The Cause of An Insignificant War: War of 1812

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The War of 1812 was one of the most insignificant wars in U.S. history which despite its failure to accomplish its strategic goals, the country showed the world that the U.S., military could stand up to the British on land. Bradford Perkins presented a short but brilliant account on the root cause of the war, by offering two thesis’s to support the claim that the land hunger, the loss of commerce, and national honor were the main causes. Right from the start Perkins argued that the war of 1812 was the product of resentment at various British actions which challenged American sovereignty on sea, and on land. He thus tries to explain how the two theories (land hunger and national honor) emerged, and the main issues which led to the cause of the war.

Indeed, many historians would agree that war was necessary, and the U.S. would have to win if it wanted to gain its true independence and be seen as a sovereign power. The Napoleonic wars in Europe made it impossible for Britain to give in to U.S., demands, since they felt the U.S., was in no position to threaten the British Empire with its control of the sea lanes. The issue for America was neutral rights that she felt as a neutral state she should be able to trade with any country including Britain and France. However, Napoleon saw things differently as he consolidated his control over most of Europe by capturing American ships which traded with the British under his Berlin decrees in order to starve the British of food and war materials.

Consequently, in order to avoid any disruption in its trade, survivability, and to forestall any invasion; Britain was forced to issue a similar orders in council-which forbids trade with France unless such vessel stops at a British port and gets ...

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...each its true potential. Naturally, like the British, they simply weren’t going to sit by and let the country fall apart and create more economic hardships for it farmers. And even if they were to lose against the might of the British Empire; the country was willing to fight until they gain recognition, and acceptance as a sovereign power.

All in all this was a very good book which presented many hypothesis on the cause of the War of 1812. Perkins thus provided a solid presentation of the main cause of the War of 1812. His land hunger thesis, made it possible to look at different hypothesis, which allows the reader to draws their own personal conclusion from visits to the areas he discussed. I believe the author accomplished what he set out to do, by giving an honest representation of the War of 1812, and his book should be a must read for all history students.

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