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Summary Of Napoleon's Troublesome Americans By Peter Hill

1136 Words5 Pages

American diplomacy was everything during the Napoleonic wars. While students of history are sometimes distracted solely by the implications of the War of 1812, British and American hostile interactions were not all that was going on at the time. In fact, at the time, the United States was heavily involved with France, and as Peter Hill states in his book Napoleon’s Troublesome Americans “came within two votes of declaring war on Napoleon Bonaparte’s French empire” shortly before 1812.
In his book, Hill sheds light on the impact diplomacy had on the unfolding of events during the period of 1804-1815. Through the comprehensive analysis of both American and French archives, Hill brings a new perspective to the surface. Hill’s book suggests two …show more content…

After all, the nation declared war against the British in 1812 for a list of grievances many are aware of, but Hill’s in depth look indicates that the United States served as one of Great Britain’s greatest trade partners.
Losing the battle of Trafalgar in 1805 at the hands of Admiral Lord Nelson and the British Royal Navy was a pivotal loss for the French empire. After losing, the significant naval battle ensured that Napoleon would abandon any hope of invading the British Isles, and the Royal Navy’s maritime supremacy went unchallenged by Napoleon for the remainder of their ten-year war.
Because of this naval defeat, Napoleon’s only hope of conquering the British rested in depleting their export-dependent economy. As a result, the tacit trade agreements between the British and the United States, then the largest carrier of British products to continental markets, could not exist. Napoleon instituted a series of sanctions from 1806-1807 called the Continental System that aimed at dismantling British commerce by restricting all British goods from entering Europe. American shipmasters had their ships confiscated all in an effort to disturb the Britain’s export-driven economic …show more content…

While the United States claimed neutrality in the French-British conflict and traded under the principle of “free ships make free goods,” Napoleon saw no neutrals in his war against the British. For so as long as the Americans remained major trade partners of Britain, America continued to stand in the way of Napoleon’s ultimate goal of continental domination.
In some cases, Hill’s book reaches to make connections, but these events are entirely relevant to one another and spell reasoning for Napoleon’s hostility toward the supposedly neutral United States. Napoleon’s case is only furthered when the United States replies to both belligerents with trade sanctions.
The British countered to the Continental System in 1807 with the Order in Council, which imposed a blockade on all French goods. Because of the Britain’s naval strength, the Order in Council proved to be an effective counter-attack to France’s minimally effective blockades.
As a result of British retaliation to French trade sanctions, the United States decided to get involved when they issued the Embargo Act of

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