The Expanding Republic and the War of 1812

21. The Expanding Republic and the War of 1812

Battle at Frenchtown
After the American forces were beaten at Frenchtown, able-bodied prisoners were led away by British troops; the American wounded were left under the charge of the First Nations warriors. That night, between 30 and 60 of the American wounded were executed in what was called "The River Raisin Massacre."

Expansion. Battles with Indian nations. The War of 1812. Welcome to America under Republican rule at the onset of the 19th century.

The United States underwent dramatic changes during the period of Democratic-Republican (also called Jeffersonian Republican, or simply Republican) political leadership in the first decades of the 19th century. The republic's expansion to the west and renewed military conflict with Indian nations and Great Britain each posed a fundamental challenge to the fragile new republic. All three of these factors played a role in the coming of the War of 1812.

Although the war itself had no decisive outcome, it did serve as a turning point in the history of the young republic. The United States survived a second war with its former colonial ruler and in the process called forth a national effort that helped Americans from distinct regions pull closer together. The war years also led to the final disintegration of the Federalists, whose strength in New England, which, to many, indicated a regional loyalty in conflict with national sentiments given new importance by the war.

Pre-1800 map
At the start of the 19th century, much of North America had yet to become a part of the United States.

The United States developed in a more distinctly American fashion after the War of 1812. The years of the early republic, from the end of the Revolutionary war in 1783 to the end of what is sometimes called the Second War for American Independence in 1815, had itself been a period of enormous change that included dramatic political innovations of state and federal constitutions as well as the surge of western settlement.

America was growing up.

On the Web
Hamilton & Scourge
In 1973, underwater archaeologists discovered the wrecks of 2 ships, the Hamilton and the Scourge, which sank during one of the deadliest battles in the War of 1812.

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