Why Did the War of 1812 Start?

There were actually several reasons why the war of 1812 started. The official reason as made clear in the declaration of war by the United States of America to Great Britain was the Impression Issue that was made by the British Government under their Orders-in-Council.  This Impression Issue is an act whereby men are forced by the government for induction into military service.

Great Britain during those days was already fighting in another front, against Napoleon Bonaparte of France.  Great Britain was fighting alongside Spain and Portugal against the Army of Bonaparte who were trying to control the Iberian Peninsula which is composed of Spain and Portugal.  Although Great Britain has the biggest navy in the world at that time, the pay and living conditions of their sailors were harsh compared to sailors working on vessels of other countries.

This obtaining condition made many British navy men and sailors to desert their ship and work on American ships where pay was good and their living condition were much better than their navy ships, These desertions swelled in numbers that soon, the British navy realized an acute shortage of manpower for their ships.  With this condition, Great Britain promulgated the Orders-in-Council that effectively authorized the British Royal navy to stop and search ships of other countries even in high seas, to search for British sailors who have deserted their ships and to forcibly make them again work for the British navy.

Because nearly all of British navy deserters were working on American merchant ships, since the Americans do not still have their own navy,  these merchant ships were targeted by the British navy for searches in the high seas and to forcibly took able bodied seamen whom they suspected as deserters.  These very high handed practice of the British navy was seen as another reason why the war of 1812 started, because it irked many war “hawks” in the American congress to agitate for war against Great Britain.

Aside from this insulting practice being made by the British navy to the merchant fleet of America, the Americans got even angrier when the British naval fleet blockaded American vessels and embargoed their shipments intended for France which would add fuel as to why the war of 1812 started. This British move was in the context of their on-going war with the forces of Bonaparte in the Iberian Peninsula. With these reasons, the war “hawks” of the American congress were soon able to convince the American congress to declare war against Great Britain with the Impression Issue as the reason for going to war.

Another reason why the war of 1812 started and which many believed was the real motivation of the war “hawks” of the US congress to go to war with great Britain was their need to totally expel Great Britain from the remaining land still under British domain on the North American Peninsula.  They wanted to totally erase the remaining bastion of their mother country and attach these lands as new states of America. 

Although this reason in declaring war with Great Britain was not the official reason as to why the war of 1812 started, it can be discerned as to what the result of the two year war was able to achieve.  In fact, the Peace Treaty signed by America and great Britain in Europe in December of 1812 did not even bother to mention the official reason as to why the war of 1812 even started which was the Impression Issue…

30 thoughts on “Why Did the War of 1812 Start?”

  1. What started it was that Britian was taking american people and trying to force them to fight for them and if they didn`t they were killed.

  2. You have to realize that most of the sailors taken from American ships, were actually English, and after a while most of the Americans taken were returned to America.

  3. its funny how when Americans talk about the war of 1812 they leave out a lots of the teenage warfare involved with both sides are at fault for wanting more land. Americans were burning down bars and building and together as a country us Canadian’s weren’t much better trying to burn down the Whitehouse. the only reason Canadian’s won was heart and the British finished the war in France witch help Canada and the U.S.A.
    and I would also like to put thank god we became friends because without Canada the state would never live you guys are the muscles but we have all the resources. I hope someone has something to say about this.

  4. thanks i really need to learn more about everything because im going to this new school called the DSBN Accademe and its focuss is colledge or university. 🙂

  5. Wow….Just wow…. What a way to half-rewrite History so it obey your preconceived ideas.

    The Impression Issue is one factor why the US went to war with the same importance the assassination of Ferdinand started WW1:N-E-G-L-I-G-I-B-L-E. In fact, it was used to gain support for the war from the population.

    The “war Hawks” like you write, waited as long as they could AND waited the opportunistic moment to force the British to respect the treaty they signed at the end of the Revolutionary war. The British did not pull out all their troops from the US per their agreement.r. Moreover, the British supplied the local tribes with arms and those tribes were attacking colonists.

    In fact, the British were waging war on the US already indirectly. A little bit like Iran is waging war on Israel by arming the Palestinian government.

    Thank you

  6. There are always stated (zomg, weapons of mass destruction!), which more often than not prove fictitious, and unstated reasons (control of middle eastern energy reserves) for war. In the case of 1812, the stated reason for war was the detention of sailors from U.S. ships by British naval personnel. This in reality, however, affected very few people and had little if any economic impact. The unstated reason was the perceived opportunity for an easy land grab in Canada (while Britain was busy at war with France), which hawks in congress had been contemplating for quiiiiite some time before hostilities: “the conquest of Canada will be a mere matter of marching.” Apparently it wasn’t, but the fact that invading Canada was being discussed long before the pretext of sailor detention was raised pretty much deprives the pretext of any credibility.

  7. Thanks lots. I’m in GATE [gifted and talented education] in 7th grade and we are learning about this, and she gave us two essay questions on it! Thanks alotttt!!!!!!!!! It really helped me answer them.

  8. Hi my name is luke. I think that this info is great but were are the people what made it. So i can give creid to the people that made it. P.S WE SHOULD ALL LOVE JESUS CHRIST. 🙄

  9. Those were all good reasons, but the biggest reason, was seizing our merchants and forcing them to fight in the British Army. And, forgive me, but it wasn’t our fault they were treated so badly. The British didn’t just take back their men, but abducted ours, as well. And how could our merchants know that most of these men were deserters? They might have, but there is enough question there to light on that part of it.

  10. Thank you so much!!! This helped me finish a section of a essay that is super hard! Do more things like this!!! 8)


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