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James Madison Begins the War of 1812

James Madison Begins the War of 1812

The War of 1812 Begins. Who Started It? Why? And What was the Outcome?

In 1805, Napoleon suffered a set-back when his combined Franco-Spanish fleet was defeated at the Battle of Trafalgar. Conquering across Europe, Napoleon invaded Russia in June of 1812 with 500,000 men. Six month later he retreated with only 50,000. The Napoleonic Wars resulted in an estimated 6 million military and civilians deaths across Europe. Napoleon&rsquos power waned till he was exiled to the Island of Elba.

Britain was now the most powerful nation in the world.

Napoleon had made an interesting observation: &ldquoWhen a government is dependent upon bankers for money, they and not the leaders of the government control the situation, since the hand that gives is above the hand that takes. Money has no motherland financiers are without patriotism and without decency their sole object is gain.&rdquo

In 1811, James Madison refused to recharter the Bank of the United States. Powerful British financiers reportedly owned two-thirds of the bank&rsquos stock.

British Prime Minister William Pitt had stated: &ldquoLet the American people go into their debt-funding schemes and banking systems, and from that hour their boasted independence will be a mere phantom.&rdquo

Jefferson described the Bank of the United States &ldquoas a machine for the corruption of the legislature.&rdquo Tensions with Britain escalated culminating in the outbreak of the War of 1812 on June 18, 1812.

James Madison wrote, Sept. 20, 1814: &ldquoThe capture of nearly a thousand American vessels and the impressment of thousands of American seafaring citizens &hellip by the government of Great Britain. &hellip Our beloved country &hellip persevering hostility &hellip must carry with it the good wishes of the impartial world and the best hopes of support from an Omnipotent and Kind Providence.&rdquo

The British backed Indian terrorists attacks on American settlements by supporting Shawnee leader Tecumseh. James Madison told Congress, March 9, 1812: &ldquoThe British Government, through &hellip a secret agent &hellip was employed &hellip fomenting disaffection &hellip and in intrigues with the disaffected, for the purpose of &hellip destroying the Union. &hellip The discovery of such a procedure &hellip will not fail to render more dear to the hearts of all good citizens that happy union of these States which, under Divine Providence, is the guaranty of their liberties.&rdquo

Shawnee Chief Tecumseh, being armed by the British, formed a confederation of Indian tribes across a thousand-mile frontier. Incited by Tecumseh, the Red Stick Creek Indians attacked Fort Mims, Alabama, on Aug. 30, 1813. Driven by rumors the British were paying cash for scalps, the Red Sticks killed over 500 men, women and children in the largest Indian massacre in American history.

Outraged Americans volunteered, including Davy Crockett, Sam Houston and Daniel Boone, though Boone was turned down, being age 78.

In a proclamation of war, June 19, 1812, President James Madison stated: &ldquoI do moreover exhort all the good people of the United States &hellip as they feel the wrongs which have forced on them the last resort of injured nations &hellip to consult the best means under the blessing of Divine Providence of abridging its calamities.&rdquo

On June 1, 1812, President James Madison told Congress: &ldquoWe behold &hellip on the side of Great Britain a state of war. &hellip Whether the United States shall continue passive under these progressive usurpations and these accumulating wrongs &hellip shall commit a just cause into the hands of the Almighty Disposer of Events.&rdquo

The British had captured Maine&rsquos cities of Eastport, Castine, Hampden, Bangor and Machias. A Second Great Awakening Revival swept America. President Madison, who had introduced the First Amendment in the first session of Congress, proclaimed a Day of Public Humiliation and Prayer, July 9, 1812: &ldquoA day, to be set apart for the devout purpose of rendering the Sovereign of the Universe and the Benefactor of mankind the public homage due to His holy attributes of acknowledging the transgressions which might justly provoke the manifestations of His divine displeasure of seeking His merciful forgiveness, and His assistance in the great duties of repentance &hellip and especially of offering fervent supplications that in the present season of calamity and war He would take the American people under His peculiar care and protection.&rdquo

Madison stated, Nov. 4, 1812: &ldquoThe war in which we are actually engaged in &hellip was preceded by a patience without example under wrongs accumulating without end. &hellip Appeal was accordingly made &hellip to the Just and All-powerful Being who holds in His hand the chain of events and the destiny of nations. &hellip We prosecute the war with united counsels &hellip until peace be so obtained &hellip under the Divine blessing.&rdquo

On Feb. 24, 1813, Madison told Congress: &ldquoGreat Britain had already introduced into her commerce during the war &hellip a mass of forgery and perjury &hellip making an unfortunate progress in undermining those principles of morality and religion which are the best foundation of national happiness. &hellip The general tendency of these demoralizing and disorganizing contrivances will be reprobated by the civilized and Christian world.&rdquo

On March 4, 1813, President Madison stated: &ldquoI should be compelled to shrink if I &hellip felt less deeply a conviction that the war with a powerful nation &hellip is stamped with that justice which invites the smiles of Heaven on the means of conducting it to a successful termination.&rdquo

On May 25, 1813, in a special session message to Congress, Madison stated: &ldquoThe contest in which the United States are engaged appeals &hellip to the sacred obligation of transmitting entire to future generations that precious &hellip independence which is held in trust by the present from the goodness of Divine Providence.&rdquo

On July 23, 1813, Madison proclaimed a National Day of Public Humiliation and Prayer: &ldquoIn times of public calamity such as that of the war &hellip it is especially becoming that the hearts of all should be &hellip turned to that Almighty Power in whose hands are the welfare and the destiny of nations &hellip for &hellip He has blessed the United States with a political Constitution founded on the will and authority of the whole people and guaranteeing to each individual security, not only of his person and his property, but of those sacred rights of conscience so essential to his present happiness and so dear to his future hopes &hellip that He would pardon our manifold transgressions and awaken and strengthen in all the wholesome purposes of repentance &hellip so He would &hellip bestow His blessings on our arms in resisting the hostile. &hellip If the public homage of a people can ever be worthy of the favorable regard of the Holy and Omniscient Being to whom it is addressed, it must be that in which those who join in it are guided only by their free choice, by the impulse of their hearts and the dictates of their consciences &hellip that religion, that gift of Heaven for the good of man, freed from all coercive edicts &hellip and making no appeal but to reason, to the heart, and to the conscience, can spread its benign influence everywhere and can attract to the divine altar those freewill offerings of humble supplication.&rdquo

The British attacked on Lake Erie. On Dece. 7, 1813, Madison stated: &ldquoIt has pleased the Almighty to bless our arms both on the land and on the water. &hellip On Lake Erie, the squadron under the command of Captain Perry having met the British squadron of superior force, a sanguinary conflict ended in the capture of the whole. &hellip We may humbly repose our trust in the smiles of Heaven on so righteous a cause.&rdquo

The British invaded the U.S. Capitol on Aug. 25, 1814. Fires were set and flames engulfed the White House, the Department of War building, the Library of Congress, the Treasury, the Supreme Court, and the Navy Yard. The Patent Office office was the only government building untouched. President James Madison was directing troops and Dolley Madison had to flee the White House.

