Chapter 12 (14th)

The Second War for Independence and the Upsurge of Nationalism

  1. On to Canada Over Land and Lakes
    1. The War of 1812 was very divisive to America. Sections were staunchly for it or against it. Generally, the West and South were for the war, the Northeast was hotly against it.
    2. In many ways, the war was very disorganized.
      1. Loaded with naive ambition of easily gaining lands, the Americans attacked "On to Canada!" The attack was poorly planned and poorly executed by poor generals. The Americans lost.
          1. In hindsight, taking Montreal would have made the rest of the cities wither away.
          2. Instead, the Americans attacked Detroit, Niagara, and Lake Champlain, losing each battle.
          3. The Canadians did quite well. They defended their lands and even took the American fort at Michilimackinac on the northern area of the Great Lakes.
    3. After these eye-opening defeats, the Americans had some successes…
      1. Oliver Hazard Perry built a fleet of ships on the shores of Lake Erie. He then won a battle there and reported, "We have met they enemy and they are ours." This forced the Brits out of Detroit.
      2. As they evacuated Detroit, William Henry Harrison's forces engaged and defeated the British at the Battle of the Thames. This is where Tecumseh was killed.
      3. The British still planned to attack New York City via the Lake Champlain/Hudson River route. They assembled a sizeable force and headed down the lake. Young American Cpt. Thomas MacDonough engaged the British and, just before being defeated, turned his ship with cables to broadside and defeat the British. MacDonough's victory forced the British to halt their plan and thus saved New York and prevented New England from being severed from the nation.
  2. Washington Burned and New Orleans Defended
    1. The war then turned to the Chesapeake Bay area.
      1. The British landed and ran off 6,000 Americans at Bladensburg and then marched to Washington D.C. The British burnt the new capital to the ground (including the White House and Congress).
      2. The British then sailed to Baltimore but were stopped at Ft. McHenry. During the battle, Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner describing the battle and how the American flag stood throughout the night.
    2. The war also moved into the South.
      1. The British targeted New Orleans—this put the entire Mississippi Valley in jeopardy.
      2. Andrew Jackson had just won against Indians at the Battle of Horseshoe Bend in Alabama. He assembled a 7,000 man mosaic of an army—sailors, soldiers, pirates, Frenchmen, militiamen, and black troops (this was unheard of at the time).
      3. The British had 8,000 regular troops and were over-confident. At the Battle of New Orleans, Jackson scored the victory in January of 1815—the largest battle of the war.
      4. News hit Washington D.C. the same time as news of the Treaty of Ghent ending the war. Oddly, the treaty had ended the war two weeks before the Battle of New Orleans. Still, Jackson was given credit for winning the war and instantly became a national hero.
    3. The British navy was roused. It blockaded the American coast, landed and raided at will, and fouled up American fishing.
  3. The Treaty of Ghent
    1. Delegates from both side met in Ghent, Belgium to work out a peace deal.
    2. Bucked-up from victories, the British made bold demands. The British wanted an Indian buffer zone created, control of the Great Lakes, and part of Maine.
      1. The Americans rejected this proposal.
    3. Military failures made the British more acceptable to bargain.
    4. The Treaty of Ghent (Dec. 1814) was an armistice (a cease-fire) that ended the War of 1812.
      1. Both sides simply agreed to lay down their arms. No land or booty was given or taken. The main issue of the war, impressment, was even left unmentioned.
  4. Federalist Grievances and the Hartford Convention
    1. Just prior to the end of the war, New England took action against the war itself. New Englanders had long been hurt by the trade restrictions and feuding with England. Some, the "Blue Lights", had even helped the British ships by warning them with lanterns.
    2. The Hartford Convention (Dec. 1814 to Jan. 1815) was organized. Delegates from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, and Rhode Island met in Hartford, CT. New England's goal at the meeting was to decide what to do about the war.
      1. Their was some talk of secession.
      2. Officially, they (a) called for monetary help from Washington, and (b) wanted to require a 2/3 vote for an embargo, new state, or war.
      3. They marched to Washington to make their proposal but the timing was terrible. News of Jackson's victory at New Orleans, then the end of the war, made them look like unpatriotic crybabies.
      4. Also, this was one of the last spikes in the Federalist coffin.
  5. The Second War for American Independence
    1. The War of 1812 in reality was just small piece of a larger European war. Whereas Napoleon had invaded with 500,000, Madison had invaded with 5,000.
      1. The importance of the war came in what the Americans won…respect. America showed it'd fight at the drop of a hat, even against the strongest nation in the world, and go toe-to-toe. Although the U.S. didn't win land or money, it won credibility in other nation's eyes.
