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The Constitution (1781–1815)

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Madison and the War of 1812: 1808–1815

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Madison and the War of 1812: 1808–1815

Madison and the War of 1812: 1808–1815

Madison and the War of 1812: 1808–1815

Madison and the War of 1812: 1808–1815

Madison and the War of 1812: 1808–1815

1808James Madison is elected president
1809Tecumseh unites Native Americans in Mississippi basinCongress repeals Embargo Act Congress passes Non-Intercourse Act
1810Congress passes Macon’s Bill No. 2
1811William Henry Harrison defeats pan-Indian alliance at Battle of Tippecanoe
1812Madison is reelectedWar of 1812 begins
1814New Englanders meet at Hartford ConventionTreaty of Ghent ends war
1815Andrew Jackson defeats British forces at Battle of New Orleans
Key People
James Madison -  Fourth U.S. president; promoted southern and western agriculture and led the United States in the War of 1812
Tecumseh - Head of Native American Northwest Confederacy; his forces were defeated at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811
William Henry Harrison - Former Indiana governor and army general; defeated the Northwest Confederacy at Tippecanoe
Andrew Jackson - Tennessee military hero of the Battle of New Orleans and Creek War

The Election of 1808

The depression stemming from Jefferson’s Embargo Act weakened the Democratic-Republicans in the election of 1808. Although James Madison was still able to defeat Federalist candidate Charles Pinckney easily for the presidency, the Democratic-Republicans lost seats in Congress. As Jefferson’s chosen successor, Madison continued to carry out his fellow Virginian’s policies throughout both of his presidential terms.

The Non-Intercourse Act

Congress’s first order of business in 1809 was to repeal the hated and ineffective Embargo Act, which had prevented U.S. ships from sailing to foreign ports. Congress replaced this act with the Non-Intercourse Act, which banned trade only with Britain and France until both agreed to respect American sovereignty and shipping rights.

Macon’s Bill No. 2

The following year, Congress, in a further attempt to revive the faltering U.S. economy, passed Macon’s Bill No. 2, which restored U.S. trade relations with Britain and France but promised to reinstate the Non-Intercourse Act if either nation violated U.S. shipping rights.

Tecumseh and the Northwest Confederacy

Madison’s term was fraught with troubled Native American relations, as white settlers began to pour into the Louisiana Purchase and steal native lands, ignoring the Indian Intercourse Acts of the 1790s. When Congress seemed unwilling to do anything about the situation, two Shawnee brothers, Tecumseh and Tenskwatawa (also commonly called the Prophet), tried to unite all of the tribes in the Mississippi Valley region against the settlers. Preaching a return to traditional ways of life, Tecumseh and The Prophet were highly successful and created the Northwest Confederacy that included the Shawnee, Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Creek tribes, among others.

The Battle of Tippecanoe

Congress, fearing a Native American uprising, ordered the governor of the Indiana Territory, William Henry Harrison, to disband the Northwest Confederacy. Indeed, Harrison soundly defeated the Confederacy at the Battle of Tippecanoe in 1811.

The War Hawks

By the 1810s, many of the older and more experienced representatives and senators in Congress had been replaced by young and passionate new faces. It was these hotheaded “War Hawks,” primarily from southern and western states, who had ordered Harrison to take military action against the Northwest Confederacy. As frontiersmen-politicians, the War Hawks were strongly expansionist, and the Confederacy offered the perfect excuse to drive Native Americans even further west.

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