After winning independence, the United States
became an important shipping nation. American
trading ships sailed to China, Africa and Europe.
Foreign trade created jobs for many American
shipbuilders, sailors, business, people and
shopkeepers. While Great Britain and France
fought, the United States remained neutral.
American ships continued trading with both
countries. But Great Britain didn't want France to
get supplies from the United States. So Great
Britain attacked American ships sailing to France.
The French also tried to prevent other nations from
traiding with Great Britain. The French navy
attacked American ships that were on their way to
Between 1804 and 1807 the United States lost more then 700
merchants ships because of British attacks. About 200
American ships were lost to the French.
Many people began saying that war should be declared on
Great Britain. The American settlers in Northwest Territory
also wanted war with Great Britain. They feared the British
who possessed lands in Canada.
In 1812 President James Madison asked Congress to declare
war against Great Britain. Congress supported him, and the
Unites State went to war.
In Northwest Territory the war went badly for
the United States. The British captured Detroit.
They were ready to cross into the United States from
Canada and the Northwest.
Perry's sailors defeated the British fleet on Lake
Erie. The Norhtwest Territory remained American.
After their defeat in the Nortwest, the British
attacked from the south. Landing in Maryland, 4,500
British soldiers marched on Washington, D.C.
Their goal was to burn the capital.
The British made a surprise attack on
Washington. The Capitol Building was burning.
The Madison's house would be next. When British
ariived, they removed all the furniture from house
and set fire to it.
When the war was over, it was repaired and
repainted white to cover the burned places.
It has renained White House ever since.
After burning Washington, the British army
marched to Baltimore. Meanwhile, British ships
shelled Baltimore harbour.
In 1814 both country were ready for peace. The war
han no clear winner.
But, foreign nations realized that the young United
States was a strong country.