Synopses & Reviews
In a major new interpretation of the origins of the War of 1812, Roger H. Brown argues in this book that the United States declared war on Great Britain in order to save the "republican experiment."
The increasingly bitter partisan struggle over domestic and foreign policy, exacerbated by the effects of the war between Great Britain and France, grew into a corrosive mutual distrust. Federalists doubted that the government could withstand the strains being placed upon it, and Republicans suspected Federalists of conspiring to institute another form of government.
Drawing on much new manuscript material, Professor Brown re-examines interpretations of the origins of the war that focus on sectional rivalries, the influence of "warhawk" congressmen, and the disruption of commerce. Analyzing the debate over the war question, he discusses the motives of the various individuals and groups, initial strategy and planning, and the role of the parties, the President, and Congress. He offers impressive new evidence that what spurred the Madison administration to declare war was the conviction that it must act decisively to halt the internal crumbling of confidence in the republican system, and to demonstrate to the nation and the world that the new republic would succeed.