On Sept. 1, 1814, in a proclamation after the British invaded the Capitol, Madison stated: &ldquoThe enemy by a sudden incursion has succeeded in invading the capitol of the nation. &hellip During their possession &hellip though for a single day only, they wantonly destroyed the public edifices. &hellip An occasion which appeals so forcibly to the &hellip patriotic devotion of the American people, none will forget. The glory acquired by &hellip fathers in establishing the independence &hellip is now to be maintained by their sons with the &hellip strength and resources &hellip Heaven had blessed them.&rdquo

A few weeks later, on Sept. 13, 1814, the British bombarded Fort McHenry, as Francis Scott Key wrote of &ldquobombs bursting in air.&rdquo

On Nov. 16, 1814, Madison proclaimed a National Day of Public Humiliation, Fasting and Prayer: &ldquoThe two Houses of the National Legislature having by a joint resolution expressed their desire that in the present time of public calamity and war a day may be recommended to be observed by the people of the United States as a Day of Public Humiliation and Fasting and of Prayer to Almighty God for the safety and welfare of these States, His blessing on their arms, and a speedy restoration of peace. &hellip I have deemed it proper &hellip to recommend &hellip a day of &hellip voluntarily offering &hellip humble adoration to the Great Sovereign of the Universe, of confessing their sins and transgressions, and of strengthening their vows of repentance.&rdquo

The British attacked New Orleans. When the war ended, President James Madison addressed Congress, Feb. 18, 1815: &ldquoI lay before Congress copies of the treaty of peace &hellip between the United States and His Britannic Majesty. &hellip We accord in grateful acknowledgments for the protection which Providence has bestowed upon us.&rdquo

On March 4, 1815, President Madison proclaimed a National Day of Thanksgiving: &ldquoTo be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnity as a day of thanksgiving and of devout acknowledgments to Almighty God for His great goodness manifested in restoring to them the blessing of peace. No people ought to feel greater obligations to celebrate the goodness of the Great Disposer of Events and of the Destiny of Nations than the people of the United States. &hellip To the same Divine Author of Every Good and Perfect Gift we are indebted for all those privileges and advantages, religious as well as civil, which are so richly enjoyed in this favored land &hellip especially for the restoration of the blessing of peace.&rdquo

From ZeroHedge:
There were two major reasons given for the war.

  1. First, Britain was at war with France since 1793. For twenty years the British claimed they had the right &ndash as a legitimate and necessary wartime measure &mdash to intercept American ships on the high seas, seize and keep their cargoes, and search the crews for British navy deserters. The British between 1807 and 1812 seized some 400 American ships and cargoes worth millions of dollars.
  2. Second, was the British practice of &lsquoimpressment&rsquo. A chronic manpower shortage in the Royal Navy led the Brits to stop American merchant vessels on the high seas and remove seamen. Between 1803 and 1812 the Brits captured an estimated six to nine THOUSAND Americans in its dragnet. These men were subjected to all the horrors of British naval discipline&mdashenforced with the cat-o&rsquo-nine-tails&mdashand made to fight a war that was not their own.

America felt this violated its rights as a neutral and sovereign nation. So, we declared war against the Brits in 1812.

Many &lsquoconspiracy&rsquo websites erroneously assert that Britain started the war at Nathan Rothchild&rsquos behest, but that is not the case. The Rothschild&rsquos manipulate conditions that cause war, but would never openly call for war as is often contended for this particular war. Did they manipulate the condiitons that led to the War of 1812 only months after the 20 year bank charter had expired? Probably so, but we are left without much proof.

BRITISH: IMPRESSMENT, 1800s. Bound American seamen forced to leave their ship and board a British vessel prior to the War of 1812. Drawing.


Isn&rsquot that often the case &hellip that the end of one war, and the demands of the victor, eventually leads to yet another war? The war for American Independence lasted until 1783 when the peace treaty with the British was signed. Imagine the giddy feeling you would have had at that time. Freedom! Independence! But the rational exuberance was met with irrational naivete.

The American populace, including its politicians, assumed that the British would continue to allow access to British ports &hellip. as if nothing at all happened! America assumed that the Brits needed our wheat, the British Navy needed our timber, hemp, and tar, and British colonies in the West Indies needed our fish, wheat, and salt to feed their slaves. This was a big miscalculation.

Canada and Ireland delivered most of the same goods. In fact, America needed the Brits more than they needed us as we depended on British manufacturing goods. America had zero leverage, and it was Britain that dictated foreign policy. They admitted American raw materials on a case-by-case basis, excluded manufactured goods altogether from entering England, and closed West Indian ports to American goods. Bullocks to America! What could America do? Nothing. We had no navy to back up our demands.

1801 &ndash A PIVOTAL YEAR

George Washington negotiated the Jay Treaty in 1795. The Brits negotiated from a position of strength, and conversely, America from weakness. In a nutshell, the treaty granted the Brits virtually unlimited access to American markets in exchange for limited access to British markets in the West Indies. It also allowed British creditors to recover debts owed by Americans.

In 1801, Thomas Jefferson was elected president and James Madison was named his secretary of state. They quickly abrogated the treaty.

Madison took a hard-line approach towards the Brits. Even back in 1790, as a Congressman from Virginia, he championed the idea of countering British trade restrictions with a series of discriminatory tariffs via import taxes. George Washington and John Adams rejected the idea. Now, however, as Secretary of State, Madison hoped to implement what he believed was a long overdue aggressive trade policy against Britain. But, he shot himself in the foot big time &hellip. by reversing the naval-building policies of John Adams

John Adams succeeded in his priority of strengthening the United States Navy. When he was elected in 1796, the navy had only three battleships. Five years later, in 1801, the navy had fifty &hellip more than enough to defend America&rsquos coastline and maintain a viable presence in the Caribbean.

Jefferson, and Madison, undid all this for several reasons. They felt maintaining a navy was too expensive. As Republicans they believed in frugal, tax-cutting government. And they believed that a large military posed a domestic threat in that the officer corps could harbor aristocratic ambitions and become a tool for would-be tyrants. Lastly, they felt navies led countries into unnecessary foreign entanglements. As such, Jefferson invested only in small gunboats for coastal patrols. The battleships atrophied. By 1812, the United States had only a dozen seaworthy battleships of any size.

Jefferson and Madison certainly were not stupid men. Yet, one must wonder &ldquoWhat were they thinking??&rdquo With no leverage (military power) to bring to the negotiating table, did they expect the Brits to just quietly and unquestioningly bend to American demands? Hardly! As should have been expected, Britain continued to apply both its commercial and naval power to dictate &mdash by force as necessary &mdash trade and maritime policy to the United States.


All governments do dumb things, even that of our Founding Fathers.

So, in 1807 Jefferson tried to pressure the Brits and French by convincing Congress to secure a radical embargo against all foreign trade. (Embargo. Our government still loves them to this very day. When will we ever learn?) American ships were forbidden from trading overseas. The embargo only hurt America. It was quickly scrapped.

It was replaced with the Non-Intercourse Act. This act had nothing to do with the cessation of attacking the pink fortress. It allowed trade with all countries except Britain and France. It also allowed the President to restore trade with either country IF either belligerent ended its maritime harassment. That only intercoursed the American people, and didn&rsquot work out either.

So, in 1810 Madison signed the ridicules Macon&rsquos Bill No.2. Even he didn&rsquot like it, but he could not yet get Congress to pass a war resolution. The bill authorized Madison to impose trade restrictions against one offending country if the other lifted its trade restrictions against the United States. In other words, the United States would commercially punish country A if country B agreed to allow America to trade freely. Pitting two countries against each other didn&rsquot work either.

What was the result of all these half-assed measures to intimidate the British? They shopped elsewhere! For example, between 1808-1812 the Canadian timber industry exploded with its exports to England, increasing by 500%. Canadian agricultural production also increased greatly. The Brits were eating beef, Americans were eating crow.

Madison was getting desperate. He was conjuring up even more rigorous measures against the British fearing that the window of opportunity for gaining concessions through commercial pressure would soon close forever. His conjuring included plans for war.

