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Fort George National Historic Site of Canada

Loyalists

Causes of the War of 1812 [from a modern perspective]

1. Many Late Loyalists in the newly established country, were preaching republican (anti-monarchist) sentiment to the extent that the Americans firmly believed the residents of Canada would welcome republican invaders with open arms.

2. In the conflict between Natives and American settlers, particularly in the Ohio Valley, the British were seen as allies to the Natives through the trade and sale of firearms, preventing easy expansion and settlement for the American colonists. In fact both sides supplied arms to Natives that might support them. The British support of the Natives was seen as a hostile action.

3. The fact that Great Britain was at war with France since 1793 meant the majority of Britain's attention and resources were focussed on that conflict (5,600 British troops in all of British North America {Halifax to Fort St. Joseph}) to some 33,000 American regulars leaving Canada vulnerable .

4. Britain was taking liberties with Naval vessels on the Atlantic, the North American Coast and blockaded the English Channel because of their vested interest in preventing the wealth of raw materials shipped by America to France (as well as trade from supporting European countries), from reaching Napoleon's Army. Both the English and French had made decrees that ships had to carry exclusive papers for their ports. Neutrality was impossible. From 1805 - 1811 these trade restrictions (Orders in Council) brought Britain and the United States to the verge of war. In addition, many British sailors who deserted, served on American vessels and were given forged U.S. citizen papers. When the British Navy stopped and boarded American vessels searching for deserters they often took U.S. citizens to man their ships (impressment). The blockades, the boarding of vessels, confiscation of ships and cargo and impressment of American sailors into the rapidly expanding British Navy are the most commonly stated American causes of the war.

Charts

1. French Canadian Settlement of Upper Canada prior to Loyalist Immigration.
1782 census of French Canadians in
Southwestern Ontario
Men Women Children * Slaves Total
L'Assumption + Petit Cote 212 116 414 35 777

* Not exclusively black slaves, some aboriginals as well.

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