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Great Britain's Response To The War Of 1812

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The War of 1812 has been referred to as a victorious “Second War for Independence,” and used to define Canadian identity, but the British only remember 1812 as the year Napoleon marched to Moscow. This is not surprising. In British eyes, the conflict with America was an annoying sideshow. The Americans had stabbed them in the back while they, the British, were busy fighting a total war against the French Empire, directed by their most inveterate enemy. For a nation fighting Napoleon Bonaparte, James Madison was an annoying irrelevance. Consequently the American war would be fought with whatever money, manpower and naval force that could be spared, no more than seven percent of the total British military effort. Orders in Council War with America was a direct consequence of the Napoleonic conflict. Britain relied on a maritime economic blockade to defeat France. When American merchants tried to exploit their neutral status to breach this blockade,…show more content…
At the outset, they hoped that, by pointing out that the Orders in Council had been revoked, the U.S. would suspend hostilities. Instead, President Madison demanded an end to impressment, well aware that Britain would not make such a concession in wartime. And so Britain went to war, with no troops to spare to reinforce Canada; it would be defended by a handful of British regulars, Native Americans and Canadian militia. The British imposed the same devastating economic blockade that had crippled France, carefully targeting states like Virginia that had voted for war. By autumn 1814 the American economy had collapsed. British followed up with amphibious forces raiding around Chesapeake Bay, raising regiments of former slaves as they went. In August, 1814 four thousand British troops captured and burnt Washington,
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