He figured it would be a little war, and a quick one. (How many times have our Dear Leaders told us that? Especially since 1960?) Most of the British army and navy were bogged down in Europe, fighting a brutal war with Napoleon. The French controlled most of Europe, and the little Frenchie dictator assembled a 700,000-man army for an invasion of Russia. All Madison wanted was the right to trade freely and, gain the respect owed to the United States as an independent nation. He calculated that since he wasn&rsquot seeking territory or conquest, that Britain would surely be willing to negotiate rather than have to deploy valuable ships and troops thousands of miles away from the war in Europe. Madison miscalculated. Madison was wrong to believe that the British would rush to negotiate with him. The British even refused Tsar Alexander I&rsquos invitation to mediate in 1813.

Britain&rsquos commitment to battle only strengthened over the first two years of the war. Madison was even wrong about the impact of the European war on America. He felt that when the European war ended, that the British would send the bulk of their armies to battle the United States. When you need popular support for a quick and easy war, you still need a little fear-mongering. &ldquoThe British will come!!&rdquo One reason the Brits didn&rsquot redeploy their troops was that American military incompetence at the beginning of the war made it unnecessary. More fortuitously, after more than two decades of continual war, the Brits had had enough, and by 1814 were more than happy to soften their demands. (The British Invasion finally took place about 150 years later. But with guitars and drums.)


The Brits had the world&rsquos strongest navy, and couldn&rsquot be coerced into lifting its restrictions. France, on the other hand, had everything to gain. Their Berlin (1806) and Milan (1807) decrees imposed severe trade restrictions against any country trading with Britain. But France&rsquos navy was not sufficiently powerful enough to enforce these decrees. So, in compliance with Macon&rsquos Bill, France could force the United States to restrict itself. In other words, France repealed its restrictions against the United States, thus forcing the United States to suspend its trade with Great Britain. Thus, on August 5, 1810 the French lifted the Berlin and Milan decrees. Madison, in turn, ended all trade with Britain on Feb. 2, 1811.

The New England Federalists &mdash who were dependent upon trade with Britain for their economic sustenance &mdash immediately attacked the announcement. The claimed Napoleon could not be trusted, and that it would lead America into war. They were correct. Napoleon refused to release American ships already held in French ports, and continued to harass American shipping. America would declare war on June 18, 1812.

Factors that Influenced James Madison to Declare the War of 1812

The continued provocation of the American frigates by the British warships was one of the causes of the War of 1812. (Image: Everett Collection/Shutterstock)

The causes that led to the War of 1812 were continued provocation of the American frigates by the British warships, attempts to restrict trade that trampled the American economy, the Republican point of view of the British, and America’s desire to expand its territory.

Continued Harassment of the American Brigs

Between 1803 and 1807 alone, the British seized over five hundred American ships. The violation of the maritime rights of these American marine ships continued. Just after the Chesapeake and Leopard incident in June, there were two more incidents of humiliations at the harbor of Macaw.

Captain Gilchrist of brig Caravan was confronted by an officer from brig Diana when he arrived at Macaw in the July of 1807. The commanders of British warship had orders to take off an alleged ‘deserter’ of the British Navy who they thought was hiding among the Caravan’s crew. When Captain Gilchrist squabbled with the British officer, around thirty to forty men forced themselves onto the deck of the Caravan armed with cutlasses and pistols. While the British knocked down Gilchrist and his first officer, they dragged his second officer to the board of Diana to ensure good behavior from the Americans.

When a few days later the crew of Diana stopped another merchant ship, the Baltimore schooner Topaz, it added insult to the injury. When a boat that came alongside of the Topaz tried to board it, Captain Nichols of the Topaz fired and wounded a lieutenant of the Diana. The British men responded by swarming up the side of the schooner, killed Captain Nichols, seized Topaz and its cargo and charged the ship with piracy.

The two incidents only furthered the sense of helplessness amongst the American ship owners and merchants, who feared being caught on the high seas between the warring navies of France and Britain. This outrageous exercise of power and humiliations by the British triggered widespread outrage and infuriated the Americans, finally leading to the War of 1812.

This is a transcript from the video series A History of the United States, 2nd Edition. Watch it now, on Wondrium.

Influence of Henry Clay on the War of 1812

President Thomas Jefferson’s Embargo Act of 1807 had disastrous consequences for America. By the end of his second term in office in 1809, Jefferson had given up trying to enforce the Embargo.

Before leaving office, Jefferson handpicked James Madison and had him endorsed as the official Republican nominee. Though Madison won the elections, his Federalist opponent Charles Cotesworth Pinckney swept all of New England. The congressional elections resulted in a number of stubborn and non-cooperative Federalists along with young rebellious Republicans. These rebels from the new frontier western districts were convinced that the Republican leadership had not dealt with the British firmly.

Henry Clay, U.S. Senator from Kentucky influenced Madison to declare the war on Britain in 1812.
(Image: Julian Vannerson or Montgomery P. Simons / Public domain)

Henry Clay, Kentucky’s junior senator took an anti-British stand on America’s repeated humiliations at the sea. Clay, born in Virginia in 1777, was a successful lawyer before becoming a senator. He was a Republican to the core and carried the card of being an enemy of banks, corporations, and aristocratic privilege. He also thought that Hamilton’s old Bank of the United States was a splendid association of favored individuals taken from the mass of society and invested with exemptions and surrounded by immunities and privileges.

Most importantly, Henry Clay viewed the disturbances on the frontier as a deliberate attempt by the British to slow down the growth of the American republic. He stated that “I scarcely know of an injury that France could do us, short of an actual invasion of our territory that would induce me to go to war with her, whilst the injuries we have received from Great Britain remain un-redressed.”

Clay was joined by the War Hawks in his indignation over the British encouragement of native Indian disturbances on the frontiers. The War Hawks were western Republicans who blamed the British for the harassment of American ships on the high seas and the Indian disturbances on their frontiers.

These young and energetic leaders insisted that Britain had violated America’s honor several times and it was time to retaliate. They aggressively pursued the idea of going on war with the British as they thought America could easily bring the British to the heels by invading Canada, which was a colony of Britain. They also had no reservations in admitting that invading Canada could result in significant territorial gains. They finally succeeded in inflaming the anti-British sentiments and declaring the war in 1812.

President Madison Declares the War of 1812

President James Madison preferred diplomacy and restraint as the solutions to the challenges posed by the British. Meanwhile, the secretary of state James Munroe obtained copies of correspondence with New Englanders and the British from an Irish-born New Yorker, John Henry for USD 50,000.

The correspondence was pertaining to New England Federalists who were willing to quit the Republican-dominated American Union and attach New England to Canada. On the 9th of March, 1912, President Madison forwarded copies of this correspondence to Congress. Though the Henry-Craig papers were a serious embarrassment to Federalists in Congress, it also pushed President Madison further to declare war on the British.

The Republican congressional caucus led by Henry Clay told James Madison that his candidature for elections would purely depend on his courage to declare a war. Madison eventually had to give in and sent a request to the Congress for a declaration of the War of 1812. The Senate passed the war bill on June 17 th and the next day Madison signed it.

Common Questions about Factors that Influenced James Madison to Declare the War of 1812.

The Senate passed the war bill on June 17th in 1812 and the next day, President Madison signed it. This was an official declaration of the War of 1812 .

The War Hawks were western Republicans who blamed the British for the harassment of American ships on the high seas and the Indian disturbances on their frontiers. The War Hawks pushed President Madison to declare war on Great Britain in 1812 .

