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War of 1812

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War of 1812

Introduction With the ongoing battles between England and France in the early 19th century, the newly formed United States found itself thrust in the middle of this struggle. In the early part of the century Napoleon was on a mission to once again establish a mighty French empire of early years. But with the build up of the royal British Navy the English were trying fiercely to hold Napoleon in check. The United States was determined to stay neutral and continue its trading with both nations. However several mandates passed by both France and England made this very difficult. With England's naval blockade and the repeated search and seizure of American trade vessels, the United States, led by an aggressive group of leaders in congress known as the Young War Hawks, took a very aggressive approach to Britain and its royal navy. However, the War Hawks and President Madison also had plans of expansion in mind, to extend its boarders to the North Pole, home to royal colonies of the now hated Great Britain. With this plan and the negative feeling toward Britain, the war was just around the corner. And in June of 1812, a full-fledged war was upon them. The war, which lasted approximately two years, was a very bloody and costly battle to both the United States and Britain. Systematic Analysis To begin to look at this war we must take a look at the system the world was in at the time. The world was dominated by a bi-polar system, with France and England being the two poles. However you also had another player in the system, Russia. Although not quite as powerful as either of the top two, but if thrown in the mix could tip the scales toward one side or the other. The United States at this time preferred to practice a policy of isolationism, and stay out of the turbulent affairs of Europe. The constant struggle between the French and the British dominated the world scene. The French who were led by Napoleon were trying to establish an empire and dominate all of Europe. This struggle had been raging since the turn of the century. The British as in any bi-polar system were dead set on preventing this from happening. With the United States only a minor player in the international system at the time there was nothing the United States could do in this affair except continue its policy of neutrality, and isolationism. With a bi-polar international system, you are always in a position of war breaking out at anytime, especially in the days before nuclear warheads. With each pole trying to expand its power and sphere of influence, they were constantly at each other's throat. With Britain still establishing colonies in the west and gaining dominance over the seas with their naval abilities, France was looking for ways to stop Britain. France began forming alliances with the third player in the game, Russia. With the addition of the Russians France had Britain reeling and worried about a possible invasion and defeat. France, by adding Russia had tipped the scales in its favor, and forced Britain to use its navy that it had begun to build up. Britain began to employ a naval blockade of the European mainland, to stop all incoming and outgoing trade. With this tactic employed France employed the same tactic and this is where the American claim of neutrality was violated. With both Britain and France mandating that any trade ship must first pass through their ports or be subject acts of hostility, America was forced into a no win situation. The United States who continued to try to remain neutral and continue trade with both countries, found itself thrown right in the middle of this age long battle. The United States and the British Royal Navy had several encounters, and after several ships being stopped for search and some even eventually seized, America began to develop an even stronger feeling of distrust and hatred for the British government. These actions lead eventually to the United States allying with, it's friend from the Revolution, the French. With James Madison becoming president in 1809, and with the War Hawks in Congress, America began to develop a very bitter attitude toward anyone who violated American rights on the homeland or on the high seas. The United States at the time was a newly formed country, with really no place in the current international system. Nevertheless, with the alignment with France, the United States became a major player in trying to stop the British in their continued push to have colonies on the North American continent. With the United States also having a plan to expand it borders to the north, you have a repeat of the scene in Europe. Britain is forced to fight a two front war against a very strong and dominant Napoleonic Army, and a less prepared both economically and in tactical skills, but determined United States force. So in one fact the international system turned lopsided against Britain, with France forming important alliances with both, Russia in Europe, and The United States in the west. In fact this was Britain's first scare of an invasion and possible defeat on its homeland, and then on it's Western front for the second time. This could have resulted in a shift in the international system to more of a uni-polar system, and Napoleon gaining the empire he craved. The United States could have possibly stretched from ocean to ocean and gulf to pole. State Analysis After examining the system, what did each state hope to gain from this war, well let's begin with France. Napoleon more than anything wanted to rule all of Europe and develop a French Empire that in some ways mirrored the early French Empires. France has always had a strong distrust and basic dislike of the British people, which in any case would lead to a very cautious approach, and an attitude of do unto before done unto. Napoleon had developed a basic dictatorship of the French government and all its branches of government. The French people we very trustful of their strong pretentious leader. The French people would also follow any order that would lead to the defeat of their arch enemy. If France were victorious in their quest, they would have had a continent full of resources as well as access to key ports on both the Atlantic Ocean as well as control of the English mainland. However, the English were successful in heading off the attack and stopping the advancement of Napoleon and his empire. The British were under the rule of the crown still and equally despised their counterparts. The English however did not set out to start a war with The United States; they were more worried about stopping Napoleon's advancement and would do whatever it took to stop it. The naval blockade was set up to cut off supplies and goods to the French mainland in hopes of wearing Napoleon down. The blockade and embargo required that all trade ships first dock at British docks and pass inspection before moving on to their final destinations. With these requirements Britain risked ...

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