War of 1812
1812 – War of 1812
War of 1812
After the United States gained its independence from Britain, Europe underwent a great upheaval. First, the French Revolution caused significant harm to political ideologies and European trade. After the Revolution, first France, and then most of Europe, fell under the power of Napoleon Bonaparte. Napoleon instituted a trade embargo known as the Continental System to weaken Britain (which remained free from French control) by cutting off its trade and access to raw materials. As such, the British economy began to suffer greatly. The British government was desperate for a solution to this problem and turned toward the New World for an answer.
The British government decided that it needed to subjugate America in order to regain control of its resources. However, Britain did not wish an all-out conflict, as its military had been weakened by the conflict in Europe. The United States misunderstood the intentions of the British and sent Britain a declaration of war. Neither side desired to fight, and much of the War of 1812 was spent in minor skirmishes. But due to poor American naval strategy, the British were able to sail up the Potomac River and burn the White House. For a time, it appeared that America would be defeated, but after the fall of Napoleon in 1814, Britain no longer had a reason to go to war, and they resumed normal trade with the United States, beginning a strategic partnership that still remains in force.