During the War of 1812 , the War Hawk members of the Congress pressed for an attack on Canada because they thought America could easily bring the British to the heels by invading Canada, which was a colony of Britain.

James Madison

Known before the 20th century simply as The Federalist, The Federalist Papers were a series of 85 essays written by James Madison, Alexander Hamilton, and John Jay under the pseudonym "Publius." The essays were written between October 1787 and August 1788, and were intended to build public and political support for the newly constructed Constitution.


Interview with Joseph Ellis

Joseph Ellis, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation, discusses his latest book, The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution, 1783-1789.


Washington, Jefferson, and Madison

Read about the personal and political relationships between these three founders, and how their changing relationships reflected America's changing political situation.

Historic Site


Montpelier, the home of James and Dolley Madison, is owned and operated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The fourth president of the United States, James Madison, Jr., was born on March 16, 1751, in King George County, Virginia. He was the eldest of twelve children born to James and Nelly Conway Madison. The elder Madison was a wealthy planter and slave owner who raised James and his surviving siblings on the family estate, Montpelier, in Orange County, Virginia. Madison would later inherit Montpelier and live on the estate until his death in 1836. Madison married Dolley Payne Todd, a widow with one son and the sister-in-law of George Steptoe Washington, George Washington's nephew and ward, on September 15, 1794. A quiet, reserved man, Madison stood in sharp contrast to the sociable Dolley. The couple had no children.

Despite graduating with an excellent education from the College of New Jersey (present-day Princeton University) in 1771, Madison lacked direction in his life once he returned to Virginia. The American Revolution, however, provided him with a necessary spark. A member of the Virginia House of Delegates, Madison served as a member of the committee that framed the state's first constitution. At the national level, he served in the Second Continental Congress and its successor, the Confederation Congress.

Madison reveled in the political atmosphere that he encountered during these years. Along with Alexander Hamilton, he orchestrated the call by the Annapolis Convention for a constitutional convention in Philadelphia in 1787. Madison worked tirelessly to ensure George Washington's presence at the Philadelphia convention. A nationalist, Madison authored the so-called Virginia Plan at the convention.

After the convention drafted a new constitution, Madison worked for its passage, particularly in Virginia and New York. Madison teamed up with New York residents Alexander Hamilton and John Jay to co-author the Federalist Papers. As a member of the First Congress, Madison would subsequently draft the first ten amendments to the Constitution, the Bill of Rights.

A close confidant of Washington, Madison helped the first president set up the new federal government by offering advice on a variety of issues, including personnel selection. Washington also frequently asked Madison to write important public addresses, including Washington's first inaugural address. Like many of Washington's close associates, Madison lobbied the president for a second term in office in 1792, even after Washington had asked Madison to prepare for him his farewell address to the country.

The working relationship between the two men deteriorated, however, as the policy conflicts and acrimony between Madison and Alexander Hamilton increased during Washington's two terms in office. When Madison sought to destroy the Senate-ratified Jay's Treaty, Washington used the minutes of the Constitutional Convention to refute Madison's arguments. The episode forever ended the close relationship between the two men, as Washington lost all trust in Madison's objectivity.

With Thomas Jefferson, Madison orchestrated the formation of the Democratic-Republican Party. The two men would later cooperate in their response to the Sedition Act of 1798, as Madison anonymously authored the Virginia Resolutions and Jefferson, the Kentucky Resolutions. Madison worked for Jefferson's election in 1800, becoming the third president's secretary of state.

Madison succeeded Jefferson as president in 1809. Foreign affairs dominated Madison's presidency, especially as the country sought to find a middle ground between warring Great Britain and France. In 1812, Madison finally asked for a declaration of war against Great Britain. Derogatorily called "Mr. Madison's War," the War of 1812 often found Madison in search of answers to numerous problems. After retiring from the presidency, Madison seldom journeyed from Montpelier. In 1829, he did travel to Richmond, where he served as a delegate to the convention revising the Virginia constitution. Madison died on June 28, 1836, and was laid to rest in the Madison family cemetery at Montpelier.

Jeffrey A. Zemler, Ph.D.
Brookhaven College

"Editorial Note: Address of the President to Congress." The Papers of James Madison, Vol. 12. Charles F. Hobson and Robert A. Rutland, eds. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1979.

"Editorial Note: The General Assembly Session of October 1786." The Papers of James Madison, Vol. 9. William M.E. Rachal, ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1975.

"Editorial Note: Madison at the First Session of the First Congress, 8 April-29 September 1789." The Papers of James Madison, Vol. 12. Charles F. Hobson and Robert A. Rutland, eds.. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1979.

"Editorial Note: Virginia Resolutions." The Papers of James Madison, Vol. 17. David B. Mattern et al., eds. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1991.

Ketcham, Ralph. James Madison: A Biography. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1971.

James Madison: A Biography in His Own Words. Merrill D. Peterson, ed. New York: Newsweek Book Division, 1974.


In 1801, Thomas Jefferson asked Madison to join his new presidential administration as secretary of state. At the end of his two terms as president, Jefferson supported Madison as the next president. Madison easily defeated his opponent, Charles Pinckney, and became the fourth president of the United States in 1809.

Madison’s wife, Dolley—who he married in 1794—was so popular that she’s credited with helping him win. Pinckney himself said he “might have had a better chance had I faced Mr. Madison alone.”

Unit 6 US history, Jefferson, James Madison, War of 1812

-John Marshal
-Supreme Ct.

Remember that due to the France taking the land the Pinckney treaty is dissolved.

*New Orleans/ Not that France blocked, but taxed heavily

Response to this US sends Robert Livingston to negotiate success to the Mississippi River/ Talleyrand is the French Ambassador they talk to.

Later at Santo Dominque, a revolt happens were educate man Toussaint L'Ouueture. Most French soldiers die of Yellow Fever
The Rochambeau Letters: Rochambeau, the last leading officer, requests Napoleon to send troops and the armada. At this time Napoleon is planning to invade England. Napoleon abandons Haiti and Haiti becomes independent.

Talleyrand begs the ambassador to come back, He offers the Louisiana 15,000,000 dollars. One time offer

James Madison Begins the War of 1812 - HISTORY

James Madison & the War of 1812
Copyright © Henry J. Sage 2102

The Second War for Independence

James Madison as President

James Madison was a close friend and political ally of Jefferson. Madison's home, Montpelier, near Orange, Virginia, is about 27 miles from Monticello. Madison and Jefferson exchanged frequent visits when able, and their collected correspondence fills three hefty volumes. Madison was selected as Jefferson's successor by Republicans in Congress and won the election of 1808 easily. As Jefferson&rsquos Secretary of State and closest advisor, Madison&rsquos transition to the higher office was essentially seamless, yet he inherited most of the same problems with which Jefferson had been dealing.

James Madison is sometimes viewed as being temperamentally unsuited for leadership, but a closer examination of his performance at the Constitutional Convention of 1787, his term as Speaker of the House, as Secretary of State under Jefferson and as President reveals otherwise. While he was small in stature and lacked a strong speaking voice, he knew how to get things done. Dolley Madison, known for her physical attractiveness and cleverness at entertaining and decorating, was a sophisticated political companion who knew how to use her feminine charms in the service of her husband's political career.

Ever faithful to her &ldquoJemmy,&rdquo Dolley entertained at the White House in a manner suggestive of the salons of Paris, collecting information and seeing to it that those who needed her husband&rsquos ear could get it. Like many other great women in supporting roles, Dolley Madison served her husband and her country well. She is best known for having saved a famous portrait of George Washington from the British as they approached and then burned the White House in 1814.

