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As war raged on between Napoleonic France and Great Britain, British authorities passed the Orders in Council. This required neutral countries (e.g. the U.S.) to gain permission and licensure to trade with France. This outraged American merchants, who relied heavily on foreign trade. This was even more particularly true in New England.
1807 - BRITAIN PASSES THE ORDERS IN COUNCIL
Upending the unpopular Embargo Act from Jefferson's presidency, the Non-Intercourse Act called for a specific prohibition of trade with Great Britain or France. However, it too was met with opposition and, in fact, hurt American trade. It was quickly replaced with another trade bill in May of 1810. The impressment of U.S. ships continued as well.
1809 - U.S. APPLIES NON-INTERCOURSE ACT
In place of the Non-Intercourse Act, the U.S. initiated a trade bill that called for continued trade with whichever country would drop trade restrictions. It also called for resumed embargo against the opposing country. Ultimately, the U.S. continued trade with France, and restricted British trade. This created further tensions.
1810 - U.S. INITIATES TRADE RESTRICTIONS
In the fall of 1811, Indiana Territorial Governor William Henry Harrison, a future U.S. president, led a successful attack against the native Shawnee tribe. The Shawnee saw this as an example of why Britain should support their cause in fighting America. It also served as precedent to believe Britain was arming and inciting attacks on American settlers.
1810 - BATTLE OF TIPPECANOE
As tensions rose, and attacks on American settlers in the West and Northwest Territory increased, politicians and citizens alike became divided over the idea of war. The "War Hawks" of the South and West pushed for war, as they were most affected. New England Federalists opposed war, as trade, critical to their economy, would be crippled.
1812 - DIVISIONS INCREASE IN THE U.S.
As pressure increased from the War Hawks, President James Madison finally declared war on Britain on June 18th, 1812. However, Madison and those supporting war severely underestimated how out-manned, and out-gunned they would be against the British Empire. Almost immediately, they suffered a humiliating defeat at Detroit on August 16th, 18
1812 - Madison Declares War on Britain
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