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The Second War for American Independence: War of 1812

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The War of 1812 was a major turning point in American history in that it moved America from Jefferson’s Republicanism, as well as any signs of Federalism, and towards Jacksonian democracy. The War of 1812 has been called a Second War for American Independence because it changed America politically, diplomatically, and economically. America was changed because it became less dependent on Europe economically, American politics moved toward a new era, and America had more diplomatic respect from other countries.

American politics were changed because America moved towards a different era. The Federalists, who were mainly conservative, died out as a result of the War of 1812. The Federalists emphasized Sectionalism. During the War of 1812, Federalists smuggled goods across the border into Canada, guided British ships towards American ships that were trying to get through the blockade, and some extreme Federalists wanted to secede from the Union. The Federalists were also pro British and the most Americans hated the British. These actions show that Federalists’ ideas were not the same as other American ideas. The Hartford Convention, showed how out of touch the Federalists were with the people and they were humiliated because they sent it after the war had ended, completely contradicting themselves.

Also, new prominent figures in politics were Andrew Jackson, John C. Calhoun, Daniel Webster, and Henry Clay. All of these people were mostly nationalists and they dominated politics until the Civil War. This shift in politics moved America away from the original ideas of the founding fathers and made American government less British. Also, since the Indians did not get a buffer state in the Treaty of Ghent, they were forced to sign treaties in which they agreed to abandon vast areas of land north of the Ohio. America was more politically unified because they did not have to deal with the Indian rebellions anymore. Therefore, the Americans changed politically.

The War of 1812 was also a Second War for American Independence for diplomacy. In the past, America was not respected by many nations. However, they gained respect from many other nations. America showed that it would stand up to what it believed was a grievous wrong. America also showed that it could handle a war with a powerful nation and therefore, they realized that America needed to be taken seriously. American emissaries abroad were treated more hospitably by other nations and were not sent back or scorned. Therefore, America became more diplomatically respected and was seen more as an independent nation. Though the Treaty of Ghent maintained the status quo antebellum, America was recognized as a more independent nation.

America also became more economically independent. The British imposed a blockade on the Americans. This motivated Americans to build their own factories to allow the American economy to function. This caused less of a demand for European manufactured goods because Americans already could manufacture their own goods. This created a prosperous American economy and manufacturing flourished. Also, the British goods were not as desirable in America, which created a more favorable balance of trade. Therefore, America became more economically independent from the European nations, who dominated the world’s economy.

The War of 1812 was a Second War for Independence because Americans became less dependent on European manufactured goods and were respected more in the diplomatic world. Also, the War of 1812 made the American government stronger and moved America towards a new era. Therefore America became more independent politically, economically, and diplomatically.

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