For a good read about Madison and his contemporaries, including the women, try the fine book 1812 by David Nevin, a first rate historical novel. More About Madison & Montpelier.

Madison&rsquos Foreign Policy. James Madison&rsquos terms in the White House were dominated by foreign dilemmas&mdashthe last years of the Napoleonic Wars. Following the repeal of the Embargo Act, subsequent attempts to reduce tensions at sea included the Non-Intercourse Act, which was in effect from March 1809 to May 1810. It provided for non-importation or exportation against belligerent nations it was directed against both France and England as trade with both nations was prohibited. Under the Act, trade with all other nations was permissible. Concerning France and Great Britain, trade could be resumed with whichever nation dropped its restrictions against the U.S. In general, American ships could go wherever they wanted.

Also under the terms of the Non-Intercourse Act, the United States committed itself to resume trade with England and France if those nations promised to cease their seizure of American vessels. On the basis of a pledge by a British official, President Madison reopened trade with England, but the British ignored the promise and seized American ships that sailed under Madison's direction.

Congress then passed Macon&rsquos Bill Number Two, in effect from May 1810 to March 1811, another &ldquocarrot and stick&rdquo measure. It reopened trade with both Britain and France, but threatened new sanctions against either nation in the case of misbehavior, and trade with the other nation at the same time. Theoretically it provided flexibility, but in the face of repeated violations and &ldquocheating&rdquo by both sides, it also proved ineffective.

Under this law Napoleon promised to respect American rights but subsequently broke his word he had no intention of respecting American neutral rights. Instead Napoleon buffaloed Madison by having one of his ministers, M. Cadore, send an ambiguous letter containing various promises to revoke restrictions in exchange for American pressure against Great Britain. Madison informed Great Britain that non-importation would be re-invoked, but the British refused to repeal their Orders in Council. Non-importation was thus invoked against England from March 1811 to June 1812, an act which aided Napoleon&rsquos Continental System.

In April 1809, British Minister Erskine, who was friendly to the U.S., negotiated a favorable treaty with the U.S., and President Madison claimed that all issues between the U.S. and Great Britain were resolved. Foreign Secretary Canning rejected the agreement, however, and the Americans grew angry and moved closer to France. Great Britain replaced Erskine with a tougher minister, &ldquoCopenhagen Jackson,&rdquo who was notorious for having ordered British ships to fire on the Danish capital. He repudiated the Erskine agreement, and Madison ordered him returned to Great Britain.

In a new incident at sea in 1811, an American ship, the U.S.S. President got into a scrap with the British Little Belt (left), which was badly battered. Meanwhile, the British had again begun arousing the Indians in the Northwest Territory. The Indian Chief Tecumseh and his brother, The Prophet, attempted to form an Indian coalition to unify resistance against the Americans. Governor William Henry Harrison of the Indiana Territory led an expedition and defeated the Indians at the Battle of Tippecanoe. The Indian Confederation collapsed, but the American victory sent Tecumseh and his warriors over to the British side.

By 1812 troubles between the United States and Great Britain (and France, to a lesser extent) had reached a point of no return. Although the War of 1812 has been called the least necessary of all American wars (at least until Vietnam), in retrospect the American government under Jefferson and Madison pursued reasonable (if somewhat ineffective) policies in defense of America's neutral rights. It was true that great profits could be earned through trade in time of war, and greed was no doubt a factor that pushed American merchant captains into repeated confrontations with both nations. Still, nations have a right to carry on business even when part of the world is at war.
The major goal of American foreign policy during this era was to try to give the President enough flexibility so that he could punish nations that treated us badly and reward those who were more cooperative. Unfortunately Great Britain and France were locked in mortal combat, and neither was inclined to be cooperative with anybody, least of all the fledgling new republic across the ocean.

In the end, British domination of the seas was the factor that put the Americans most at odds with them. Though the French behaved almost as badly as the British, an American war with France was unlikely, first because a French invasion of America (or vice versa) was virtually out of the question the Atlantic Ocean was too great a barrier. Furthermore, impressment of American sailors was hardly practiced by the French, and leftover antagonisms from the Revolution still rankled both Americans and the British. Americans continued to blame their troubles on the British. For all their differences, France had been America's ally in winning independence, something Americans were unlikely to lose sight of. ("God forget us, if we forget/the sacred sword of Lafayette" became a well-remembered epithet for much of American history.)

The &ldquoWar Hawks&rdquo

The 1810 election brought a group of new congressmen to office, the &ldquoWar Hawks.&rdquo They were southerners and westerners who were strong nationalists, including Henry Clay of Kentucky, John C. Calhoun of South Carolina, and Felix Grundy of Tennessee. These patriots from the frontier regions were offended by the depredations of the British, even though they were far less directly affected by them than were the merchants and ship owners of New England. In addition, the country was suffering an economic depression, a situation exacerbated to some extent by trade problems.

Furthermore, Americans, who were always hungry for more land, had looked with envy upon the rich portion of southern Canada in the Great Lakes region. War with England, it was felt, might well bring the Canadian provinces into the American fold. (Americans mistakenly assumed that Canada was ripe for rebellion against the mother country.) In any case, patience with Great Britain eventually wore thin, especially in the West, in the face of repeated violations. New Englanders, however, opposed the war, which would end all trade for the duration of the conflict. The old Federalist Party was not quite dead.

In the end there was much resistance to war: the vote for the declaration of war in Congress was 79-49 every state delegation in Congress from Massachusetts to Delaware came down against the war declaration. The southern and western delegations were almost unanimously in favor and &ldquogave the East a war.&rdquo In 1810 a group of Americans in West Florida seized control from Spanish authorities and declared the &ldquoRepublic of West Florida&rdquo this was the only territorial conquest relating to the War of 1812. The Florida question would be opened again following the end of hostilities.

The WAR of 1812: The &ldquoForgotten War&rdquo

General. Many Americans probably think that the &ldquo1812 Overture&rdquo was written to commemorate the war of 1812, especially since it is often performed on the 4th of July to the accompaniment of bells and cannon. In fact, the work was written by Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky to celebrate Napoleon&rsquos invasion of Russia in that year. That faulty connection, however, is not as wrong as it may seem.

In the first place, the War of 1812 has often been called a forgotten war, with good reason. Few Americans know very much about the War of 1812 beyond the fact that it was fought with the British and that there was a Battle of New Orleans involved. Some may also associate the burning of the White House or the writing of the Star Spangled Banner with the war, but only vaguely. Part of the reason for that vagueness may be that the war changed very little in America: The end of the war restored the status quo ante bellum, that is, it left everything the way it had been when the war began. In addition, the end of the war coincided with the end of the Napoleonic wars (the War of 1812 ended six months before Waterloo) and was thus overshadowed by the greater events going on in Europe. Added to that overshadowing is that fact that with a few notable exceptions, the Americans did not always fight well, even allowing their capital to be burned by the British in 1814.

The second reason why the confusion with the events in Russia in 1812 is understandable is that the two events were in fact related. The War of 1812 began as a result of the fighting in Europe, which left America, a neutral nation, besieged by major players France and England as it tried to carry on normal trade in abnormal times. The war, in other words, was fought on the American side largely over neutral rights, although issues such as national pride, economics and regional politics certainly played a part in the decision to declare war. The fact of the Napoleonic wars also helped determine the way in which the British fought the war. They felt that Napoleon was a far greater danger to the world than any minor acts of interference (as they saw it) they might have committed with regard to American trade. They felt bitter toward their American cousins for declaring war while they had their hands full with France.

