The resultingseizures of American merchant shipping quickly brought demands forretaliation in the United States. From 1794 on, however, tensions eased as theadministrations of George Washington and John Adams worked to avoiddiplomatic difficulties with the British. In the years between 1803 and 1812 relations between the United Statesand Great Britain again deteriorated sharply. France was now ruled byNapoleon, and the European struggle became more widespread. Beginning in1805 the British imposed much stricter marine blockades.
These orders severely restricted neutral trade with Europe. The effect ofthese blockades was compounded by the British practice of impressment. TheBritish navy claimed the right to stop neutral vessels on the high seas to lookfor “deserters. ” In the course of searching American ships, mistakes were oftenmade, and as a result many American seamen were impressed into the BritishFrom 1807 to 1811 the Democratic-Republican administrations of ThomasJefferson and James Madison attempted to change British policies by economiccoercion, restricting British imports as well as American exports to Great Britain.
The most severe of these measures was the Embargo Act, passed in December1807, which banned all exports and confined American shipping to the coastaltrade. When neither economic coercion nor negotiation changed Britishpolicies, war sentiment built in the United States. Adding to this time of tension between Great Britain and the UnitedStates were the War Hawks. In 1810 young Democratic-Republican “WarHawks” from the West and the South argued that the right to export Americanproducts without losing ships and men had to be defended. They also objectedto the British inciting the Indians along the Great Lakes frontier and argued thatthe British would be forced to change their policies if the United States attackedCanada.
Some believed that the future of republican government was in dangerif the United States could not successfully defend its rights. Others hoped that ifCanada was conquered it could be retained after the war. The War Hawks protested the incursions being made by Great Britain onthe United States’ maritime and commercial sovereignty – impressing sailors,blockading American ports, and violating American neutrality – but in fact theseviolations had little impact on the communities the War Hawks represented. Amore compelling reason for war with Great Britain, from the point of view ofthe War Hawks’ home districts, was the possibility that such a war might resultin American conquest of Canada, Florida, and Texas. Protests against Britain’sdisregard of American sovereignty fit into the War Hawks’ larger vision of anaggressive, expansionist republic insisting on its proper place in the world ofWar with Britain was inevitable.
There were too many outstandingactions by the British to warrant anything but war. Impression of Americanships was one of the biggest things that caused tension between the U. S. andGreat Britain, plus there were many more contributing factors that lead directlyto war.
It is absolutely hard to believe that the United States managed to avoidBibliography: