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  • During the Napoleonic Wars, the British were desperate for seamen to join the navy.
  • With recruits low in GB, the British "press gangs" illegally preyed on American sailors and pressed (conscripted) them into service for the Royal Navy.
  • Between 1803 and 1812, approximately 10,000 Americans were pressed into servitude on British vessels.
  • On July 12, 1812, U.S. Gen. Hull proclaimed Canadian citizens would "be emancipated from tyranny and oppression” once his troops invaded Ontario.
  • By Jan. 1813, three failed attempts to seize Canada had taken place, thus, embarrassing the Americans.
  • In April 1813, the Americans got their act together and were able to win multiple battles on Canadian soil over the next year. They took control of Lake Erie and Fort George and reclaimed Detroit.
  • American troops also captured York (T.O.) where they burned government buildings across the city. By Dec. 1813 however, the British had pushed the Americans back out.
  • In Aug., 1814, the British retaliated by setting fire to the White House and other govt. buildings in Washington D.C.
  • The British held the city for just 26 hrs., however, it marks the only time since the American Revolutionary War that a foreign power has captured and occupied the U.S. capital
  • President Madison and troops were driven out of the capital.
  • In December 1814, Federalists gathered secretly to discuss the impacts of the ongoing war.
  • The nation had grown tired of the fighting.
  • They also discussed their grievances concerning the fed. govt.'s (James Madison's Democratic Republicans) increasing power.
  • On Dec., 24, 1814, the Treaty of Ghent was signed by both Britain and the U.S. effectively ending the War of 1812.
  • The treaty restored the borderlines drawn before the war, thereby, reestablishing status quo antebellum.
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