There are many reasons why Americans do not really celebrate the War of 1812. In the first place, the war did not change anything, exceptfor the men who died and theri families. The war did, however, produce its share of victories and heroes&mdashmost famously, Andrew Jackson at New Orleans. In the end, however, the most important result of the War of 1812 may have been the fact that placed America on the world stage at a level which had not been achieved by the Revolution. The American experiment was considered just that, an experiment, and many Europeans fully expected the new nation to fail, as it well might have. The War of 1812 has thus been called with some justification America&rsquos second war for independence &mdashan assertion of America's position as a nation worthy of respect.

At the start America was woefully unprepared for conflict. There was lack of unanimity over the causes, organization was poor, and militia forces&mdasha necessary adjunct to the regular professional army&mdashdisplayed a general unwillingness to go beyond their own state borders to fight. Few strong leaders remained from the Revolutionary generation, and early encounters with the British, though they were still distracted by Napoleon, were disastrous.

Nevertheless, American sailors were very capable, and American soldiers, when well led, were prepared to fight. However poorly the Americans fought the war, they did indeed fight it, growing stronger as the war progressed. At worst they achieved a stalemate. New leaders such as Andrew Jackson, Oliver Hazard Perry, Thomas MacDonough and Winfield Scott emerged. Had the war gone on longer, the Americans might well have given the British more significant defeats besides the Battle of New Orleans. Finally, no matter how sharply Americans were divided over the war early in 1812, the end of the war brought the &ldquoEra of Good Feelings.&rdquo Although the term is perhaps an exaggeration, it nevertheless points to the fact that that America had come through the war essentially intact.

Despite the losses, America probably gained more than it lost from the war. If nothing else, the conduct of the war left the powerful lesson that wars should not be entered into lightly or for the wrong reasons, and that it is best to be prepared for war before the fighting begins rather than having to improvise once hostilities have actually begun. The latter lesson is one Americans have had to &ldquolearn&rdquo several times.

Review: Chronology of Events leading up to the War.

U.S. Objectives of the War of 1812 were as follows:

  • Get the British to repeal their Orders in Council, which placed severe trade restrictions on the Americans.
  • Get the British to stop the impressment of American sailors into the Royal Navy.
  • Assert Americans' rights to freedom of the seas. (See Madison&rsquos War Message to Congress.)

Despite early optimism, American war efforts were marred by poor preparation and management, ineffective leadership, and an ill-designed strategy. Americans expected victory even though unprepared. President Madison had problems in his administration beyond his control, and by the end of the war the Americans were getting their house in order. In New England, where the Federalists were still strong, people refused to take an active part in the war effort. Great Britain was in a state of turmoil politically, which helped bring the war about and contributed to its conduct by the British. King George III was by then totally insane, and the Prime minister (Spencer Percival) had been killed. Preoccupied with Napoleon, Great Britain appeared ineffective in executing offensive operations, which was fortunate for the Americans.

The Military Campaigns

The United States Army in 1812 was small, and state militias proved inadequate to fight well-trained veterans. Early campaigns were designed to take Canada, an appealing goal because of the abundance of land, the lucrative fur trade and problems with Indians. All the early Canadian campaigns were unsuccessful, however. General William Hull invaded Canada in July 1812 but was forced to surrender to British Major General Isaac Brock in Detroit. Brock then moved to the eastern end of Lake Erie where American General Stephen Van Rensselaer was attempting unsuccessfully to invade. A third attempt at invasion failed when General Henry Dearborn&rsquos New York militia troops refused to enter Canada.

In 1814, England planned a three-pronged attack on the United States: a march from Canada into the Hudson River Valley, an amphibious assault on the Chesapeake Bay region, and occupation of New Orleans. The decisive campaign was in New York State. General Sir George Prevost led a British force into New York and advanced to Plattsburg. Although he outnumbered the American garrison there, when American sailors under Commodore Thomas McDonough defeated the British on Lake Champlain, Prevost withdrew.

Meanwhile, British Admiral George Cockburn was conducting operations in the Chesapeake Bay area, raiding towns along the coast. In August 1814 he marched on the capital and handily defeated the American militia in the Battle of Bladensburg, Maryland. Dolley Madison saw to the saving of valuables, including a portrait of George Washington, even as James Madison was forced to flee the presidential mansion. British General Ross ate the dinner which had been prepared for the president, drank a toast to &ldquoLittle Jemmy,&rdquo and set fire to the building. The next day British troops burned many more buildings in Washington.

The British then advanced on Baltimore, but were unable to reduce Fort McHenry, which had been built following the American Revolution to protect the Baltimore harbor. British warships bombarded the fort for over 24 hours, but were unable to penetrate the harbor, which was also protected by chains and sunken ships. The strong stand at Fort McHenry led Francis Scott Key, who observed the bombardment through a long night as bursting shells illuminated the flag, to compose his famous anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner.”

The Battle of New Orleans

During the War of 1812 a conflict erupted in the Southwest involving a faction of the Creek Indians known as the &ldquoRed Sticks.&rdquo When Indians attacked Ft. Mims in the Alabama territory and killed several hundred residents, Major General Andrew Jackson led the Tennessee militia in a series of battles against the Creeks that ended at Horseshoe Bend in March, 1814. In May Jackson was named American commander in the New Orleans area, just as the British were planning to take New Orleans with a large force of 7,500 veterans under Sir Edwin Packenham. The British planned to take control of the entire Mississippi River Valley.

A nighttime raid by Jackson&rsquos men disrupted Pakenham&rsquos march on the city from the east, and Jackson then took up a strong position south of New Orleans between a Cyprus swamp and the east bank of the Mississippi. Jackson&rsquos force was a motley collection of Tennessee and Kentucky sharpshooters, members of Jean Lafitte&rsquos pirate band and various volunteer groups of Creoles and fire brigades from the city. He quickly constructed heavy breastworks along his defensive position that offered good firing positions for artillery and riflemen. Jackson&rsquos flank were protected by the Mississippi River and the Cyprus swamp.

On the morning of January 8, 1815, Packenham&rsquos force of over 5,000 redcoats disembarked below Jackson's position and prepared to advance. Veterans of campaigns against Napoleon's troops, the British were confident of swift victory and expected to dispatch the Americans without difficulty. They advanced confidently upon Jackson's entrenchments, but were met by a rude shock. Behind the parapets (which can be seen in the picture) were 4,500 defenders, many of them expert rifleman. They waited for the attacking British to get well within range and then let loose a furious volley of artillery and rifle fire. The redcoats were cut down unmercifully, and Packenham himself was killed. The British suffered over 2,000 men killed and wounded the Americans had eight killed and 13 wounded.

The Battle of New Orleans was one of the most one-sided victories in all of American military history, and although it had no direct impact on the war, it was a huge morale booster for the Americans, and created a hero in Andrew Jackson, which would eventually result in his election to the nation's highest office. The great irony of the Battle of New Orleans was that it actually took place after the peace treaty had been signed, but there was no way to communicate the news in time to prevent the battle. The Chalmette Battlefield is about seven miles south of the city of New Orleans. Jackson&rsquos battlements are well preserved, and it is easy to see how the British were hemmed in by the swamp and the Mississippi River.

