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James Madison Essay

1832 words - 8 pages

President James Madison held the white house office from 1808-1816. During his tenure he had to deal with the ramifications of his policies from when he was Secretary of State under Thomas Jefferson and The War of 1812. These two major points are what shaped most of his presidential terms. It was his second term that helped with the postwar expansion of America and the split in the Democratic Party system. It was also during his second term that he helped America gain it’s economic independence from Great Britain. After his terms of office were over he retired home to his plantation and joined an university council to help settle disputes about issues among the states such as the freed ...view middle of the document...

Madison entered the war of 1812 due to two key points. One was his enacting of the embargo on the British due to the urging and talks with the French. Second was due to the “war hawks” Henry Clay and John Calhoun who pushed to conquer Canada and pursue free expansion. Between those two points and Madison’s list of complaints against Britain to Congress, war was entered in June of 1812.

Madison didn’t believe in the war and disagreed with Congress’s decision. He believed the war was not sanctioned by the United States own Constitution and had wanted their input on what course of action they should take to prevent the British interference in their trade. However it was left to a vote, and the House of Representatives with a vote of 79 to the Senate’s 49 had war declared.

It was the beginning of Madison’s second term when the war of 1812 started. To Madison and the war hawks, this was a second war of independence. This war presented them an opportunity to gain the lands of Canada and also drive the Spanish out of Florida and prevent their attempts of starting an Indian uprising in the Northwest. It was an opportunity that even Madison who despised the war, couldn’t just ignore since it would benefit the country as a whole if they succeeded and while it was against his personal beliefs he set those aside in favor of his country.

In preparation for the war, which was largely led by the war hawks, the United States aimed mostly for the lands of Canada and had planned to stage the beginning of the war across the Great Lakes. The military had planned to drive themselves up north and cut off Upper Canada from the lower half which held most of the pro-British Indian tribes fought with the British. However this plan failed and the American military was forced to retreat back. The British urged on by this victory retaliated and the forces of Detroit and Western New York were lost. Within Months of this war most of Americas Northwest Territory had been lost to British forces. Despite the hard beginning of the war Madison saw improvement when things began to turn around in the spring of 1813.

It was due to Oliver Perry’s defeat of the British fleet at Lake Erie and then his subsequent victory over the British controlled New York that turned the tide of the war. With these victories the Americans morale soared and President Madison using this had William Harrison lead an attack against Tecumseh at the battle of the Thames River. With this victory by the Kentucky force, the native resistances in the north dwindled. In the following spring of 1814 General Andrew Jackson and his militia, aided by local native tribes, defeated the last of Tecumseh’s forces in the battle of Horse-shoe Bend.

By the late spring of the same year the British had made a turnaround against Napoleon’s and were able to launch a full scale offensive movement against America. The British Navy made raids from southern Georgia up to Northern Maine. The British then set their sights...

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