Donald R., The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict, 1

[3] Hickey , The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict, 1


[4] Marrin, A., 1812, the War Nobody Won

[5] Todd A., The War of 1812, 2000

[6] Turner, Wesley B., The War of 1812: The War That Both Sides Won, 35

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