"Tecumseh and the War of 1812"
After the War of American Independence, it took many years for things to settle down.
Many Americans thought the whole of North America should be theirs. In 1812, problems
between Britain, Canada, and the United States became so serious that war broke out. Officially,
the war was between the U.S. and Britain, but it was fought in the North American colonies. A
major cause of the war was American anger that U.S. ships were being stopped and searched by
the Royal Navy. This alone would not have led to a war, but the U.S. Congress was dominated
by a group of men known as "War Hawks." They believed it was a prime opportunity to drive
the British out of Canada once and for all.
The Americans thought it would be easy to conquer Canada and didn't expect much
opposition. They underestimated the former Americans living in the colonies and the conquered
French would join them in defeating the British. They were wrong; both wanted to remain under
British rule. The bulk of the fighting was borne by the professional British soldiers and was
supported by Canadian militiamen and also by native troops. The native fighters included Chief
Tecumseh and others from both side of the border. This essay will now discuss how Tecumseh
and his warriors supported the British and Canadians in turning back the U.S. forces in the War
So why was Tecumseh so eager to help the British and Canadians in the War of 1812?
Tecumseh had lost both his father and a brother to white settlers. He himself had fought his first
battle against the white man when he was 15. The American-born Tecumseh had allied himself
with the British because of his struggles against the Americans who had taken over more and
more of his people's land in the Ohio Valley. Tecumseh dreamed of forming a large-scale
confederacy of tribes that would be strong enough to defend native lands from American settlers
and from the U.S. troops that supported them. He hoped that a British victory would help
"The whites have driven us from the sea to the lakes. We can go no further…unless every
tribe unanimously combines to give a check to ambition and avarice of the whites they will soon
conquer us apart and disunited and we will be driven from our native country and scattered as
autumn leaves before the wind."
In June of 1812 when the war broke out Tecumseh joined the British, was commissioned
a brigadier-general and participated in the battles which preceded General William Hull's
surrender at Detroit. Tecumseh met the British General Issac Brock early in the war, and they
formed an immediate friendship. Brock admired Tecumseh because he seemed to understand
military operations as if he were a trained soldier. Brock sent the American General, Hull, a