"When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty."
~ Thomas Jefferson



Our question is; why did Madison feel that war was necessary? We chose this question because George Washington wanted to be neutral in war, and by deciding that war was the best option for the US at the time was interesting because he would be going against another Founding Father wanted during his time of Presidency.

Gathering and Evaluating Evidence

We started by searching for America before the war and we didn't find much information. Then we tried searching for Madison reasons he chose war over peace. We found most of our pieces of documents by searching this. The struggles we faced by trying to find information is we couldn't find the exact information we wanted. #TheStruggle. First of all, we searched for the documents that were necessary to drive our research question. Next, we asked ourselves who wrote this, when was it written, and its audience. We went through and close read all of the pieces of evidence found and compared and contrasted the other sources. Some smaller questions were answered in this part of the process.

These are some parts of the documents we found:
The British considered impressment was their right by custom, and believed it essential to their naval might. British court ruled that U.S. ships breaking passage at an American port did not circumvent the prohibitions set out in the rule of 1756. As a result the seizure of American ships by Great Britain increased.

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The British impressing American sailors.
The impressment of sailors alleged to be British from U.S. vessels was a particularly great source of anti-British feeling, a famous incident of impressment being the Chesapeake affair of 1807.

Napoleon's Continental System, which was intended to exclude British goods or goods cleared through Britain from countries under French control, and the British orders in council (1807), which forbade trade with France except after touching at English ports, threatened the American merchant fleet with confiscation by one side or the other.

Congress supported a total embargo on trade in the hope that economic pressure would force the belligerents to negotiate with the United States.
Difficulty of enforcement and economic conditions that rendered England and the Continent more or less independent of America made the embargo ineffective, and in 1809 it gave way to a Non-intercourse Act.
Napoleon tricked James Madison, who had succeeded Jefferson as President, into reimposing (1811) non-intercourse on England.
Moreover, the West suspected the British, with some justification, of attempting to prevent American expansion and of encouraging and arming the Native Americans. Matters came to a head after the battle of Tippecanoe (1811); the radical Western group believed that the British had supported the Native American confederacy, and they dreamed of expelling the British from Canada. Their militancy was supported by Southerners who wished to obtain West Florida from the Spanish (allies of Great Britain).
Thus while the United States recognized British-born sailors on American ships as Americans, Britain did not. It was estimated that there were 11,000 naturalized sailors on United States ships in 1805. Secretary of the Treasury Albert Gallatin stated that 9,000 were born in Britain. The Royal Navy went after them by intercepting and searching U.S. merchant ships for deserters.
The United States believed that British deserters had a right to become United States citizens. Britain did not recognize naturalized United States citizenship, so in addition to recovering deserters, it considered United States citizens born British liable for impressment. Aggravating the situation was the widespread use of forged identity or protection papers by sailors. This made it difficult for the Royal Navy to distinguish Americans from non-Americans and led it to impress some Americans who had never been British.

James Madison Gone Wild.jpg
James Madison


After finding and evaluating evidence, we came to a conclusion. Madison was only given one choice and it was to go to war with Britain...again. Peace...did not work. Treaties...did not work either. So which only left James Madison with one and only one choice left...war. War proved to be the best option even though many people discouraged it. It turned out that Madison made a smart choice, which led to winning the War of 1812 and securing their freedom.

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