Essay about American Citizenship From British Press Gangs

Essay about American Citizenship From British Press Gangs

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In the hope of protecting Americans from British press gangs, the United States had been issuing certificates of citizenship. These “protections” as they were called were like modern identification cards or passports, but instead of a photograph they contained a description of the individual. Age, height, hair and eye color, and any other distinguishing features were typically included, but often the descriptions were vague. Therefore, it was not difficult for a British seaman to acquire papers that roughly matched his appearance. Some Americans who had no intention of going to sea applied for a certificate to sell to a British sailor. For a minimal fee a British tar could instantly become an American citizen without much effort. Under these circumstances, it is hardly surprising that British officials gave little credit to the documents. The flagrant misuse of the official documents of American citizenship forced the British to look at all such documents with the utmost distrust. (Hickey, D.R. 1989)
Attitudes toward war with Britain divided primarily along geographic lines. Two key regions supported the war, each for its own reasons. The West (now the upper Midwest) hoped war with Britain would further its expansionist goals. In addition, some also felt that Britain 's behavior at sea had insulted the nation 's honor. The South joined the West in advocating war, even though the various trade embargoes had hurt Southern planters trading with Britain. Southerners focused their own expansionist sights on Florida. War with Britain would justify an invasion of Florida, then held by British-allied Spain. By 1811, a group of western and southern War Hawks dominated Congress and pressed their claims to restore American honor and...


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...e to compromise and end the War of 1812. Americans withdrew their two major demands. That Britain stops impressing American seaman and officially acknowledges neutral trade rights and freedom of the seas. Both sides knew that Britain’s European victory meant England would now honor those neutral rights. The Treaty of Ghent thus signified that, officially at least, the war had changed nothing, and the terms of peace were such that conditions were now the same as they had been prior to the war. (Schweikart, Larry, & Allen, Michael, 2014).
The irony is that the Battle of New Orleans was actually unnecessary. The war had ended two weeks earlier, but news had not reached the troops in the South. Jackson emerged as a war hero. American pride and the newfound nationalism took hold of the country and America was rapidly becoming and equal to any power in Europe.

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