The War Of 1812 Essay

The War Of 1812 Term paper

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DBQ: The War of 1812 The War of 1812, known mainly for its division among Federalists and Republicans over support of the war, resulted in a united nation confident of its abilities and optimistic about its future Assess the validity of this statement The War of 1812, though a fairly minor military conflict, proved to be a historic turning point in American history. It had once again solidified the ideology of the United States as a federal unit, as opposed to various local governments. As the war raged on and Americans saw the astounding success of their country before their very eyes, they became confident in their abilities and optimistic about their future. John Mack Faragher, author of Out of Many: A History of the American People, stated that, although the War of 1812 brought Americans a few moments of glory, it was on the whole an ignominious struggle that gained them [Americans] little. This statement is clearly formulated from ignorance, and the events following the war would prove just that. The United States would establish a firm trade relationship with Great Britain, whom they were once enemies with. After all the fighting and conflicting views of these countries, it took extensive diplomatic relations to make it all possible. This alone foreshadowed the great success of this up-and-coming nation. With the British withdrawal from American soil after the war, westward expansion began to seem ever possible. The Virginia Dynasty (Madison and Monroe) would now be able to carry out the visions of former president, Thomas Jefferson. The agrarian republic envisioned by Jefferson was a becoming a very likely reality. One of the last major repercussions of the War of 1812 was that Americans were finding the spirit they had directly after the Revolution, once again. Colonies were no longer fully dependent, and this once confederate union was beginning to mount a comeback. The basis of the American economy was obviously its ability to trade, and trade is what we aimed to do with the British. Facts and figures show us that the economy of the United States, as well as England, flourished in times of peace before the American Revolution. Members of Congress, being fully aware of this truth were quick to establish trade relations with their bitter enemy. This very action displayed the fine diplomatic skills possessed by this young nation. Confidence and optimism soon followed behind this newly found gift. Even after all the bloodshed between the British and the Americans, they were able to put aside their differences and establish a peaceful trade relationship. This would help stimulate the new economy and prove to be the spine of American industries in the near future. It was almost the year 1815 and the hopes and dreams of westward expansion were soon becoming a reality. With the British forced to evacuate the United States under the guidelines of Jay s Treaty and the Treaty of Ghent, Americans were free to expand their horizons. Settlers were beginning to spread across the Old Northwest and the Old Southwest in hopes of a better lifestyle. There were many push and pull factors that contributed to this westward surge. The major reason that pushed settlers away from the Atlantic seaboard was the overpopulated cities and coastlines. Between 1800 and 1820, the American population nearly doubled, and there was simply not enough room for all the inhabitants. Pulling the people westward were the opportunity for new land, the elimination of Tecumseh s alliance, and most importantly, the cheap price of land. In the Land Act of 1820, Congress set a standard price for land at $1.25 an acre, with a minimum purchase of eighty acres and a $100 cash deposit. The Federal Road, the National Road, the Philadelphia-Pittsburgh Turnpike, the Baltimore-Wheeling Road, and the Mohawk-Genesee Turnpike all made it possible for easy transportation to the west. By 1824, the majority of Americans were making the trip out west and living the dream of westward expansion. The die-hard American spirit that once existed around the time of the Revolution was now making its way back into the hearts of most Americans. Madison once said, the war has renewed and reinstated the national feelings and character which the Revolution had given, and which were daily lessened. They had once again boosted there confidence, and proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that they will ultimately make it to the big show. An anonymous historian has said, Americans had fought for their chance to grow up. By not losing the war, Americans had ended their personal feelings of colonial dependency. They had developed a new sense of identity that would set them apart from any other nation. They also convinced Britain to stop thinking of America as its colony, and start regarding it as an equal nation. The War of 1812 without a doubt was one of the most important events in American history. The effects and repercussions of the war surpassed the popularity of the war itself. It, in essence, created the stepladder for all Americans to rise above the rest. Have we gained nothing by the war? Let any man look at the degraded condition of this country before the war the scorn of the universe, the contempt of ourselves and tell me, if we have gained nothing by the war? What is our present situation? Respectability and character abroad ;security and confidence at home. The bottom line of the discussion is that the War of 1812 had an astounding effect on our country and we had everything to gain from it. We established better trade relations with the British, and our economy prospered for it. Westward expansion, a long time dream of our country, had finally become a reality. The United States was beginning to spread out is forces and let its presence be felt by all people. Lastly, along with every great action is that illustrious attitude that America had begun to show. The effects of the War of 1812 were that of immense proportion and importance, and will live on and be apparent in our country today.

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