    2. There were other side-effects of the war…
      1. The Federalist Party was all but done.
      2. New war heroes had emerged—Andrew Jackson and William Henry Harrison would both become president.
      3. There was an upsurge of patriotism and sense of national pride. The feeling of national unity was at its highest point yet.
    3. Canada (a British colony) felt that England had let them down. They feared another American attack and wanted the Indian buffer zone that didn't occur.
      1. The Rush-Bagot agreement (1817 between the U.S. and England limited both sides' naval power on the Great Lakes. Canada was nonplussed again.
          1. This treaty showed that England and the U.S. were getting along fine. Eventually, the world's longest unfortified border (5,527 miles) would exist between the U.S. and Canada.
    4. When Napoleon lost at Waterloo, Europe went back to its old days. For America, Europe was off of her back and Americans began to focus on America and to look westward.
  6. Nascent Nationalism This content copyright © 2010 by
    1. Nationalism was born after the war in many forms…
      1. American writers emerged in Washington Irving (Rumpelstiltskin and The Knickerbocker Tales such as The Legend of Sleepy Hollow) and James Fenimore Cooper (The Leatherstocking Tales which included The Last of the Mohicans). These men wrote stories or fiction set in America. Previously, American writings had been political pieces (like Common Sense) or practical writings (like Poor Richard's Almanack), not fiction.
      2. Also, the North American Review was first published in 1815. Histories were being written by American, not European, authors. And painters began painting American landscape scenes (not mimicking European art).
    2. Washington D.C. was reborn after being burnt, the military was strengthened.
    3. Stephen Decatur, the hero at Tripoli in the Barbary Coast skirmishes, made a famous toast saying, "Our country! In her intercourse with foreign nations may she always be in the right; but our country, right or wrong!"
  7. “The American System”
    1. After the war, England began to swamp America with cheap goods. This struck hard at America's infantile industry.
      1. Congress responded by passing the protective Tariff of 16. It assessed a rate of 20-25% on imports and was America's first tariff.
    2. Henry Clay, Speaker of the House, initiated the American System—an economic plan for the country. It had three proposals…
      1. A strong banking system.
      2. Set up a protective tariff to boost American industry.
      3. Build a strong transportation network of roads and canals.
          1. The nation's poor transportation network had been painfully visible during the War of 1812.
          2. Essentially, the West would be connected to the East. The South didn't care for or need roads as they used their river systems to ship goods to market.
    3. When Clay asked for federal money for "internal improvements" (building roads, canals, etc.) many people balked. Pres. Madison vetoed the bill.
      1. The opponents' complaint was that since these things were not in the Constitution, they should be left up to the states (10th Amendment). They took a "strict constructionist" approach.
      2. This foreshadowed future similar disputes and even the debate over slavery.
      3. Some states went ahead and make their own improvements. Notably, New York dug the Erie Canal, completed in 1825.
  8. The So-Called Era of Good Feelings
    1. James Monroe was elected president in 1816. The Federalist party vanished. This was called the Era of Good Feelings because…
      1. There was only one political party (Republicans)—supposedly, the nation was united rather than split.
      2. There was an upsweep of nationalism after the war.
    2. However, seeds of sectional troubles were planted, such as…
      1. The South did not like the tariff saying it only benefited the North and made the South pay higher prices.
      2. The South disliked the internal improvements linking the North and West. The South didn’t see any benefits in paying taxes for roads and canals in other states.
  9. The Panic of 1819 and the Curse of Hard Times
    1. An economic panic struck in 1819. This quieted the "Good Feelings" as hard times set in.
      1. The cause of the panic was over-speculation in land. Notably, over-speculation, or buying too much on credit, caused nearly every panic in the 1800s and the Great Depression.
      2. The results of the panic were bankruptcies, companies going out of business, unemployment, people losing their farms, and deflation (drop in prices).
    2. The 1819 panic started an almost predictable chain of panics or recessions. An economic panic occurred nearly every 20 years during the 1800s (1819, 1837, 1857, 1873, 1893).
    3. The West was hit the hardest by the panic.
      1. When the Bank of the U.S. felt the strain of the panic, they called in loans to western "wildcat" banks. They went bankrupt, farmers lost their farms, and the B.U.S. was blamed.
          1. This distrust of eastern banks was the birth of the Jacksonian democracy.
      2. The number of debtors in debtor prisons rose as well.
  10. Growing Pains of the West
    1. By 1819, nine frontier states had joined the original 13. They'd mostly been admitted alternately, slave state then free state, etc.
    2. The American urge to move westward and cheap land fueled "Ohio Fever." The reasons for the expansion were…
      1. The need for new and better soil. Farmers back east had mostly engaged in "land butchery" where they farmed the land until it was sterile, then moved on.
