War Of 1812

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Some historians claim that the War of 1812 was "rash and unnecessary" for the United States. Evaluate causes of the war and show it it was or was not "rash and unnecessary." Discuss the outcome of the war and if it was or was not beneficial to the United States.

The first origins of the war were seizure of American ships, insults and injuries to American seamen by the British Navy, and rapid expansion of the American frontier. There were two forms of the British outrages. One was the seizure and forced sale of merchant ships and their cargoes for supposedly violating the British blockade of Europe. Although France had declared a counter-blockade of the British Islands and had taken American ships, England was the chief offender because its Navy had greater command over the seas. The second, more insulting, type of outrage was the capture of men from American vessels for forced service in the Royal Navy.

The reason for the captures was that they were looking for deserters, who, the British claimed, had taken employment on American vessels.

The reaction in the United States to impressments differed from that aroused by the seizure of ships and cargoes. The people of the eastern seaboard vigorously protested and demanded naval protection, but rather than risk having their profitable trade cut off by war with England they were willing to take an occasional loss of cargo. But impressments presented no financial problems to the ship owners, whatever the consequences for the unfortunate seamen, and the main interests tended to minimize it.

To the country the seizure of American seamen was much more serious than the loss of some of flour or molasses. When a British naval ship in June 1807 attacked and disabled the USS Chesapeake and seized a few...