The War of 1812 - a Second War for Independence?

Essay by jacie_taylorHigh School, 11th gradeA+, February 2006

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On June 18, 1812, the United States declared war on Britain. This declaration was the result of almost thirty years of stormy relations between the two nations subsequent to the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1783. This treaty ended the Revolutionary War and established the United States as a nation; however, it did not guarantee that Europe would respect its rights or neutrality. The "second war for independence" is the term that historians have appropriately coined for this war. It provided opportunity for Americans to defend their freedom and honor in the face of European disrespect and mistreatment, and created a more unified and respected nation.

Britain was still indirectly overpowering the colonies, and they were losing their independence. In order for Great Britain and the United States to have gotten along, they would have had to both maintain their neutrality; this agreement was not upheld by Britain.

The Napoleonic Empire in Britain was capturing American merchant trading ships and claiming them as "deserters" of British troops and throwing them in jail. Over 1500 American vessels were captured. This upset the United States and they decided to go to war and try to overtake Canada. Britain came back at an unfair soft spot by burning down the monumental white house that represented the new nation's independence, thus creating a point of no return. Not to mention that the British had violated their own treaty they had signed only thirty years prior. Article 6 in the Treaty of Paris reads:

That there shall be no future confiscations made nor any prosecutions commenced against any person or persons for, or by reason of, the part which he or they may have taken in the present war, and that no person shall on that account suffer any future loss or...