What were the 3 causes of the War of 1812?

Updated: Jun 18

The war of 1812 was a decisive war in the history of America; the war is also called Second war of Independence. This war fought between the US and its former motherland Britain. The three causes of war of 1812 were the British attempt of violating the United States maritime rights, impressment of US sailors and seamen, and the American desire to expand its territory.




three causes of war of 1812
Causes of was of 1812
Read Also: The causes of American Civil War

Background of the war of 1812:

The war of 1812 was not started abruptly; there are many underlying factors that were taking the United states for waging war against Britain. After independence, the United States desired to expand its territory to the west (westward expansion). Therefore, American purchased the territory of Louisiana from France in 1803 in $15 million. The reason that France sold the territory to the US was that Napoleon Bonaparte was going to initiate war against Europe; for that there was a dire need of money to pay French soldiers. Witnessing the American act of purchasing, Britain angered because the amount that was being to France would have to be used against fighting against them.



The another factor led to the war was American economy. United States economy was flourishing because its trade witnessed high surge by trading with France, Spain, and other parts of Europe. American merchants were making huge profit by selling their goods to the France and other Europe. Because the war-period had already weaken the economic growth of Europe; therefore, the dependency on the US commodities was plummeting in the 1800s. According to the analysts, that was also one of the reason that United States wanted to remain neutral in Napoleonic war owing to its commerce and profit that were growing during war.


British were violating American maritime rights:

As the tensions began in Europe, the demand of American commodities were further increased manifold. Although the Britain had biggest naval power in Atlantic Ocean, the US is now a giant commerce power of Atlantic. For stalling the American trade France, British reinstituted the Rule of 1756, which was enacted by the British Admiralty court (British Maritime Court). The rationale behind the Rule was the not just American ships were carrying the its own good; moreover, massive British west indies colonies produced commodities were being re-exported through American ports. As mentioned above that the America was making huge commerce profit by doing trade with France & Spain, reinstituting the Rule of 1756 was a direct threat to American maritime trade interest, which became the first among the causes of war of 1812.



Impressment of US sailors:

America was initially reluctant to engage in conflict with British, but the Rule of 1756 was so dangerous that British started attacking American Ship in Atlantic Ocean and started making its sailors and seamen prisoners of war; later the prisoners were used for battles against France. Moreover, Britain, due to its naval might, started blockade around the France ports, so that no American ships could able to supply the commodities to the France.

The president Thomas Jefferson saw its an attack to American maritime rights and sovereignty. Therefore, Jefferson enacted the Embargo Act (1807) to sanction Britain and France. But why Jefferson sanctioned both the countries; because not just only Britain were violating the US’s maritime rights, but also France was doing the same. Berlin Decree is one of the example of that. However, Embargo Act (1807) was soon repealed by the congress because it was more harming the American economy rather Britain.



The next year Thomas Jefferson term was over, and James Madison is elected as the new president of the United States. However, Madison inherited the same foreign policy from the Jefferson.


American Expansionism vs Britain support of Native American:

Native American was not happy with the United States expansionism because they saw that white settlers are destroying their culture and snatching the land. Therefore, Native American formulated the confederacy named Tecumseh’s confederacy. The confederacy was formed under the leadership of Tecumseh. Native American were being supported by the Britain through supplying arms and ammunitions. It was evident to the United States that the British are sponsoring Native against them; thus, it was also one of the reason for America to unleash war with Britain.


Native American was not happy with the United States expansionism because they saw that white settlers are destroying their culture and snatching the land. Therefore, Native American formulated the confederacy named Tecumseh’s confederacy. The confederacy was formed under the leadership of Tecumseh. Native American were being supported by the Britain through supplying arms and ammunitions. It was evident to the United States that the British are sponsoring Native against them; thus, it was also one of the reason for America to unleash war with Britain.