War of 1812 The significance of the War of 1812 was the failed attempt at stricter economic regulations, an increase in respect from European powers and how the perception of the war led to the demise of the Federalist Party. Before the War of 1812 Britain had absolutely no respect for American neutrality on the high seas and also in relation to the blockading of ports of neutral countries without warning. It could be argued that the war was fought for the sake of being respected as a legitimate neutral country that would not have its rights ignored by foreign countries.
A letter that President James Madison wrote shows how many viewed Britain’s acts against the United States when he said that “Abandoning still all more respect for the neutral rights of the United States… ” (Madison pg1626). These issues were the main reason that the war was even fought. However the Treaty of Ghent – that ended the war – did not actually address any of the issues that had sparked the initial conflict but instead was more of a return to the conditions before the start of the war.
However the fighting at locations such as New Orleans had the Americans shown in a new light where they stood up once again for what they believed in. However this time it was for the rights of neutral nations whereas compared to the Revolutionary War that was based more on the idea they were fighting more for the right to form a democracy – government for the people. This caused America to gain respect in the eyes of Europe which in turn caused the issues with Britain to come to a stop due to this newfound European respect of America.
Before the War of 1812, a trade embargo was put into place to try to get Britain to acknowledge the United States as a neutral country and respect their political sovereignty. embargoes while a good idea in theory often harm the merchants of the country that enacted them. However they could hurt the enemies economy if they relied upon a resource that the country with the tariff controlled. Stricter economic regulations would more than likely require stronger enforcement, which would involve giving more power to a group of people or organization in charge of maintaining these new policies.
This would result in more money going towards the navy to patrol the coastline and giving more power to a group to make sure that these policies were followed. As for the case of the War of 1812 trade embargoes that were used often had little to no effect as in the case with Britain they can often find other nations to trade with. Also New England merchants ignored the regulations and traded with Britain and its territories without consequence as they had become favored by the British and were given special treatment with their trading licenses – which were given to them by Britain – (“American Trade Restrictions” pg528).
To counteract this Congress made it to so that any merchant trading with a British license could have their merchandise seized (“American Trade Restrictions” pg529). These were more extreme measures than those that were in place previously. These were needed because Britain was not affected much by these policies as merchants had to make a profit thus many did not abide by the regulations which harmed the effort to restrict trading with the enemy. By the end of the war the United States realized that these stricter measures only created more opposition to the economic regulations.
During the War of 1812, the Federalists were the party that opposed the war. They opposed it from the very beginning and throughout most of the war they blamed the initial failure on the Republican Party and their political agenda. This caused them to question the Party and they were not afraid to make sure that their voice was heard. The perception of the war affected the Federalists chances to make more people question the Republican Party, as when the outcome of the war was in uestion people were more open to the proposals that the Federalists had made.
British soldiers burning down the White House would have been a clear indicator at the time to the American people that Madison and the Republicans war policy was failing. This would have made them more open to new political ideas or a replacement of the current government officials in power. The Federalist Party tried to use the bad direction that the war was going in to address some points that they viewed were unfair to their regional political representation.
New England was the main region that these proposals affected. However these proposals would affect the entire Federal government. At first this proposal was received with some enthusiasm support with the Gazette saying that “No sensible man ought to expect that the first New England Convention would do as much as the last out of several congresses of the patriots of the revolution” (“A Forgotten Conflict” 278-279). This was due to the fact that the Convention was started in the midst of the failure of the war.
By the time the delegates brought the results of the convention the American public had already heard of Andrew Jackson and his stand against the invading British who outnumbered his forces and of the Treaty of Ghent. This changed the perception of the war. Now instead of viewing the policies of the Republican Party as a failure they viewed them as a success. This change in perception caused many Americans to view the results from the Convention as unfavorable and even worse as unpatriotic.
Viewing these proposed changes as unpatriotic caused the collapse of the already weakened Federalist Party. The change in perception was an underlying factor in this and if not for Jackson’s victory there was a chance that some of these changes could have been picked up by the United States government. The war of 1812 was significant in the fact that it changed the political landscape, helped to grant the United States a better position amongst other powerful nations and helped to eliminate the extreme economic regulations that put the nation in a great deal of economic stress.