The Naval War. Although badly outnumbered, the U.S. Navy nevertheless distinguished itself during the War of 1812. New shipping was needed but was not built in at the outset of the war thus the American blue-water Navy collectively was generally ineffective against the much larger Royal Navy. On the other hand, the American ships that were already in operation were better suitedthan British ships for one-to-one combat. The U.S.S. Constitution (left) under Captain Isaac Hull defeated H.M.S. Guerriere on August 19, 1812, in one of a number of individual ship victories for the Americans. American privateers did very well 148 &ldquolegalized pirates&rdquo captured 1300 British ships, damaging the British cause. Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry's victory on Lake Erie secured the Northwest Territory firmly under American control. Another fleet victory by Commodore Thomas Macdonough on Lake Champlain turned back the attempted British invasion from Canada in 1814.

Future President Theodore Roosevelt wrote The Naval War of 1812 at age 23. Written in 1882, it remains a fine account of the action by the U.S. Navy and includes a chapter on New Orleans.


After the American victory at Plattsburg on Lake Champlain, the English government decided to enter negotiations to end the war without addressing any of the issues that had caused the war. The Duke of Wellington also advised the British government to abandon the war. As much of the war had gone badly for the Americans, Madison was also ready to negotiate, and sent a peace party consisting of, among others, John Quincy Adams and Henry Clay to the city of Ghent in Belgium, where discussions were to be held. Both sides were weary of the war, and an agreement was reached to end the war and restore the status quo ante bellum—the state in which things were before the war. (That agreement did not, of course, restore life to those who were killed nor repair property destroyed.) American efforts were aided by the Duke of Wellington, the British victor over Napoleon at Waterloo, who advised Great Britain to abandon the war.

The Treaty of Ghent, signed on Christmas Eve 1814, thus ended the deadlock of war with no major concessions granted by either side. The belated American victory at the Battle of New Orleans led to a widespread conception that the United States had won the War of 1812, and the Senate ratified the treaty unanimously. For Americans, the war succeeded splendidly. They had won a &ldquosecond war of independence.&rdquo Even after the treaty had been signed, GreatBritain considered the war a stab in the back&mdashthey still saw the Yankees as &ldquodegenerate Englishmen.&rdquo The British victory at Waterloo and the American victory at New Orleans, however, detracted from bad feelings on both sides. In addition, the end of the Napoleonic wars rendered issues such as impressment and neutral rights moot.

The Battle of New Orleans and the Naval War of 1812 demonstrated that American soldiers were capable of fighting when well led, and that American ships and sailors were very good.

In the end, America probably gained more than it lost from the war. If nothing else, the conduct of the war left powerful lessons: Wars should not be entered into lightly or for the wrong reasons it is best to be prepared for war before the fighting begins rather than having to improvise once hostilities have actually begun. The latter lesson is one Americans have had to &ldquolearn&rdquo several times.

THE HARTFORD CONVENTION: Further Hints of Secession

Resentment felt by New Englanders over Jefferson&rsquos Embargo grew during the Madison administration the so-called &ldquoEssex Junto&rdquo was still alive and kicking, though the actual membership had changed with time. When the war seemed to be going badly for the United States, a group of Federalists met in Hartford, Connecticut, in December 1814. They recommended changes in the Constitution that would have lessened the power of the South and the West. Many New Englanders were more than disenchanted with what they viewed as the &ldquoVirginia Dynasty.&rdquo (With the exception of the single term of John Adams, only Virginians had occupied the office of president since 1789.) Fortunately, more moderate voices prevailed talk of secession and a Northern confederacy gained no traction. The Convention did, however propose several constitutional amendments:

  • Abolish the 3/5 Compromise (Reduce Southern power in Congress.)
  • Require 2/3 of the Senate approval to declare war. (One third of the states could then veto a war declaration.)
  • Place a 60-day limit on any trade embargo.
  • Permit presidents to serve only one term.
  • Do not allow a president to succeed another president from the same state. (Prevent another &ldquoVirginia dynasty.&rdquo)

Unfortunately for the Federalists, they met on the eve of the conclusion of peace. Their proposal arrived in Washington more or less simultaneously with news of the Ghent Treaty and the victory at New Orleans. After those events, the Convention's demands seemed irrelevant and disloyal. The proposed amendments never went anywhere, and the Federalist Party never recovered from the Hartford Convention. In the end, the Treaty of Ghent discredited the Federalists and killed their party. The net result was that the War of 1812 discredited the Federalists and brought an end to the party's existence.

Aftermath of the War of 1812.

Although there were no &ldquofruits of victory&rdquo following the war, some benefits did accrue to the United States, even though there was no victory. The American performance in the war, especially after Jackson&rsquos overwhelming triumph in New Orleans, was convincing to Europe. The war brought an end to Barbary tributes, and freedom from harassment by pirates. As so often happened throughout American history, the Indians were the big losers. They backed the wrong side in the conflict&mdashit was not the first time, nor would it be the last. Significant for all the Western world was the final defeat of Napoleon, which began a period known as the &ldquoHundred Years&rsquo Peace.&rdquo It began in Europe with the Congress of Vienna and continued more or less uninterrupted (with limited exceptions) until the outbreak of World War I in 1914.

Madison&rsquos term ended on a fairly positive note. Whether it was a victory or a lucky draw, the American people felt satisfied with the results of the war, largely because of Jackson&rsquos victory at New Orleans and several spectacular naval triumphs. Further, the old Federalist Party was now all but gone, and a new &ldquoEra of Good Feelings&rdquo was ushered in. Threatening talk about the &ldquoVirginia Dynasty&rdquo gradually died out.

James Madison&rsquos legacy is still being debated, but in general it can be said that he was one of the key figures in the creation of the American Republic. He seems to many historians to be moving out of the shadow of his more famous Virginia brethren, and well deserves his title of &ldquoFather of the Constitution.&rdquo He lived until 1836, the last of the great men of that era to pass on.

Hickey, Donald R. The War of 1812: A Forgotten Conflict , 1989.

Taylor, Alan. The Civil War of 1812: American Citizens, British Subjects, Irish Rebels, & Indian Allies, 2010.

Roosevelt, Theodore. The Naval War of 1812 Or the History of the United States Navy during the Last War with Great Britain to Which Is Appended an Account of the Battle of New Orleans . Theodore Roosevelt was one of our most articulate presidents. He wrote a number of books, including this fine volume on the war of 1812.

Daughan, George C.. 1812: The Navy's War , 2011

Nevin, David. 1812 (The American Story) , 1997. 1812 by David Nevin is a work of fiction, but it offers a readable account of the war. It is a fine historical novel.

James Madison

James Madison, the fourth President of the United States, is a crucial player in the history of the early republic. A brilliant mind, we owe much of the US Constitution to Madison’s thinking, particularly regarding the histories of failed republics in general. Madison secured the Great Compromise of the Constitutional Convention, creating a bi-cameral legislature, helping to shape the division of powers between the federal and state governments, and crafting a series of checks-and-balances among the three branches of government – executive, legislative, and judicial. During the Constitutional Convention, he kept extensive notes earning the sobriquet, Father of the Constitution. Though one of the authors of the FEDERALIST PAPERS, which argued for ratification of the new U.S. Constitution, Madison aligned himself with Jefferson and his followers, known at that time as Republicans, who insisted on a strict interpretation of the Constitution and believed that the states should have more power than the federal government. Once the Constitution was ratified, Madison penned the Bill of Rights.

Madison served as Secretary of State under Thomas Jefferson and was embroiled in the various struggles the early United States had with the constant warfare between England and France. In 1808, he was elected President and then again in 1812. It was under Madison that the United States declared war on Great Britain over the rights of neutrals to engage in freedom of the seas. During the Chesapeake Campaign of the war, Madison was on the battlefield at Bladensburg, Maryland on August 24, 1814, where the American Army was routed by the British. Madison, and those living in Washington, fled the city, and the British captured it putting all public buildings to the torch.

