US Military Performance Against British In War Of 1812 Essay


United States Military Performance Against the British in the War of 1812 In June 1812, the U.S. declared a war against the British and their North American allies. The war, according to Smith, was motivated by America's quest to take control of Britain's North American territories, Britain's punitive trade policy, Britain's support for Native Americans, and the forced enrolment of American sailors into the British navy. As a young nation, the U.S. was eager to safeguard its newly acquired independence. Commonly known as the forgotten war (Hickey 1), the war had important lessons for the U.S. This paper briefly evaluates the performance of the U.S. military in the war.

As depicted in the film The War of 1812, the U.S. initially employed an offensive strategy against the British (Public Broadcasting Service). Since the British navy was the strongest worldwide, the U.S. paid attention to land campaigns, especially in Upper and Lower Canada. America's ultimate objective was to seize British North America and take control over Native Americans. Nonetheless, in spite of their ostentatious strategy, the Americans were inadequately prepared for the war. Notwithstanding its immense manpower advantage, the U.S. started the battle with a significantly lesser number of troops. Moreover, the majority of the U.S. soldiers were undertrained militiamen. This gave the British an important advantage over the Americans as the British had professionally trained soldiers. In essence, the British capitalized on military superiority while the Americans capitalized on numerical advantage.

Though the U.S. navy had competent and...


The American navy, therefore, directed its efforts towards disrupting Britain's trade activities and seizing the Great Lakes. Whereas the Americans impressively raided British trade and made considerable victory against British ships, they did not significantly hinder British trade and eventually did not succeed in seizing the Great Lakes.
The British, on the other hand, used a defensive strategy (Smith). Though Britain had the most powerful navy in the world at the time, it faced significant resource challenges. At the time the war started, Britain was already at war with Napoleon. Indeed, the Napoleonic war was a matter of life and death for the British; hence most of its resources and efforts were focused on the war. This left fewer resources for the war in North America. Resorting to a defensive strategy, the British focused on protecting naval communications between Canada and England, guarding Upper and Lower Canada, and obstructing America's merchant activities.

Though the British had more well-trained troops compared to the U.S., they faced a manpower disadvantage as American troops significantly outnumbered them (Smith). This disadvantage was, however, compensated by Britain's allies in North America, especially the Native Americans. The challenge of manpower for the British was further compounded by geographical complexities. While the U.S. was in a position to scatter its troops everywhere, British forces could mainly be divided between remote areas in Upper and Lower Canada. Quebec and Montreal were particularly important…

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