November 13, 2013

A vote for war

On June 18, 1812 the United States declared war on the United Kingdom or Great Britain and Ireland and her dependencies. This decision was not taken lightly by the U.S. and compared to other declarations of war the vote for the War of 1812 was close.

In the House of Representatives, the vote was 79-49 and in the Senate, 19-13. This means that only 61 percent of members supported the declaration for war. The vote was primarily based on party lines with 81 percent (98 out of 121) Republicans voting for war. On the other hand, 100 percent (39 out of 39) Federalists voted against the war.

The vote based on party lines also reflected regional lines. Members from Pennsylvania, the South and the West voted 80 percent in favour of war. Conversely, 67 percent of member from New York, New Jersey and New England voted against the war.  The dissatisfaction with the war in the northern states became apparent rather quickly once war broke out with many areas continuing to trade illegally with the British in Canada. Further dissatisfaction eventually manifested with the Hartford Convention in 1814 where northern states met to discuss their grievances stemming from the War of 1812.

If you want to find out more about the American perspective during the War of 1812, you can head to the Courthouse in Niagara-on-the-Lake for the Bicentennial Symposium where the principal speaker will be Dr. Don Hickey. The symposium takes place on Sunday, November 17 from 1 to 4 p.m. Click here to find out more.

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