After his second term was complete, Madison retired to his beloved estate, Montpelier, in Orange County, Virginia where he died in 1836.

Genealogy Center, Plano Public Library

18 Jun 1812 President James Madison signs the Declaration of War as passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The war would last almost three years. The most famous battle of the war will occur before word of the signed peace treaty reaches America.

Do you have ancestors who are veterans of the War of 1812?

The Indian Wars both before and after the Civil War?

The Philippine Insurrection?

This summer the Genealogy Center will have classes on locating military ancestors that tend to be a bit more difficult.

28 June – Locating Native American Soldiers

12 July – Locating African-American Soldiers

19 July – Locating Ancestors Who Fought in Lesser Known Conflicts

There are Genealogy Classes almost every week this summer.

There are classes on U.S. Census records, Fold3 and Archives, Obituaries and more.

Check out the Plano Library website – http://www.plano.gov/203/Library

Attend one of our classes and you may find a trick or two that allows you to identify that missing ancestor, military veteran or not, to break down that brick wall.

Interview With War of 1812 Historian J.C.A. Stagg

John Stagg, editor of The Papers of James Madison and a professor at the University of Virginia since 1987. (Courtesy of the University of Virginia)

Two hundred years after the outbreak of the War of 1812, it remains among the least understood conflicts in American history. Questions about it abound: Why did the United States, with only a handful of warships, declare a largely maritime war on Great Britain, which boasted one of history’s mightiest navies? What causes and goals justified such a move? And why did the U.S. Army perform so miserably? University of Virginia historian John Stagg addresses such questions in his new history, The War of 1812. Viewing the conflict from the diplomatic, economic, political and military perspectives, he clarifies the motivations of the United States, Britain, Canada and the North American Indian confederations. As editor of The Papers of James Madison, the wartime president, Stagg brings unique qualifications to his analysis.

‘By 1815 it became extremely difficult to see how either side could have carried on the war for another year’

What led the United States to declare war on Britain?
The general conditions that underlay the war had existed for years, particularly the impressment of American seamen by the Royal Navy and the restriction of American neutral trade. Before 1811 the U.S. government felt the differences were potentially negotiable. In the summer of 1811 President Madison learned the British were not going to negotiate as long as the Napoleonic wars continued. At that point Madison said, “We now have to prepare for war.”

Why was the Royal Navy impressing American seamen?
The Royal Navy was Britain’s mainstay in the war against Napoléon. The fleet needed 130,000 to 150,000 seamen, and the British could not supply that many. During the Napoleonic wars, with America left after 1807 as the only major neutral nation in the Atlantic trading system, American ships were much more vulnerable than in the past.

Why did the U.S. Army perform so badly?
Historians usually point to such factors as numbers of troops, supply problems, logistics, communications, strategy, and untrained and incompetent officers. The officer corps had a very high rate of turnover. Most were civilians with very little military training or experience West Point hadn’t produced enough graduates at that point to make any difference. The senior Army officers, particularly in the first year of the war, were old men, and by 1812 they had neither the experience nor the stamina to meet the demands of an invasion of Canada.

The only exception to this proves the rule: On the Niagara Peninsula in the summer of 1814 Winfield Scott and Jacob Brown put together 4,000-odd regular troops and gave them a sustained period of drill and training, and disciplined them properly. When they invaded Canada in the summer of 1814, they performed creditably.

Why did the U.S. Navy perform better than the Army?
Navies—and privateers—kept their ships pretty much at sea all the time. So seamen were continually training on the job. Armies at peace, on the other hand, did very different things from armies at war. Troops doing garrison duty were not training for battle they were mending roads and planting gardens for food. The British army had similar problems, but they went to war more regularly.

Were there decisive events in this war?
One of the most decisive from the American point of view is that they defeated the Indian confederations, and the United States in the peace treaties took a large amount of land from the Indians.

The American failures in the first year of the war—the first attempt to invade Canada, the loss of Detroit and the Queenston Heights and that sort of thing—were also decisive in that the United States never recovered from those setbacks. So the war never went the way the Americans wanted it to.

Another decisive event is that Napoléon Bonaparte failed in Russia in 1812. Had Napoléon won, Britain would have been a much weaker enemy for the United States to deal with. But that didn’t happen. Britain was never in the weakened state the Americans hoped it might be, and, of course, that made it much more difficult to get any sort of diplomacy or negotiations going. The British were under much less pressure to concede anything.

How important was political factionalism in the United States’ conduct of the war?
There was conflict between the Federalists and the Republicans, and the Republicans as the majority governing coalition also suffered from factionalism. They controlled Congress, but were often divided on measures the administration considered necessary to carry on the war.

In the wider national context, Federalist obstructionism displayed to the world that the United States was not united about the war. The British tried to manipulate this, nowhere more so than when they blockaded the United States. For a long time they exempted New England from the blockade—which encouraged New Englanders to trade with the enemy.

So partisanship does affect the ability of the administration to mobilize the resources of the country fully for this war, and that problem just gets worse as the war goes on.

Did the United States also consider war with France?
Yes, particularly in the weeks preceding the declaration of war. The Federalists would point out that there was no case for war against Great Britain that could not also be made against France. But there was much less likelihood of the United States going to war with both Britain and France at the same time, for all the obvious practical reasons.

How did the United States avoid losing the war?
The United States didn’t lose, but the British couldn’t win it either.

The British did perfectly well as long as they stayed on the defensive. But once they tried to take the offensive after the summer of 1814, they did no better than the Americans. They burned Washington, but that didn’t do them much good. They couldn’t take Baltimore, and they couldn’t invade through Plattsburgh. And New Orleans was an absolute disaster. So by 1814, with the [seeming] end of the Napoleonic wars in Europe, there was a sense in Britain there was not much reason to continue this war. By that time the British had been at war more or less continuously since 1793, and Parliament wasn’t going to spend more for a war that seemed to yield very little in tangible returns. They figured they might as well make peace. In that sense both sides experienced both defeat and victory.

Did any nation win the War of 1812?
Canadians are emphatic that America did not win, and the British agree. Americans usually argue that we really did win. In terms of military outcomes, “stalemate from mutual exhaustion” is the phrase to use. By 1815 it became extremely difficult to see how either side could have carried on the war for another year. In that sense nobody won.

What were the consequences for the U.S. Army and Navy?
There was a general realization the Army’s performance had to improve, that we couldn’t have another war like that. The Army made rapid strides after 1815 toward a more professional service, particularly with respect to staff departments and its officers.

A lot of people in the early 19th century weren’t sure the United States should even have a navy. But the Navy won the most spectacular victories, guaranteeing itself a place in the nation’s defense establishment. But in the longer term—after the 1820s—Congress wasn’t prepared to spend much on the Navy. So the war helped ensure the Navy became more professional and better organized, with Mediterranean and Caribbean squadrons. But in the absence of war there wasn’t that much for the Navy to do, and it became an organization in which men waited for their superiors to die so they would get promoted.

Among the war’s participants, who fared best in the end?
America and Britain, in different ways. The Americans didn’t win the war and didn’t get the peace treaty they wanted, but the war decided who would dominate the heartland of North America. The British did OK, in that the United States was less likely to want to fight Britain again to take Canada, and Canada survived. There were conflicts between Britain and America in the 19th century, and there could have been another war in the 1840s, the 1860s or even as late as the 1890s. But there wasn’t, and I think the War of 1812 had something to do with that.

Watch the video: Ο μεθυσμενος James Καφετζης πετσοκοβει τον Αλεξη Παππα (January 2022).