      2. Transportation also made travel easier.
          1. Better roads existed, namely the Cumberland Road to Illinois.
          2. The steamboat was soon coming, making two-way river travel possible.
      3. The Land Act of 1820 allowed buyers to purchase 80 acres at $1.25 per acre (as a minimum).
      4. "Wildcat banks" gave easy credit. The banks printed their own paper money then lent it out liberally to anyone wanting to buy land.
  11. Slavery and the Sectional Balance
    1. Also in 1819, Missouri wanted to become a slave state. This created a problem—the equal balance of slave-free states would be tipped to the pro-slavery side. The northern states would not have this.
      1. In the House, the Tallmadge Amendment was put forth to limit slavery in Missouri. It proposed that (a) no more slaves be allowed into Missouri and (b) that slaves born to Missouri slave parents would gradually emancipated.
      2. This amendment was voted down in the Senate where southern states had an equal vote (thanks to the slave-free balance).
    2. From the southern perspective, the Tallmadge Amendment was seen as a possible tip of the iceberg. Southerners thought, "Next, perhaps northerners will try to liberate all of the South."
    3. The other southern worry centered on population—the North was growing much larger than the South. This meant northerners outnumbered southerners in the House. Even still, southerners had equal representation in the Senate and therefore could halt any unwanted bills.
  12. The Uneasy Missouri Compromise
    1. Missouri's road to statehood was blocked. The Missouri Compromise broke the deadlock by agreeing…
      1. Missouri would be admitted as a slave state; Maine would be admitted as a free state. (The balance moved from 11 free states and 11 slave states to 12 and 12).
      2. Regarding future slave land, an east-west line was drawn at 36°30’. All new states north of the 36°30’ line would be free, new states southward would be slave.
    2. As a true compromise, both sides gained something, both sides gave up something.
    3. The compromise worked for about 26 years. Then, new lands acquired from Mexico opened the question of what to do about the "peculiar institution" (slavery).
    4. 1820 was an election year. The Panic of 1819 and dispute over Missouri should've doomed Pres. James Monroe. But, the Federalists were so that he won a resounding re-election.
  13. John Marshall and Judicial Nationalism
    1. During the "Era of Good Feelings," a political tug-o-war was being waged in the Supreme Court between the federal and state governments. Who would win was unclear and depended on the Supreme Court's pattern of decisions.
      1. The court's leader, Chief Justice John Marshall, was a federalist in his philosophy and therefore leaned to the strong federal government side.
    2. McCulloch vs. Maryland (1819)—The "Elastic Clause Case."
      1. Details: Maryland tried to tax the Bank of the U.S. Chief Justice Marshall invoked Hamilton's "implied powers" and declared the B.U.S. constitutional.
      2. Importance: The Elastic Clause was officially recognized and used. The Constitution had been written in more general terms rather than specific, and therefore could be interpreted rather than read strictly verbatim. Score one point for the federal government, zero for the states.
    3. Cohens vs. Virginia (1821)—The "Lottery Case."
      1. Details: The Cohens family sold lottery tickets in Virginia, which was illegal by state law. They argued that there was a federal law saying it was legal. Which law applied?
      2. Importance: The Supreme Court showed it had the power to review state court decisions (in cases involving the powers of the federal government). Two points for the federal government, zero for the states.
    4. Gibbons vs. Ogden (1824)—The "Steamboat Case."
      1. Details: Robert Fulton had invented the steamboat and hired Gibbons to pilot the boat along the Hudson River. New York had awarded them monopoly rights to do so. Ogden infringed on the monopoly and ran his own boat, was prosecuted and convicted.
      2. Importance: The Supreme Court said New York was wrong to award a monopoly because the Constitution says that only Congress can regulate interstate trade, not the states. Federal government 3, states 0.
  14. Judicial Dikes Against Democratic Excesses
    1. Fletcher vs. Peck (1810)—The "Land Scam Contract Case."
      1. Details: After being bribed, Georgia gave away millions of acres along the Yazoo River. A contract was made. Later, when the people found out about the corruption, a state law was passed revoking the contract. Would it stand?
      2. Importance: The Supreme Court said a contract is a contract and the Constitution says it can't be broken by state laws. Federal government 4, states 0.
    2. Dartmouth College vs. Woodward (1819)—The "College Charter Case."
      1. Details: This is very similar to the Fletcher case. Dartmouth College had been awarded a charter by King George III but New Hampshire revoked it. Alum Sen. Daniel Webster argued the case saying, "It is, sir, as I have said, a small college. And yet there are those who love it." Would the charter stand?
      2. Importance: The Supreme Court said the charter was a contract and, like Fletcher, states could not encroach on contracts. Federal government 5, states 0.
    3. Tag-team of John Marshall presiding over the Supreme Court and Sen. Daniel Webster arguing won cases for the federal government over and over again.
