War of 1812
The Effectiveness of American Strategy in the War of 1812
In the War of 1812, the American military took to a land offensive against Britain. England's navy was the most powerful in the world. However, when the American Navy did act, it acted in an indirect manner -- by attempting to "disrupt" the English merchant marine traders (Wright, 2007). So while the Americans on land had superior numbers to the British, the English Navy had superior strength at sea, which Britain used to blockade American ports. The American military strategy, therefore, was to go on the offensive in the Great Lakes region. Yet, the American militia was undertrained and too undisciplined to oppose the outnumbered British. If it were not for Andrew Jackson (and the blessed fog) at the Battle of New Orleans, American military strategy in the War of 1812 might have seen no high points. As it was, the effectiveness of the military's strategy could be gauged by the fact that the British were able to march on Washington and burn...
This paper will analyze the effectiveness of this and other points in the War and show why the American military strategy was not very effective -- and why it did not have to be.
Britain was not fully engaged in the fighting a war with American in the first place. The Napoleonic Wars across the Atlantic were absorbing most of Britain's attention and resources. Therefore, all the Americans had to do was pose a slight threat and put up a modicum of resistance. At times, they were successful in doing so -- in the case of their disrupting of British trade routes between Nova Scotia and the West Indies. A few victories against British frigates, like the HMS Macedonian, led the English to build bigger, better armed ships of war (Gardner, 1996). Nonetheless, the Americans countered by unleashing privateers on the British merchant traders. As the privateers were by and large more successful than the American Navy, the British turned to Baltimore, as many of the privateers were based there. First, however, they would go to Washington (Benn, 2002).
Washington's defense was rather puny, as Secretary of War Armstrong asserted that the British would attack Baltimore…
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