May 16, 2015
Perhaps Not a Real War?
Some historians have a difficult time even believing if the War of 1812 was even considered to be a real war. Perhaps this is due to the fact that it has never been totally regarded as one of the “great military achievements of the United States” (Haynes).
There were many issues that pertained to the war becoming a reality. One of the most obvious was that of seamen becoming “impressed” by England’s navy (Haynes). The British felt they could simply steal American seamen and forcibly place them into service upon their ships (Pratt). Under British law, the navy had the right to “sweep” British streets and basically arrest men and place them into naval service (Pratt). Supposedly, this was to happen only in times of war, but the British navy did it whenever there was a need for more naval seamen. Legally, foreigners were actually protected from impressment, but the British navy would stop vessels on the high seas supposedly searching for English sailors (Pratt). However, if any sailor could not provide documentation of their citizenship, they were often taken from the ships and pressed into the British navy. At the end of the Napoleonic wars, the British navy had only about 10,000 men. But the war of 1812, they had over 140,000 mainly due to impressment of their own men on British soil or those they simply took on the high seas (Pratt).
Other issues that made Americans want to go to war were issues in the South and West, although less affected by maritime problems, still were upsetting leading onward to conflict (Haynes). Some believed that France, Britain and Spain were indirectly helping Indian tribes subvert western expansion (Haynes). Additionally, the waterway system in the southwest played heavily on the minds of many residents. Even though the Louisiana Purchase gave a great deal to America, those living...