      1. A clear pattern was emerging—the federal government and power was winning out over state government.
      2. Also, a clear pattern of worry was rising in the South. The South's worry was that the federal government would encroach on states' rights and ultimately on slavery.
  15. Sharing Oregon and Acquiring Florida
    1. After the War of 1812 America was more of an international peer. Sec. of State John Quincy Adams vigorously ran and applied U.S. foreign policy.
    2. The Treaty of 1818 was made with England over the Canada border.
      1. The treaty drew a border line at 49° from Lake of the Woods (MN) westward to the Rocky Mountains.
      2. The prosperous fishing waters of Newfoundland would be shared.
      3. For the time, Oregon would be jointly occupied.
    3. Florida was becoming something of a headache to the American states.
      1. The flag over Florida had changed frequently. Spain had regained control by the 18-teens. Also, Florida was home to run-away slaves and unpredictable Indians.
      2. A rash of Latin revolutions swept through South America at this time as the spirit of liberty spread. Andrew Jackson decided to seize the moment.
          1. Jackson got the okay from Congress to enter Florida, capture run-away slaves, and punish the Indians.
          2. Jackson took matters into his own hands and took over. A few leaders were hanged (Indian and English) and two Spanish posts were taken in the panhandle. The Spanish governor escaped.
      3. Although Jackson had over-stepped his orders, John Quincy Adams wasn't going to give up what was in his hand.
          1. The "Florida Purchase Treaty" was made with Spain. In it, (a) America paid $5 million and got Florida, (b) Spain gave up a claim to Oregon and America gave up a claim to Texas, and (c) the southern limit of Oregon was set at 42° latitude.
  16. The Menace of Monarchy in America
    1. After the chaos of the French Revolution Napoleon's empire, Europe wanted to get back to the old days of monarchy. They reasoned: democracy brought chaos, monarchy brought order.
      1. Steps were taken in Europe for the monarch and aristocrats to re-assert their control.
      2. This worried Americans—their reach just might come across the Atlantic to the Americas.
    2. On this matter, Russia would be the European nation that first got America's attention.
      1. The Russians had a claim on the Pacific Northwest coast down to 51°. They were pressuring to assert their claim and had trading posts all the way down to San Francisco. This was a threat to America.
    3. England was also scheming.
      1. London was clearly taking a maverick route and not cooperating with the continental European nations after the Napoleonic wars.
      2. Instead, British foreign secretary George Canning offered a deal the American minister in London. He proposed the U.S. and England make a statement they'd not grab any Latin American land. This statement would also warn any other European nations to also stay out of Latin America.
      3. The American representative deferred to President Monroe.
  17. Monroe and His Doctrine
    1. Looking at England's proposal, John Quincy Adams saw what might be a wolf in sheep's clothing. He wondered… "Why would the U.S. tie her hands for the future?" and "Why does the U.S. need to join England in this?"
      1. "Why would the U.S. tie her hands for the future?" One day, American interests just might be in Latin America.
      2. "Why does the U.S. need to join England in this?" The British navy would keep order in Latin America for British shipping whether the U.S. was with her or not.
    2. It seemed clear for the U.S. to assert her newfound power and stand on her own.
    3. The Monroe Doctrine (1823) asserted (a) European non-colonization of the Americas and (b) non-intervention.
      1. In other words, it told Europe that the days of colonization in the Americas are over. And, Europe should stay out of American affairs (North, Central, Latin, or South America). It was a "KEEP OUT" sign.
      2. The Doctrine was issued most directly in response to Russia. It was applied to all Europeans nations however.
      3. In return, Monroe said the U.S. would stay out of Greece's fight for democratic independence against the Turks.
  18. Monroe’s Doctrine Appraised
    1. Europe was not happy about the Monroe Doctrine. The upstart U.S. was speaking very boldly. Plus, although they'd been snubbed in their offer of going together with the U.S., the British navy would actually uphold the doctrine.
    2. Latin Americans weren't enthusiastic about the doctrine. They understood the British navy supplied the muscle and that the U.S. wasn't being the good big sister, but looking out for her own interests.
    3. The Monroe Doctrine had little effect at the time. But, in time, it grew in stature.
      1. The Russians had started drawing back even before the doctrine. The Russo-American Treaty of 1824 set the southern boundary of Russian land at 54° 40'.
      2. The doctrine was not law. One president could simply undo it, if desired, by taking a different course. But, it grew to become a basic American guideline for foreign policy.
      3. It had the good effect of showing American nationalism and exerting a new vigor. It had the bad effect of making Americans think they were isolated from European matters just because they said so.

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Except for the 11th edition American History pages, the content of this site is copyright © 2010 by and may not be copied or redistributed. It is protected at